Poster Boys (2017) Review!!!

Synopsis – Life of three men comes in trouble when their photos appear on advertisement for sterilization.

My Take – After a list of mediocre films in the first half of the year, it seems like the Bollywood loving audience has whole heartedly opened up to comedies! A film with confusion within a mad cap Punjabi family, followed by a satire on open defecation, a sweet romantic triangle and a film that looks at erectile dysfunction in quite a little manner, this film too, despite a few short fallings, is surprising being expected. This official remake of the Marathi hit Poshter Boyz (2014), attempts to make an earnest comedy on vasectomy while also looking other social stigmas that affect the system of the Indian society till date. While, the script may seem mediocre on paper, the film’s third lead, Shreyas Talpade, the producer of the original film, who makes his directorial debut with the Hindi remake, makes sure the film educates the audience about the importance of vasectomy & at the same time remains hilarious. While some may call the film self-deprecating, outlandish & silly but the film remains undeniable fun, may perhaps be the most whacky and escapist way to promote male vasectomy. The film’s biggest pull is the earthy presentation of its humor, as it does not have Rohit shetty style grand canvas presentation or David Dhawan style of comedy presentation, yet the comedy moments, the one liners keep coming at you like a barrage of bullets & is stuffed with crazy fun that pokes into the stereotype belief of manhood while continuing its joke on the way bureaucracy functions with a cliché mindset in the country. Inspired by real-life events, the story follows Vinay Sharma (Bobby Deol), a simpleton teacher with short-term memory loss, Jagawar Choudhary (Sunny Deol), a retired army officer addicted to selfies and Arjun Singh (Shreyas Talpade), a debt collection agent with a proclivity for Michael Jackson’s style jackets who live in the village of Jangheti, somewhere in North India. Unknown to them, the trio have become poster boys for the health department’s campaign promoting vasectomy.

They end up being the butt of all jokes and have to face constant humiliation in the village, & things begin to go downhill when his Jagawar’s sister’s in laws break off her engagement as they no longer want to be associated with him. Hell breaks loose at Jagawar’s home too, with wife Sunita (Sonali Kulkarni) and younger brother feeling outraged. School-teacher Vinay’s wife Surajmukhi (Samiksha Bhatnagar) was yearning for a son, after giving birth to two daughters, and sees the development as a betrayal. Bachelor Arjun, a debt collector, faces the calling off of his plans to marry Ria (Tripti Dimri) because his would be father-in-law cannot even imagine giving his daughter’s hand to a man who cannot father children. Fact is none of the three ‘boys’ had undergone vasectomy, but then how did the posters appear? Clueless, the three, along with two dim-witted pals (Ajit Palawat and Tasha Bhambra) of Arjun, set out to clear their names. This takes them to district and state government-run health departments, but when all official requests and threats fail, they use the media to spread their message. The film, after a slow start, gets into very entertaining mode to the extent that we do not realize its biggest satirical point: that the three poster boys’ problem is solved by the chief minister only because he stands to benefit in the forthcoming elections and finds it politically expedient to take their side, not because the three men are in the right! Yet it cannot be denied that this is a solid comic effort from debutante director Shreyas Talpade. Fact that he has worked in some of our better popcorn comedies in recent years like Golmaal Returns, Golmaal 3 and Housefull 2 , add to the fact that he himself has a good comic timing, which has helped him in dishing out a film which is entertaining enough. The best part about Shreyas Talpade‘s unsuspecting debut film as a director is the fact that he doesn’t try too hard to make his characters look or sound funny. They are just common people stuck in an uncommon situation and must deal with it. Their ways to prove their innocence are as ineffective but that makes you identify with their trauma. What’s also refreshing is Shreyas’ decision to not follow the ‘Bollywood comedy’ template by making his sensitive subject seem frivolous. Of course there are enough silly metaphors that refer to the male reproductive tract but those can be overlooked, given the significance and sensitivity he lends to the topic otherwise. Sameer Patil who wrote and directed the Marathi original, pens this adaptation and deserves a praise for maintaining the North Indian milieu in this Sunny, Bobby, Shreyas starrer. Shreyas as a story teller and makes outright celebration of buffoonery and escapism, Shreyas in his debut sticks to the requirement of the genre and makes sure that the idea of male vasectomy doesn’t gets crippled during its mad cap run. The cliché mindset over the idea of manhood all over the country helps and the film is stuffed with crazy happenings every now and then like the uniform night suit of the teacher’s family, the exploitation of the Deol‘s legacy for the required buffoonery works. But what pleasantly surprises you the most is the hilarious Deol brothers’ sarcasm in a never-seen-before comic avatar. Shreyas extracts the best out of them and it is their comic timing and odd tributes to each other’s previous hit films that amuse you the most.

Most of the humor is spot-on, classy and clean, often hilarious and side-splitting, and the two Deols bring in their unique mad streak to it. However, even the whacky elements work, like the loony gynecologist (Ashwini Kalsikar)’s shenanigans, the cute colleague lusting after Vinay till the end, or the bravado of Arjun’s father. Subtlety is at a low premium in this one. But the film has no pretensions of being anything intellectually inclined. The message on family planning is subservient to the comic timing of the three protagonists and some of their encounters with red-tapism, bureaucracy and legalese will have you chuckling. But as warned, don’t look for signs of creative spark here as the film is wickedly unpretentious about its intentions. Unabashedly liberated from the responsibilities of wrapping their message in gravity, the cast is clearly having fun. Since there are three protagonists, each one is given equal screen time, and each gag has three reactions. And when there needs to be a break from the humor, it’s time to bring on the punches. After all, if you have Sunny Deol in a film, there has to be reference to (and use of) his ‘dhai kilo’ (2.5 kg) punch. The self promotion also includes Vinay’s cell-phone ring tone being the theme tune to the Bobby Deol’s hit film Soldier and of course the low hanging fruit – a reference to daddy Dharmendra. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, but just in case you need the cues, there’s a soundtrack and sound effects to encourage the chuckles. In his capacity of director, Shreyas Talpade keeps the proceedings on a heightened chug. No one is pretending to make a durable comedy like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron or Chupke Chupke here. For a film about family planning and vasectomy, there is a remarkable absence of vulgarity and double meaning in the conversations. The characters speak to each other loudly and irrelevantly. They don’t know any better. The finest aspect about this film is that nothing that happens is predictable, and the only predictable point – the surprise twist at interval point – is not guessed at by many due to the sharp and satirical flow of the script. The proceedings at the bureaucratic level are also kept as light as possible, and again a special highlight is the comment made by a minister (Murli Sharma) on his team member Rekha. The way Jagaawar feels his anger rising many times and wants to warn his two friends is also amusing.  That brings me to the downsides of this film, Shreyas, as the director, could have managed to cut down portions from the screenplay, especially in the first half. If the story was tighter and maybe 20 minutes shorter, it would have been a far better comedy than it actually is now. Also, the climax gets a little too preachy & seems rushed. The cast clearly is the best part of the film. As a man who constantly strives to keep his temper under control, and uses his muscle-power only occasionally, Sunny Deol is a good piece of casting. Sunny is loud, yet subdued, and stays true to his character as he pulls off the ‘pouting selfie’ routine with élan. The film also marks the comeback of Bobby Deol after a gap of four years. Here, he gets a gallery-friendly role as the perennially-harangued schoolmaster & his expressions are fantastic, especially when he asks for time to refer to his books. Together, the Deol brothers are a textbook in perfect timing. Shreyas Talpade is his usual competent self. Sonali Kulkarni doesn’t get much scope to perform. Tripti Dimri & Samiksha Bhatnagar are also good. Ashwini Kalsekar, Ajit Palawat and Tasha Bhambra are hilarious. Elli Avaram looks gorgeous in a cameo.  On the whole, ‘Poster Boys’ is a crazy, silly, inoffensive situational comedy that will highly appeal to fans of the Deol brothers.

Directed – Shreyas Talpade

Starring – Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Shreyas Talpade

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 128 minutes

 

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