Total Siyapaa: Despite a Pakistani groom and an Indian bride, the movie could have been better!
Ali Zafar’s fifth Bollywood film, Total Siyapaa, is an outlandish comedy of errors which unfolds on a single, wild night. The movie is another version of the popular cliché of what happens when a boy meets the girl’s parents for the first time.
Chaos ensues as the couple face characters ranging from a Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ)-obsessed child, baseball-bat wielding youngsters, a chronic complainer (played skilfully by Kiron Kher), trollops with tooting accents and a nuttier than a bar of snickers granddad.
Mix the quirks of the characters, which are, to put it mildly and in printable language, cucking frazy, with a dangerous container of frozen soup and some near murders, and you have the recipe for a mammoth Siyapaa. Interestingly, things at the house take a massive turn for the worse when Aman is asked the all too familiar question of ‘what is your family background’.
This is when the parents unexpectedly learn that their Indian daughter, who was brought up as a Hindu, has chosen a Pakistani man, who follows a different religion. That’s when the already awkward dinner turns into an out and out farce.
Aman, the innocent, well-spoken boy from a good family, struggles to maintain his nerve as each character presents a new challenge. As he becomes more and more entrapped by the family’s eccentricities and a host of unexpected circumstances, Aman’s relationship with Asha comes under stress too.
His love for Asha makes him drop his accha bacha (good boy) standards and work to wriggle himself out of a welter of problems as he, against his will, finds himself in police stations, a flower shop and even the prospective father-in-law’s office.
The interaction between Kiron Kher and Ali Zafar is hilarious throughout the film and there is a particularly funny scene where a distressed Aman has to deal with an elderly relative in a lavatory.
While Total Siyapaa has its moments, I can’t help but think that the film, which is clearly meant to be an entertainer, has great unfulfilled potential. Initially titled Aman Ki Asha, it could have been fantastic had it included more of the comedy centred on the cultural differences between the two countries and Aman working to make peace with his antagonistic Indian family. It only touches on this matter briefly and if the script had more such banter, it would have really helped engage the audience for longer periods.
The trailer and climax of the film, where the Pakistani identity of Aman is revealed, brings about an expectation of the Indo-Pak angle, which unfortunately isn’t exploited to the fullest. As a result, the film tends to meander from one comedy skit to another.
While it’s neither engaging nor unpredictable enough to be termed a must see, there’s still plenty to commend in the film. Zafar is fantastic as the puzzled Pakistani and you can certainly relate to the very Pakistani earnestness and charm he brings to the role.
The multi-talented Zafar sparkles, whether on screen or through the soundtrack, since in addition to playing the lead role, he composed and sung the songs too – the title track of which is sure to be a super-hit.
One hopes he will soon become the first choice for the male lead in rom-coms too, much like Parineeta Chopra for filmmakers seeking a great female lead.
Moreover, the guy is an absolute gentleman and was supremely patient despite the stampede causing attention he was getting at the premiere in Pakistan. Courteous to the core, he even left a conversation midway with Humaima Malick and Aminah Shaikh when interrupted by a humble autograph seeker.
Seeing Zafar on the big screen should be a huge draw for most people, considering he is probably the man most men want to be, and of course, the man most women want to be with.
All in all, if you’re looking for a light-hearted and amusing film that the lady in your life won’t object to, this ultimately harmless film, which has some great songs, one of which sees Zafar partner with Fariha Pervez, is a good pick.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.