The lives of a simpleton teacher with short-term memory loss, a righteous former army man with latent anger management issues and a debt collection agent with a proclivity for Michael Jackson’s style jackets, are quite normal by the standards of Jangheti village, somewhere in North India. Until suddenly one day these three men become ostracised by their community and the laughing stock of the village.
Without consent and completely unbeknownst to them, these three men have become poster boys for the health department’s campaign promoting vasectomy.
The taboo, the horror, the damning indictment on their manhood is enough to make two families break off engagements and one man’s marriage to head towards divorce. The biggest cause of concern, the shame, sprouts from the dread of what people will say.
Once they recover from the shock, Jagaawar Chaudhry (Sunny Deol), Vinay Sharma (Bobby Deol) and Arjun Singh (Shreyas Talpade) begin a process of clearing their reputations and proving their virility. This takes them to district and state government-run health departments, but when all official requests and threats fail, they use the media to spread their message. A kind of reality TV-like demonstration wins them eyeballs, support and sympathy.
A remake of the 2014 Marathi comedy Poshter Boyz, which was produced by Shreyas Talpade, the Hindi version has Talpade not just acting but also making his directorial debut. The inexperience shows. Some scenes are loosely designed, the costumes often out of sync with the environs and the inherent humour in an interesting story inspired by a real incident (about three porters who found themselves in this situation) is occasionally lost in translation.
Since there are three protagonists, each one is given equal screen time, and each gag has three reactions. And when there needs to be a break from the humour, it’s time to bring on the punches. After all, if you have Sunny Deol in a film, there has to be reference to (and use of) his ‘dhai kilo’ (2.5 kg) punch. The self promotion also includes Vinay’s cell-phone ring tone being the theme tune to the Bobby Deol film Soldier and of course the low hanging fruit – a reference to daddy Dharmendra. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, but just in case you need the cues, there’s a soundtrack and sound effects to encourage the chuckles.
Samiksha Bhatnagar does well as Surajmukhi, the mild-mannered teacher’s hot-tempered wife who is desperate for a male heir, even though her styling is better suited to a saas-bahu soap. Sonali Kulkarni’s character remains even-keeled as Jagaawar’s supportive wife. The real comics in the film though are Arjun’s two energetic and enthusiastic sidekicks and Ashwini Kalsekar, who plays to the galleries as the politically incorrect gynaecologist.
Messages are piled in from gender equality and the wrongs of gender detection to equal responsibility for family planning. The issue of over-population is tackled with a light hand and while the humour is anything but subtle, Poster Boys will appeal to fans of the brothers Deol looking for an inoffensive good time.
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