My Mom’s signature dessert is trifle. Not too hard to make. Some small pieces of ladyfingers (the yellow cake, not the vegetable) covered in a thin swipe of raspberry jam, spread in one layer across the bottom of the dish, then douse in sherry. As the Harveys Bristol Creme soaks in, prepare some Birds Custard, then cover the lady fingers with it, then cover that with whipped cream and a dash of sprinkles to add some color and decoration.
That’s Priyadarshan’s Chup chup ke.
The sodden bits at the bottom of this dessert are all the over-the-top, go-on-too-long slaptsick comedy bits with Rajpal Yadav and Paresh Rawal, the story is the middle layer you barely notice, and the whipped cream on top is Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, the set design, costumes and music.
The story, an attempted comedy of errors, revolves around Jeetu (Shahid Kapoor) who has run up a lot of debt and fakes his death so his family will receive insurance money and be able to settle it. After throwing himself into the ocean, he lands up the next day in a fisherman’s net. The fisherman (Rawal) and his sidekick (Yadav) see a list of debts to be paid and mistakenly think it’s a list of money owed to Jeetu and they reason that by helping him, they’ll be well rewarded. Jeetu pretends to be deaf and mute so as not to reveal who he is. The three end up at the house of a wealthy Gujurati businessman, Prabhat Singh Chauhan (Om Puri), who has just seized Paresh Rawal’s boat because he’s owed money. It’s also the home of Shruti (Kareena Kapoor), who really is mute, though not deaf. And then there’s secrets, people lying to protect others, and all sorts of confusions and twists, but it’s really not worth enumerating here. Jeetu and Shruti fall in love, overcome some obstacles, and well, you know the rest.
Ninety percent of the action takes place inside the home compound of Prabhat Singh Chauhan, and whoever designed the sets has a great eye for warm colors and pretty touches, ditto the costume designer. Everyone in the household, even the servants, look crisp and clean and matching-matching the whole way through. Having read some unfavorable reviews this afternoon, I was surprised to find that the first half went by quickly, but there were no good songs until the second half, and then, they all came one on top of the other. That said, the picturizations for Dil Vich Lagya and Ghoomar were the stuff of what makes typical modern Bollywood movies what they are. An ensemble cast in beautiful pastel costumes dance energetically to celebrate the engagement and the wedding (think the opening number of Bluffmaster or Shava Shava from K3G). They were true feel-good moments but they came too late.
I have never been even remotely curious to see Shahid Kapoor on screen. His babyface made even watching him almost seem like pedophilia. And his girlfriend’s air of smug arrogance was a total turn-off.
But I have to admit, the 25-year-old Shahid does have perfect hair, a fit body and, most of all, an open, guileless, engaging face. On top of that, he looks as if he’s giving it all he’s got when he dances. If, as Abhishek did, he can grow out of the boyish gangliness, he may have a shot at making the A-list as he gets closer to 30. One saving grace in Chup Chup Ke comes from Kareena’s character being mute, meaning we are spared her cho chweet voice, and yes, I will begrudglingly admit, she does have beautiful eyes and an appealing face. Her clothes for the engagement and wedding scenes are Manish Malhotra’s creations and they are gorgeous; one, a fantastic pairing of pink and green, the other a warm burnt orange, each finished with gem-laden earrings and necklace.
See it or skip it?
Not worth the price of a $10 ticket, as enjoyable as the dance numbers are. This movie is really only for die-hard Bebo or Shahid fans.