The dated 1990s-style comedy Jhootha Kahin Ka gets trapped in its own web of lies. Varun (Omkar Kapoor) fibs that he is an orphan in order to marry his sweetheart Rhea (Nimisha Mehta) and move in with her sexist father (Manoj Joshi) and fashion-pot mother (Lillete Dubey). Varun’s friend Karan (Sunny Singh Nijjar) has lied to his girlfriend (Rucha Vaidya) that his elder brother Tommy (Jimmy Shergill) is in the United States when he is actually in jail.

Directed by Smeep Kang and written by Vaibhav Suman and Shreya Shrivastava, Jhootha Kahin Ka begins in small-town Punjab, where farmer Yograj (Rishi Kapoor) is given to making grandiose proclamations about his land holdings. Yograj’s white lies pale before his son Varun’s duplicity. Ensconced in Mauritius, Varun thinks he can get away with his deception, but then his father lands up along his brother-in-law (Rajesh Sharma). Since Mauritius appears to be no bigger than one-eighth of all of Yograj’s fields, the characters often find themselves in the same room, forced to escalate their lies in order to save face.

The runtime of 133 minutes is far too long to sustain the farce, whose best bits revolve around the utter cynicism with which Varun and Karan try to fool their way out of situations. Most of the comedy is delivered at full volume. There are moments when Rishi Kapoor’s voice seems to be coming from the next seat rather than the screen and Manoj Joshi appears to be on the verge of a heart attack with all the excitement.

Joshi’s character, Vinod, has an unpleasant way of assuming that his beautiful wife (Lillete Dubey) is eyeing every other man but him (why wouldn’t she?). Rishi Kapoor has his moments as the silver-haired romantic making a play for Varun’s mother-in-law. The older actors fare better than the insipid young leads, with veteran Rakesh Bedi turning out the most subtle performance in an otherwise loud and broad comedy.

The extended climax, which herds all the characters together in the same space and lets them have it out with each other, would have been better if it were sharper and shorter. The whole commotion would have been resolved if the characters had sat across from each other and explained their positions, but then we wouldn’t have had a movie to plod through. Pity.

Jhootha Kahin Ka (2019).