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Masti

THERE ARE several surprises in this Indra Kumar-directed venture. In the first place though several scenes seem like they have been taken from several Hollywood comedies, they have been done well and you will laugh at all the gaffes that he dishes out throughout the film. Not necessarily intelligent, but funny nevertheless. And for a change there is absolutely no crying or heavy emotion that is likely to make you feel morose as you stream out of the theatre.

Heavy innuendos and dialogue peppered with comments about homosexuality and sex outside marriage form the basis of this film — terms used for that are `biriyani', `chicken biriyani' as against the plain `dal roti,' `bahar ka khana' as against `ghar ka khana.' All this is followed with a bit of advice about how to prevent men from straying and tasting `outside food.' Get the picture?

The audience guffaws and screams for more, proving that this is something that goes down well with the janata. But this is no film for the prude. Friends Amar (Ritesh Deshmukh), Meeth (Vivek Oberoi), and Prem (Aftab Shivdasani) are all very young but very much married — rather discontentedly so, for various reasons. Meeth's wife checks on him every two minutes saying she misses him `soo much,' while Prem has a wife whose life centres round prayers and temples and who is not in the least interested in providing marital pleasures to a husband. Amar lives with his tyrannical mother-in-law and disciplinarian wife, who make him do all the work while they cozy up together.

When the three meet after a long time, They do not want to disclose their unhappiness to each other and go to great lengths to prove that marriage is a great institution — till a chink in their armour reveals it. Prem then comes up with a plan to freak out — to do `Masti' or have fun — to teach their wives a lesson and also to find `greener pastures' — pastures that seem harmless at first, but prove to be complicated and tricky as things spiral beyond their control. And this happens when Monika (Lara Dutta) enters the scene. She strings the three along and then gets herself murdered. They become the perfect suspects for Inspector Sikandar (Ajay Devgan).

Imagine the confusion that follows with the three trying to prove their innocence and the case turning out to be more and more strange.

Those who have seen "Panchatantram" by Kamal Haasan will find many similarities in "Masti." But it is hilarious in parts.

Other than the fact that Aftab shouts too much, he has a great sense of comic timing. He has done a great job and so has Ritesh, who with his hangdog expressions allows himself to be the butt of jokes, while Vivek Oberoi actually pales in comparison to the other two.

Ajay Devgan as the inspector is his usual brooding self. Satish Shah as the doctor, who thinks something funny is going on between Prem and Amar, is pretty amusing. Others in the cast are Amrita Rao, Tara Sharma, Genelia D Souza.

CHITRA MAHESH

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