God Tussi Great Ho, and Salman the entertainer

Saw God Tussi Great Ho on opening day (August 15), and wasn't disappointed at all. Maybe it was because I wasn't expecting an outstanding product of film from a comedy flick with a soundtrack that reminded me of some well known Salman Khan songs. Maybe it was because I knew this was yet another remake of a Hollywood flick, and that I was willing to ignore that. Or maybe it was because some initial reviews (they've conditioned me over the years to distrust them) called it a 'bore'.

Whatever the case, I did not intend to miss a film starring Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Priyanka Chopra (the combination works for me). Very glad I went because this one more than exceeded my expectations. It clearly belongs to Salman Khan the entertainer, and to all his fans (it's factored into the rating at the bottom). Here are some highlights:

1. Arun Prajapati (Salman Khan) worked at a television station. A game show host (which made him more likable, given the excellent work he's done in the show 10 Ka Dum, his show being rated higher than those of Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar), he went through a string of unfortunate circumstances. And for them, he blamed God. He had a classic na-shukra (ungrateful to God) personality.

2. A catalyst for one of the most unfortunate of these circumstances was Rocky (Sohail Khan), who did well as the annoying favorite of the owner of the television station, played well by Dalip Tahil.

3. Alia (Priyanka Chopra) worked at the same media outlet. She made the company tick. Liked how she was introduced. And liked her throughout the film, really. As lead actress, she did very well. She also looked rather good sporting a piece of jewelry commonly associated in South Asia with fertility.

4. Arun struggled with failure and kept up his attitude, until one day, he was summoned by the human avatar of God. This was played by Amitabh Bachchan. As expected, Mr. Bachchan did rather well in a role that per Salman, was perfectly suited to him. It was through him and Salman that the lessons in morality were conveyed (and what better time to do that than Independence Day?!). There were several effective reminders of the unexplained forces that guide our lives, and if there is even a slight spiritual side to you, you'll find it very easy to relate to.

Since Arun thought he could run the show better, he was given the powers to do so. How would he use them? Would the world benefit? How would he define 'world'? Besides, Arun loved Alia, but Alia didn't know. Alia was attracted to Rocky, and Rocky knew. How would this love triangle play out? Would God get involved? To get answers to these questions, see God Tussi Great Ho.

5. Several genuinely hilarious moments in the film came courtesy four individuals I did not know were in the film:

  • Anupam Kher: Perhaps the most well executed acting in the film came courtesy Mr. Kher, who was fantastic as Arun's father.

  • Rajpal Yadav: Think of him as the color commentator (or announcer) in a sports telecast. His role was rather inconsequential, but he too managed to get the audience to laugh often. I have always thought he just looks funny -- his acting skills are a definite complement to any film with a focus on comedy. You might recall he played Chhota Don in Partner (2007).

  • Rajesh Vivek: Most surprised to see Ghuran from Lagaan (2001)! playing the role of a beggar. Of all the scenes in which he appeared, perhaps none was as hilarious as the very first, in which Arun gave him tips to sing the right songs to maximize his revenues as a beggar. The scene reminded me of the scene in Partner in which Salman was critiquing Govinda's dancing skills.

  • Satish Kaushik:Why, it's Calendar from Mr. India (1987)! His comic timing is still excellent!

6. Notes on the music: The soundtrack by Sajid-Wajid was above average at best, but only as a product independent of the film. Within the film, it was much better, because the songs were pleasantly choreographed. With Salman and Priyanka navigating their way through them with poise, I enjoyed them (after overlooking the umpteen non-Indian dancers in a film based in India)!

This song with vocals by Udit Narayan-Alka Yagnik -- Laal Chunariya -- was beautiful. It doubled as a beautiful sequel to Laal Dupatta from the 2004 Salman-Priyanka film Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (watch it here). So what if it carries the 1990s vibe, can't it still be good? Am I the only one who likes it?

The title song was decent (here's the promo). Tujhe Aksa Beach Ghuma Doon looked a lot, lot better than it sounded (here's the promo). The dances here were especially funny.

Let's Party
(here's the promo) sounded like a weird but interesting mix of three songs: 1) It's the time to Disco (Kal Ho Na Ho (2003)); 2) Just Chill (Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005)); and 3) O Jaana (Tere Naam (2003)). The song was pretty on the big screen largely because they were having fun on the sets, which is always good to see. Besides, the two can dance quite well.

7. It was cool to see Salman sing the first few lines to Dil Deewaana from Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) in the film. There were several other song placements in the film, and they were used well.

8. Honorable mention to the Aamir Khan film Rangeela (1996) for making a special (visual) appearance. See if you can catch that! :)

There was also a scene in which Sohail Khan said three words to the tune of a song (you catch it) from an Ashutosh Gowariker-less Shah Rukh Khan equivalent of a patriotic movie, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000).

Of course, these tiranga (tri-colored) bangles are the only reason for my note on that movie. Or maybe Juhi Chawla (haaye-Allah!) has something to do with it ;)

9. The most glaring weakness of the film was lack of detail in art direction. A definite area of improvement, this made the movie appear as if it was made in a rush (maybe it was). It carried somewhat of a dated look too, a shame, because there these fine details would have made the film much better, because the plot and cast worked well together. The only time I felt the film crossed the boundaries of silliness was in a scene involving Krrish (see, I told you Krrish was a Khan by osmosis (point 5 in this post))! ;)

What some will characterize as a weakness was that Arun's character was rather loud and melodramatic. I thought this was perfectly intentional (hence a strength), given the role and Salman's presence. Given what we know of him and this genre of films, this isn't all unexpected.

10. A definite strength was that the comedy was mostly clean, qualifying it as a family movie (rare these days, I think). The audience at the cinema was reflective of this, with children and grandparents among the crowd. I was surprised at the number of people there. Spoke to a few on the way out, and the general sentiment was one of contentment. That contentment is probably what the movie was aiming for (as a moral lesson -- as in let's be content with what we have and not complain to God about every little thing we have do not have). This IndiaFM First Day First Show video corroborates my observation.

11. Overall, the film had its strong moments. I haven't seen the Hollywood film this is said to be adapted from -- Bruce Almighty -- so I cannot draw comparisons others would. What I have heard is that Salman's acting was very different from Jim Carrey's, which I never doubted. But God Tussi Great Ho managed to keep me engaged (and smiling when not laughing). See the film with your thinking caps off (might as well throw it toward the heavens), and I think you'll like it.

It brings back the 1990s-style family entertainment, and traces of Salman's more recent works. If you liked other Salman films of this genre, e.g. No Entry (2005), Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005), and Partner (2007), I think you'll enjoy this enough to warrant a trip to the theaters. It is a big-screen movie, so don't hesitate to make the trip if you liked those movies. If not, wait for the DVD.

At the very least, it is much better than a good 'timepass' flick. At its best, a performance even the non-die-hard fans of Salman Khan (especially) and Amitabh Bachchan will enjoy, for it is through their on-screen presence (and some very good acting too) that the film works as an effective, fun-filled entertainer with a message that everyone can relate to.

Movie rating: 3.25/5 (Good)

Music rating: 3/5 (Good with picturizations, average independently)

My Classification: PG (Hardly any vulgarity here; family friendly)

Official website (and picture source): http://godtussigreatho.erosentertainment.com/


Nicki said...

I love the review! I probably have to wait for the dvd before I can watch it. Dang I watch too many movies! I've seen the original. Can you believe I seen 90% of the original Hollywood movies that Bollywood takes? I'm okay with GTGH taking the script of Bruce Almighty because Sallu has mentioned it before. AB as "God" is excellent! I couldn't think of a better "God." Love his voice, just like I love Morgan Freeman's voice too. I also love the fact Sohail was the envious co-worker in the film, hehehe.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Nicki: Thanks for stopping by! I think you'll enjoy it. And you're hereby appointed as the official Subject Matter Expert on remakes in contemporary Bollywood! :o)

Agree about not many being able to play Amitabh's role in the film.

He was not as angry as I thought he'd be in the film. I think they were trying to emphasize forgiveness policies, and that's probably why.
*End spoiler*


Anonymous said...

Great review! I, like Nicki, wanted to see this after reading your take on it, but it's not playing at my local theaters. Ahh, well. I wasn't crazy about "Bruce Almighty", either, but because this is Bollywood...I just might have to rent this one!

ajnabi said...

I think I'd probably like this way better than Bruce Almighty since my main problem with that film was the vulgarity. Can't wait for the DVD!!!

Reviewer said...

Good post,sounds interesting.I agree with your point about having lower expectations results in enjoying movies more sometimes,happened to me with Kismet connection :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you for your comments.

Nida: It's worth checking out once. I was truly pleasantly surprised (I had my skeptic hat on walking in, it went off in the first 15 minutes :)

Ajnabi: Aside from one joke that is probably not considered vulgar any longer (sigh, I'm sounding like an older person now), I thought it was clean. And the jokes, for the most part, were tasteful, which is worth noting. I'm curious about Bruce Almighty now!

Reviewer: I think that had a lot to do with my overall assessment. Besides, I think we've seen enough of Salman in this genre to know what to expect. The movie was predictable for a while, but the end got me, I must admit.


Anonymous said...

I want my Bruce Almighty in the form of Bollywood anyway, and never got around to seeing that. But what Hollywood movies Do I get around to seeing anyway? Wait, I took my mom to American Girl the other day, which was a Hollywood/Bollywood moive: super bad buy, plot twists, ORPHANS, great costumes, and even a wee bit of dancing. I love Nicki's comment:"Dang I watch too many movies!"

I'll try and catch this at the theater, I think ti's still there.
Thanks for the review.

All the Best!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Sita-ji: Good, so at least there's someone else in the same boat, who hasn't seen Bruce Almighty and will be checking this out. American Girl sounds interesting. And there are so many good movies to see...

Hope you enjoy God Tussi Great Ho!


Anonymous said...

Adab and thanks, I'll let you know when I've seen it. Also, I meant to write there was a super bad Guy in American Girl, not a bad buy, opps.

Al the best!