Total Siyapaa: Despite a Pakistani groom and an Indian bride, the movie could have been better!

Published: March 10, 2014
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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.

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. 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. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

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.

Things are going great for the couple, Aman, played by Ali Zafar, and Asha, portrayed by the talented Yami Gautam, until Aman is persuaded, with much protest, to meet Asha’s parents.

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.

Photo: Total Siyapaa Official Facebook Page

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.

Photo: Total Siyapaa Official Facebook Page

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.

The supporting cast, with the exception of the outlandish sister, played by Sara Khan, aren’t able to sparkle to the same extent that the family members did in the Meet the Parents series.

Photo: Total Siyapaa Official Facebook Page

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.

Muhammad Altamash

Muhammad Altamash

An entrepreneur with a graduate degree from the London School of Economics, Altamash is also an ex-journalist who is currently looking to improve the way entertainment industry developments are covered. He tweets @MisterMashy (twitter.com/MisterMashy)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • bilal

    waste movie!!!Recommend

  • Saad

    This movie was a complete waste of my time and money. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff from Bollywood lately has been of very low quality. If the Indians keep making such movies, it might not be far off when most Pakistanis start deriving their entertainment from Arab, Turkish and other nation’s movies.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    No one would even take mufta passes for that ticket, it got such killer bad reviews on social media. Was Yumi at the premiere?Recommend

  • Himavan

    It will still never give the feel of Alia Bhatt’s boyfriend Arjun Kapoor in 2 states saying, Hamara Hindusthani hein na?never.Recommend

  • pakimama

    every film which has a pakistani is like this only…big budget and quality is always for quality people of India..not convertsRecommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Let’s just pretend the headline is grammatically correct.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    “Converts”??

    While I haven’t watched the film, so can not comment on it’s quality, at the same time, it’s not true that only big budget films are of high quality and successful. At the end of the day, the ones that capture viewers’ imagination, capture box office. I’m quite sure it would be the same for your film industry too.Recommend

  • fizza

    All the critics have wrote extremely bad reviews, i wonder how this reviewer is giving it some positive points. Be honest and don’t misguide people.Recommend

  • fizza

    All the critics have wrote extremely bad reviews, i wonder how this reviewer is giving it some positive points. Be honest and don’t misguide people.Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    Pakistanis and indians share many common things such as the food and music. But Pakistanis have a different sense of humour.They cant laugh at things on which Indians laugh as observed during their Film Awrds..This movie might be liked in India ,not in Pakistan..
    .Recommend

  • शिखर

    now pakis don;t mind for a pakistani as a hero and marrying a hindu girl afterall that’s what they want.. btw bolly movies r funded by underworld..Recommend

  • gp65

    “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.”
    Ali looks pleasant enough and no one grudges him the movies that he does get but with hardly any hits to his credit and no movie which has really showcased his talent, why would he become the first choice when so many people as young or younger are around? (Ranbeer Kapoor, Imran Khan, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Shahid Kapoor, Ayushman Khurana, Arjun Kapoor, Ranvir Singh, Aditya Roy Kapoor)?

    As for Parineeti being the first choice for rom-coms – really? What happened to Deepika, Kareena, Katrina, Priyanka, Sonakshi, Anushka, Asin, Sonam and Aalia? Don’t get me wrong – Parineeti is good but so are the others.Recommend

  • gp65

    Have you seen the reviews for this movie in India? Unsure what the basis of your comment that this could be liked in India but not Pakistan was.
    As far as Filmfare awards are concerned, the humor is topical to the film industry in India – so if you were not familiar with that you would miss it obviously.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    nothing is completely without merit. the reviewer found a few good things in the movie- this is not misguiding. he also pointed out the negativesRecommend

  • abhi

    I think film will be hug success in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Nida

    The movie was such a drag I decided to fast fwd it and watched queen instead..it was not “total siyyapa” should have been “unnecessary siyyapa”Recommend

  • Mailu

    Why does this movie pick up the easiest way out? Paki or Moslem men marrying or forcing Hindu girls to marry them has been done for centuries… we need to see Hindu men marrying Paki or Moslem girls… and then you will see protests go out in Pakiland as well as in secular India(by who else, Moslems!). And ain’t that the truth?Recommend