movies

Sabbir Khan’s Munna Michael

(An edited version was published in The New Indian Express)

Sabbir Khan’s Munna Michael begins with a filming of a song sequence in 1995. It’s a popular 90s song from David Dhawan’s Coolie No. 1 – Husn Hai Suhana. A very unconvincing Govinda look-alike dances in front but Khan focuses on one of the backup dancers – a miscast Ronit Roy as Michael. Some completely unrelated things happen from here – Michael, an MJ fan, gets fired. When he is walking home later that night, bottle in hand, he finds an abandoned baby. Most sensible people would have different ideas if they had stumbled upon an abandoned baby on the day they got fired. But Mr. Desi Jackson here decides to adopt the kid. Of course, what happens next will blow your mind to smithereens. You’d think the jobless Michael bringing up the kid would have made the more interesting if not better film. Instead, we get Tiger Shroff and his endless quest to find the worst film of his career. How else to explain that his latest film is always just a bit worse than all his earlier films put together? Admirable.

The film is a laundry list. Dance. Son-father bonding. Dance. Fight. Dance. Villain introduction. Dance. Heroine introduction. Tiger Shroff can dance. Fight. Songs. More dancing! There were instances where I thought maybe this could go in a direction that wouldn’t be half-bad. Like when Munna (Tiger Shroff) is hired as Mahinder’s (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) – a gangster businessman from Delhi – dance teacher? Why can’t someone bankroll that film. Maybe they fear that the talented Siddiqui would really end up learning to dance (if you’ve caught him in his introductory sequence in Raees you’ll know he already in the not-bad range) and what a loss that would be for the Tiger Shroff genre. Who cares if you keep billing bad film after bad film. That nepotism gene must be preserved, right? There is a reason Munna Michael begins in the 90s. It just lost its way by not staying put.

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