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'Toh Baat Pakki' a lifeless comedy

Rating :

It's "Click" that's meant to be this week's horror flick. But "Toh Baat Pakki" is a bigger horror than anything in any recent weeks. And to think that the divine Tabu stars in it makes the blood boil.

On paper, the idea of playing the busybody housewife Rajeshwari, who seems to have only one mission in life, namely to see her sister (newcomer Yuvika) married off, must have sounded like an exciting new character to explore for the brilliant actress. Alas, Tabu had not bargained for the mundane situations and the pedestrian dialogues that her character has been put into.

"Toh Baat Pakki" is one of those tragic comedies that don't elicit a hint of humour. The plot is intrinsically bereft of ingenuity and the direction is strained most of the way.

Among the many problems that plague the plot is the lack of inherent drama in Tabu's character. Her character has no inner life, no motivating emotions except hatching silly match-making schemes for her giddy-headed sister. She first invites Sharman into her home as a tenant...And then Vatsal.

Tabu plays the annoying, part-schemer, part-dreamer housewife. Unlike the shrew that Sridevi played with full-blooded passion in "Judaai", Tabu's Rajeshwari is a woman caught in annoying confusions of self-assertion. And she's not to blame.

The lingering condition of a hangover mixed with yesterday's leftovers stays with the film right till the bustling conclusion when all of Rajeshwari's match-making manipulation come to fatuous fruition.

"Toh Baat Pakki" tries hard to be charming and quaint. But it lacks that lightness of weight that would have made the characters appear larger than life in an unstrained atmosphere.

A pity, since the ethereal Tabu is hardly seen in any film. She tries bravely to get out of her dramatic space to deliver a broad satirical performance that screams for behind-the-scenes fine-tuning.

She gets no support from her co-stars except maybe Ayub Khan who, as her supportive husband, plays a thankless part with warmth. Sharman Joshi as Tabu's sister's first suitor has done the goofy act lately in "3 Idiots". Here he has nothing new or appealing to add to his uninspired character.

Vatsal Seth, as suitor No.2, gives his clean-cut, good-boy role a genial treatment. The second half, where Sharman pretends to be the bride-to-be's well-wisher and tries to influence Vatsal against the marital alliance, is suspiciously similar to Yash Chopra's "Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai".

While the older film had some derivative energy to sustain its silly romantic movement, "Toh Baat Pakki" is as inert at its centre as a clock that stopped ticking while you were sleeping.

Avoid the film even if you are a diehard Tabu fan. In fact, please avoid it if you are a Tabu fan.

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