Farah Khan knows exactly what she wants (rather what she can get) from her cast and employs them to that effect. With her trademark film-inside-film setting, when she wants someone to play the role of a boisterous, atrocious and artificial actor in her film, the natural choice is Akshaye Khanna.
Katrina is cast as the quintessential Bollywood actress who has to wear more makeup and less clothes and do practically nothing in the film. The biggest novel (rather navel) factor she brings to the film is her super-sexy midriff and her hip-hot gyrations. With Akshay Kumar coming into picture, Farah seems to leave behind her Manmohan Desai masala method and adapts her film to brother Sajid Khan’s slapstick sensibilities.
Ten minutes into the film and Tees Maar Khan (Akshay Kumar) is introduced in the league of two other chindi chors, though he makes claims of being an international crime master. His latest assignment is to loot a locomotive loaded with valuables worth crores. Since the booty is in bulk, he would need help from many hands.
Khan hatches a plan to shoot a fictitious film in a village from where the train passes and use the oblivious villagers to rob the train. He lures superstar Aatish Kapoor (Akshaye Khanna), who aims for an Oscar Award, into his mock movie and casts his wannabe-actress girlfriend Anya (Katrina Kaif) as the leading lady.
Remade from Vittorio De Sica’s 1966 film ‘Caccia Alla Volpe’ (After the Fox) starring Peter Sellers, the only major innovation that Tees Maar Khan shows is to shift tracks to train theft from the ship in the original. While the climactic train heist could have worked as a smart suspense element in the favour of the film, the entire fabricated film formula is revealed at the very onset, leaving nothing to your imagination.
Also it appears too far-fetched that a filmstar like Aatish Kapoor won’t comprehend that this one-take shoot, filmed by a single handheld camera is a hoax for heist. Unfortunately the audiences are not as gullible as the villagers in this film.
The Academy Awards and its Bollywood aspirants (from Aamir Khan to Anil Kapoor) seem to be the butt of most jokes here. The film emphasizes and also employs the widespread sentiment of how a poverty-stricken India has become a perfect recipe for Oscar wannabes.
Farah however takes things a little too far with a literal Oscar Award setting in the final reels. Also this time around Farah Khan seems to have gone slack on her signature spoofs, which were a highlight of both Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. Even her trademark end credits are not much inventively conceptualized or different from her earlier attempts.
On the contrary, the film retains a more fervent feel and flavour of Akshay Kumar brand of loud and slapstick comedy. Akshay’s gags are dreary and add to it the other Akshaye’s antics are deafening. And if that is not enough there is a recap of all these histrionics in the climax as a part of the film inside the film setting.
Akshaye Khanna could win the Ham Scene of the Year award for getting possessed by his character in the bank robbery sequence. Then there’s a headless horseman’s anecdote which could make you feel ‘sleepy’ for its ‘hollowness’.
The dialogues written by Shirish Kunder and Ashmith Kunder in synchronized stanzas try too hard to be funny but fall flat at most instances and are repeated too often without much repeat value. Vishal Shekhar’s music has mass appeal. Farah Khan’s raunchy choreography to Sheila Ki Jawani has Katrina Kaif at her sexiest best. One expected some action in the train robbery sequence but there’s none over here.
The role is custom-made for Akshay Kumar and while he plays it effortlessly, he is clearly getting repetitive in his comic act. Katrina Kaif is categorically hired for her sex-appeal and she exudes loads of it. Akshaye Khanna is expected to act terribly and he does that with such perfection that it gets on your nerves.
Apara Mehta makes up as a cheap imitation of Kirron Kher. Arya Babbar gets no scope. You never get to know whether Avatar Gill’s character is a spinoff on A K Hangal from Sholay or he plays a blind man for no good reason. Aman Verma hams. Salman Khan invites whistles and claps in his cameo.
To sum up in Tees Maar Khan’s trademark style of dialogue delivery, Akshay Kumar se zara hatke comedy expect karna aur Akshaye Khanna se kuch bhi expect karna bekaar hain. Tees Maar Khan doesn’t even guarantee thirty good laughs in its three hour runtime.
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