Khatta Meetha: Avoid this bitter pill. Rating: 1.5 out of 5*
Starring: Akshay Kumar, introducing Trisha, Urvashi Sharma, Rajpal Yadav, Asrani, Milind Gunaji and Manoj Joshi
Satire is a genre rarely touched by Bollywood mainstream filmmakers, so when a big star like Akshay Kumar decides to co-produce one with a director like Priyadarshan with whom he has never delivered a flop, naturally expectations run high. But what one gets at the end of the day is a migraine inducer. Remake of Malayalam film Vellanakalude Nadu (1988) starring Mohanlal, Khatta Meetha neither entertains nor offers anything new.
Sachin Tichkule (Akshay) is a road contractor who is forever cash strapped and in a mess after he attempts to go corrupt. His extended family consisting of a brother (Paritosh) and two brothers-in-law (Milind Gunaji and Manoj Joshi) all staying together under one roof are neck deep in corruption where PWD contracts are involved. Sachin is often ridiculed by them for being a blot to their family since he is not able to contribute anything to the family but only creating more problems paining his retired judge father (Kulbhushan Kharbanda). Problems multiply for Sachin as his ex-flame Gehna Ganpule (Trisha) comes as the new Muncipal Commissioner.
First things first, if you are expecting Khatta Meetha to be a rip roaring comic affair, then let us warn you, the only genuinely comic moments of the film are all what you see in the promos. The entire film is a messed up affair with a non-existent plot joined together with some truly inane sequences. In fact, the setting also reminds one of Priyadarshan’s assistant Rajeev Kumar directed flop comedy Chal Chala Chal starring Govinda. Making it worse is the long running time of over 2 hours and 40 minutes. Priyadarshan tries to pack in too many things and fails on all accounts. He stretches his comic sequences very long, resulting in spoiling a good joke. The bridge and road contractors – Muncipal body officials and politicians nexus shown doesn’t really expose anything new and the contrived manner in which it all culminates makes you pull out your hair in irritation. What works to some extent is the authentic small town setting and a few one liners.
Akshay Kumar is the only good thing about this chaotic enterprise. Be it sarcastic humour or performing the most implausible comic sequences he performs them all with full conviction. Trisha (in a dubbed voice) makes an average debut but the blame goes to makers for casting her in a role of a Muncipal Commissioner. She appears too young for it. Urvashi Sharma is good. Aruna Irani playing Akki’s mom is wasted. Kulbhushan Kharbanda has his good moments. Usual suspects of any Priyadarshan film – Manoj Joshi, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav with addition of Johhny Lever continue to assault your senses with their high decibel dialogue delivery in the name of comedy.
Pritam delivers with a few good songs but with each song badly placed, half their fun is lost. Camerawork by V. Manikandan is good capturing the interiors of Maharashtra well.
Khatta Meetha fails to deliver what it promises. It is neither a political satire nor a good family drama. The film is better being avoided.
– Abhijit Mhamunkar/ Sampurn Wire