Posts Tagged ‘Hat of Doom’

Movie Review: EMI

Monday, September 5th, 2011

My Bollywood adventures continue. I am so completely loving this!

EMI: Liya Hai to Chukana Padega

Once again, the structure of this movie is quite different from what I’m used to. I think, however, that there’s a LOT I missed because the title wasn’t explained anywhere. Also, parts of this movie struck me as silly and disjointed.

But not this: Arjun Rampal

This movie follows four separate stories involving people who take out loans and are, for various reasons, unable to pay them back. The Good Luck Recovery Agency is an outfit that, as you might guess, is in charge of securing payment on the delinquent loans. The story of the owner of the agency ties back and resolves the other four stories. It’s almost like watching five different movies with a magic wand at the end.

At first I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what the Good Luck Recovery Agency had to do with anything aside from comic relief, and fairly ridiculous comic relief at that. It was like watching the comic relief in a Hong Kong martial arts movie: completely unsophisticated and very boy-driven humor. In other words, the humor, while it was obvious it was supposed to be funny, wasn’t very funny to me. In the way that so many women fail to find the Three Stooges very funny.

But those four stories, which are woven into the beginning of the movie without reference, yet, to the Good Luck Recovery Agency, ranged from meh to interesting to funny to heart-breakingly sweet.

Arjun Rampal plays a man who intends to “borrow until he dies.” He was hilarious in this part. And gorgeous, of course. His story line was a favorite of mine because he was just so good. His comedic timing was wonderful. Then he meets the woman of his dreams . . . just as his financial house of cards is collapsing. She dumps him because she expects to be taken care of in style. Alas, he wears the dorkiest hat ever (Why? For the love of God, why?)

I can just imagine the conversation in costume:

“Hey, here’s a hat someone needs to wear.”
“Whoever wears that hat is going to look like a doof.”
“Yeah. That hat is going to kill someone’s career.”
“Better give it to Arjun. No one else can survive the hat of doom.”
“Hey, Arjun! Wear this hat, k?”

Only his major hotness saves him from looking like a doof.

Another of the story lines involved a father who borrows money to support his rather spoiled son’s dreams. This story line was sweet and tender and I teared up several times. You could see the looming financial disaster and oh, my. Even if this were the only decent part of the movie, I’d give this a recommend. It was just so beautifully acted, particularly by the father.

There’s a young couple that borrows so they can marry and go on a honeymoon. For me, this was the least compelling of the stories.

A woman’s husband commits suicide and leaves her with a daughter to support. She can’t get the insurance to payout and she borrows money in order to pay off certain nefarious persons who are supposed to provide evidence that her husband was murdered. Even though this was one of the more emotional stories with some really fine acting on the part of the widow, I had the most trouble with this story. In the West, what she’s doing would be fraud and she’d go to jail for it. So I think I’m missing some cultural context.

Sattar’s story wraps up all the others. He’s a self-made man of humble origins who now employs over 400 people via The Good Luck Recovery Agency. From what I could tell the agency is essentially an extortion racket ala the Mafia, only on behalf of a bank for at least some clients. But now Sattar wants into politics and he is advised to do some good deeds. Initially, he struggles with the concept of doing good. Isn’t employing 400 people good enough?

Then Sattar meets the widow and his story turns into one of the most touching romances I’ve seen in quite some time. He’s smitten from the very moment he sees her. Arjun Rampal’s character agrees to bring them together and plays a sort of Henry Higgans to Sattar’s Eliza Doolittle. And then he has dinner with the widow and he’s just so in love, you can’t help but root for him and he pulls it off. He really does.

Sattar-in-love becomes the solution to everyone else’s financial troubles in a Deus ex Machina way that was silly but whatever. Then there’s a big PSA at the end about the evils of borrowing money and living beyond one’s means.

The Take Away

For me this started out as a jumbled mess of a movie that came together quite late but completely won me over on the strength of 3 of the stories. The romance is wonderful and Arjun Rampal and others turn in some truly excellent performances.

Thumbs up.

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