Movie Review: Phas Gaye Re Obama

I honestly didn’t know what to expect of this movie.  To be fair, it was released in 2010, and I’ve missed the chatter about it. Perhaps it was the wistful feeling I get when I think about the amazing erstwhile American president and his even more incredible first lady that propelled me to watch it in the first place.

Story: Om is an NRI in the US, staring financial ruin in the face thanks to the global recession. He decides to fly to India and sell his ancestral home to scare up funds to pay off a bank loan in America.

In the small Indian town, where his located, there is a gang of small time criminals. They usually kidnap people and extort ransom from fearful relatives. However, thanks once again to the recession, relatives cannot fork over the asked for amounts either.

When Om comes to India, this gang kidnaps him, and the whole plot escalates into a series of more and more ludicrous situations with more and more dangerous criminals.

Review: I would have given this movie and unequivocal thumbs up as a dark and satirical piece on the recession and criminal societal elements, except for one scene: the one where the minister appears to sacrifice a goat. That scene was extraneous, and added nothing to the plot except for an oblique nod to the character’s fathomless wellspring of cruelty.

Story: The story starts off straightforward, and rapidly gains momentum as the situations worsen. Each time, Om saves the day with a bit of savvy and smooth talk. Mostly, there is no telling what is about to happen next, and there is true suspense about the way the story is about to unfold.

Characters: I keep saying this about book and movie characters: each character should be complex with facets of good and bad. Finally! This movie has that! Except that hideous minister. Horrible person. Just pure evil.

Acting: Excellent, understated performances, with incredible flair for comedy.

What I liked: Hilarious in parts, absolutely unbelievably funny. The plot is just insane enough to be plausible (in a movie universe of course). The characters are caricatures, and thus funny too.

What I disliked: That goat scene. *shudder*

Rating: ✩✩✩✩

Watch for the English coaching class scene. Absolute gold.

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