New Delhi: The tag line of 'Mummy Punjabi' says – 'Superman Ki Bhi Maa!'; be sufficiently warned – the movie is a dud of superhero caliber. The movie stars – Kirron Kher, Jackie Shroff, Divya Dutta and Kanwaljeet Singh (among the people you might know) – the rest are almost unknown faces.
The movie also has Satish Kaushik, Gurdas Mann and Rohit Roy making guest appearances and except Roy's role – the other two hardly add much to the story line. The movie has been directed by Pammi Somal a produced by Pammi Somal and Sonny Somal.
Completely avoidable, unless you want some quite time in the dark hall, ‘Mummy Pujabi' is Chandigarh's lifestyle lessons delivered to you in a 'semi-Karan Johar-style'. However there are no hot actors, no exciting numbers, no stunning locales... Well no nothing except some good old fashioned values. The director should steer clear of movies and switch to soaps.
Lesson One: Love your parents.
They love you unconditionally. They whole heartedly want you married to the best NRI Doctor/'Gharelu Ladki' from Chandigrah/ US based software engineer – who ever is easier to come by – without wasting a second to look in to their background. They are also excellent guardian of your secrets – especially when the hotel the younger son Karan runs doubles off as a night club where every one (including Kirron Kher) shakes a leg to pointless songs – and only Daddy (Kanwaljeet Singh) knows of it. They will miss you dreadfully when you are gone. This point is heartfelt and true.
Lesson Two: Love your mom.
Especially when all your mother wants is to find brides for her sons – modern day Mrs Bennet style. Kirron Kher as Mummyji/Babyji/Baby Aurora treats her sons as daughters and believes that men these days are getting molested and harassed everywhere and the women can take care of themselves. She treats her daughter Simran half like her son – the girl gets to ride around in a jeep, hit on her neighbour and choose her future husband online. The only gem of wisdom that spouts from her lips is when she tells Kirron Kher that there are so many divorces these days because mothers ask their daughters to lie when potential suitors come to see them. Mummyji hustles and bustles around her house, snubs her husband with digs at his preoccupation with stocks and bank accounts. Cribs at times that they don't have joint bank accounts. To which husband dear says – He has left the family to her, she should leave the money to him. Stellar.
Lesson Three: Daughter-in-Laws are never what they pretend to be pre-marriage.
Both the wives of the hopeless sons – Karan and Arjun turn out to be exactly what Mummyji did not expect. The ‘Bholi-bhali-Gharelu' Preeti – wife of Karan – gyrates like an item girl when ever a funky song comes up. Even if it is in the middle of a wedding. Arjun's wife Jeena – An NRI, with a terrible accent, dupes him and the family in to the marriage and disappears when the time comes to send Arjun the visa papers; only to return again with father-in-law's help. The couple have a redundant song-dance sequence in the driveway because no one is at home and they don't have the keys. Oh Well!
Lesson Four: Boys are either hiding under the mother's apron or ganging up with dad.
Karan and Arjun both decide to happily marry the girls Mummyji chooses. Arjun sides with his wife, though out of Mummyji's ear-shot, when Jeena refuses to fast for Karvachauth. You never really figure out which side they are on till Karan shuts his wife off in the middle of an argument saying – "She's my mother".
Lesson Five: Your husband is your best friend when old ages comes.
Cliched but true! And this is the most believable relationship in the entire movie. The easy chemistry between Kher and Kanwaljeet Singh is fun to watch. Especially when the kids leave for the US, the couple develop this endearing way of filling each other's lives. Kher chats online helping people out with their problems, after her children leave, she opens up the laptop and sighs –"Lets see who is as lonely as me and needs company"; he says – "I am lonely. Come give me company." You will have to smile at that moment. The last conversation the couple have is when Kher dreams of him after his death when he convinces her to carry on with life with the same zest she always had. Saccharine – but nicely done. Very quintessentially Mr and Mrs Bennet types, but rather endearing. Even more so when the news comes that their bank accounts were always joint accounts.
Jackie Shroff is a waste in the movie. Rohit Roy makes an appearance as a man who is stopped at the brink of suicide by Kher online. Satish Kaushik plays the role of a bumbling Matrimonial Bureau owner. Divya Dutta is the gossipmonger domestic help who flits from house to house exchanging stories. She also somehow lands up in every wedding (and even in the night club once) to dance.
The movie was clearly not meant to be in Hindi, the actors are speaking in a different language and dubbing is not lip-synched at all. Some songs are not even translated and you have the actors mouthing lines to music. The costumes are garish, the actors not half-decent. Except the veterans.
This is clearly Kirron Kher's movie. She could have waltzed through it with her eyes closed. She carries the film on her Punjabi shoulders with much ease.
But then how long can you watch one woman pull the strings with her golden heart, bad English skills and stock values? Not long enough.
The six people in the audience were more excited at the interval than it the climax. Enough said!