A laugh-riot disguised as a letdown

A laugh-riot disguised as a letdown

War Chhod Na Yaar
Hindi U/A ¬¬¬
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Javed Jafferi, Dalip Tahil, Soha Ali Khan
Director: Faraz Haider

Making light of a serious subject is no joke; it can badly backfire. However, if done correctly, it can be one of those rare instances where laughter and social message converge into a well-rounded package for the consumer — the film’s audience in this case.

With War Chhod Na Yaar, debutant director Faraz Haider gets the fun part spot on, showing enough promise to send the industry’s laughter-churners scurrying for cover. Unfortunately, he oversimplifies the message, which hampers the serious and emotional moments of the film.

But first, the story. India’s defence minister (Dalip Tahil) invites a TV journalist (Soha Ali Khan) to accompany him to the border, revealing to her that a war will break out in a couple of days.

He wants her to shoot him talking at the site two days in advance, so her channel can say he is at the site on the day of the attack.

However, what the journalist finds at the border post are two sets of soldiers (led by Sharman Joshi and Javed Jafferi) on each side who play Antakshari and swap stories over the megaphone. Then, war breaks out, but without a break in the hilarity that had started at the beginning of the film.

It’s a relief to see Jafferi and Joshi receive roles that do justice to their talent. The extensive use of Tahil in four avatars — all as either heads or kingmakers of states — is a poignant yet oversimplified attempt to show how all politicians are more or less the same. Soha is much better than some of the wooden “beauties” we have in the industry today, but she could have done better with a meatier role.

The screenplay is fast, the dialogue is witty, the plot is funny in its own hare-brained way. But when the director tries to tell you that to weaken the influence of a foreign power like China you must stop eating Chinese food, or simply not buying Chinese smuggled goods will do, you know that a bright film has managed to elicit the dreaded groan filmmakers hate. But the silver lining is, Bollywood now has a new genre, and can hope to see it flourish.

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