Kunal Kemmu’s black comedy is a jumbled mess that is neither funny nor touching

Kanjoos Makhichoos

Director: Vipul Mehta

Cast: Kunal Kemmu, Shweta Tripathi, Piyush Mishra, Alka Amin, Rajeev Gupta, and Raju Srivastava.

Where to watch: Zee5

Rating: 2 stars

Every once in a while comes a film that tries to be everything. There will be doses of comedy, dollops of emotions, some moments of sermonising, and a social message. If one gets it right – both the ingredients and the tone – then it can be a delicious watch. Sadly, Kanjoos Makhichoos gets it horribly wrong and the end result is a khichdi that is neither delicious nor pretty to look at.

The Vipul Mehta film is supposed to be a black comedy about a miserly man in Lucknow, named Jamuna Prasad (Kunal Kemmu). After he loses his parents (Piyush Mishra and Alka Amin) in a natural disaster, he realises that corrupt government officials won’t give him the full compensation amount. Just when he is about to make peace with all this, a spoilery twist turns his life and the film upside down. Kanjoos Makhichoos is the tale of how Jamuna and his wife (Shweta Tripathi) try to salvage their life.

Black comedies offer a lot to filmmakers, not the least of which is a chance to balance comedy with farce and drama. But in Kanjoos Makhichoos, director Vipul Mehta struggles to find that balance throughout the runtime. In the end, the film oscillates from moments of light fun to sombre melodrama, not knowing what exactly it wants to be. This robs the film of its identity and any form of cohesion in narrative. The sequences seem pasted one after the other instead of flowing like a smooth single plot.

The biggest fault in the film is that it takes its own sweet time to get to the point. The twist that actually makes the film interesting comes a full 55 minutes in a 2-hour runtime. In a theatre, that would have been the interval point. That pretty much means that Kanjoos Makhichoos wastes the entire first half in just setting up the premise, and bore us with a couple of forgettable songs as well. When a Sukhwinder Singh picturised around a tragedy doesn’t hit you in the gut, you know the makers have gone wrong somewhere.

The actors have been wasted completely. Kunal Kemmu is earnest but falters badly in the comic scene, which is a shame because he has shown in the past that he is capable of good comedy. A thespian ike Piyush Mishra has been reduced to acting badly in parts, which pretty much tells the state of the production. Raju Srivastava appears as a corrupt government official in what is his final screen appearance. He certainly deserved better.

Kanjoos Makhichoos film lacks the finesse to be a good comedy and the subtlety to be an impactful drama. The message against corruption also seems like a half-baked sermon. The film falls flat on all fronts. The film is streaming on Zee5. Only watch it if you have nothing better to do!

Originally published at www.dnaindia.com

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