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Movie Review: Teen Thay Bhai

Movie Reviews
14 April 2011

Sometimes films read like a dream on paper but do not live up to the written word on celluloid. The carefully crafted idiosyncrasies, the bizarre setups, the exaggerated reactions might have immense potential for a rib-tickling page-turner but fail to be enacted on the big screen. Such is the case of this simple tale of three brothers.

As the title suggests, the film is based on the lives of three brothers of the Gill clan. Their names, as the promo gives away, are funnier than most gags in the film. The eldest and the unreasonably angry one is Chiksi (Om Puri), the quirky excuse-for-a-dentist is Happy (Deepak Dobriyal) and the blissfully idiotic one is Fancy (Shreyas Talpade). Like most screen brothers in comic films, they can't stand each other and end up spouting Punjabi abusives over the most trivial things. So, 'Tere Piyo di' and ''Khottay de puttar' are prefixed to every dialogue.

If you care, the plot involves a grandfather's singular will that requires the Gill bros to spend a couple of nights together for three years along with grandpa's remains at a godforsaken ice-covered hill house that they would inherit, if they do so. The rest is as predictable as yesterday's news. The trio realise that united-they-get-rich and divided-they-go-home-scratching-their-empty-palm. So, their misadventures in performing this odd yet ridiculously simple task forms the meat of this film.

The film capitalises on the success formula that worked for 'The Three Stooges' and every game show on Japanese TV: 'No gain without pain'. So people getting hurt while simultaneously making a complete ass of themselves is supposed to tickle your sweet spot, or it better since little else will. So we have a lot of poking in the eye, some uprooting of chest hair by suddenly yanking off a carelessly slapped-on cello tape and the classic 'placing a sizzling hot press iron into the palm'.

The songs have a zing and could get your shoulders jumping in quintessential Punjabi style but the outlandish lyrics seem like a pothead's last penning. For example, 'Pigeon Kabootar, Parrot Totta, Teeja Titli Butterfly, O Teen Thay Bhai' is ingenious and demented at the same time. Veteran actor Puri delivers well, yet his character's misplaced angst seems unnecessary. This is possibly the biggest break for Dobriyal, after playing Madhavan's sidekick in 'Tanu Weds Manu' and he has capitalised well on this opportunity. Shreyas does what he does best, play an idiot and execute silly jokes confidently and effortlessly.

So if you derive joy out of seeing people almost skinning themselves, this one's surely for you. 95% of the jokes revolve around someone getting hurt after all.

What would this film be called if it were about awkward teenagers instead? Teens Thay Shy!

You can reach me at guha.kunal@rocketmail.com or connect with me on Facebook

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