Hello Charlie appears to be aimed at eight-year-olds and below, but even they might find their attention wandering. Pankaj Saraswat’s comedy revolves around a one-liner in search of humour. The Amazon Prime Video release has a dim-witted hero, a fugitive billionaire, and the billionaire’s girlfriend, who has the bright idea of disguising him in a gorilla suit.

Why? Because Makwana (Jackie Shroff) is wanted by the police for failing to pay his debts. Mona (Elnaaz Norouzi) gets Makwana to slip into a gorilla suit and hires the low-wattage but highly enthusiastic Charlie (Aadar Jain) to transport the concealed fugitive from Mumbai to Diu, from where Makwana hopes to escape for good.

A series of adventures awaits the gaffe-prone Charlie and the fake gorilla. Meanwhile, a plane carrying an actual ape crashes in the vicinity of Makwana’s destination.

The 102-minute movie includes appearances by Darshan Jariwala as Charlie’s harried uncle, Shlokka Pandit as the woman whom Charlie rescues, Girish Kulkarni as a vague baddie, Rajpal Yadav as a forest officer, Bharat Ganeshpure as a permanently inebriated veterinary doctor, and Siddhant Kapoor as a police officer.

The kerfuffle is based on an idea by Pankaj Advani, the late director of the madcap comedies Urf Professor and Sankat City. All credit for whatever has become of this idea goes to Pankaj Saraswat and his crew of writers. Full props to the cast too, who go through the endlessly inane and increasingly unfunny events with utmost professionalism.

Hello Charlie (2021).