Review: 'Go Goa Gone' aims to make us laugh

Go Goa GoneMovie Review: Go Goa Gone
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Anand Tiwari, Puja Gupta

Directors: Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK

The Indian Express rating: **1/2

Three friends head to Goa for some fun and frolic. What they think will be non-stop party-time turns into a nightmare, as they run into an unending stream of strange, shuffling creatures, neither dead nor alive, thirsty for human blood. What are these, quavers one of the alive-but-shaken threesome. Not chudails, not bhoots, but, ta da, zombies.

Hardik, Luv, Bunny (Khemu, Das, Tiwari) wouldn't have sounded so surprised if they had known that the venerable Ramsay Bros were the creators of India's first movie zombies. But there's one crucial difference between those and these: Go Goa Gone aims to make us laugh, and as we know, all laughter in the Ramsay horror shows was meant to be entirely unintentional. And that's certainly a first. Raj and DK's freshly-minted critters can safely take their place at the head of new-age Bollywood's blood-thirsty undead pantheon.

Fittingly, Bollywood's first zom com (zombie comedy) borrows broad brushstrokes from this very Hollywood genre, not the least of which are the zombies, with their blank eyes, staggering walk, and blood-spattered teeth. That the setting is Goa, whose beaches are over-run with unwashed, stringy-haired, glassy-eyed foreigners, helps.

Raj and DK cleverly use the desi Goa rave party as the most appropriate site for zombies: the raves are meant to be those drugged-out crazy parties filled with acid heads dancing to pot-fuelled trance, and we can easily imagine how these things could turn into hell.

The fun stems from the interaction among the three guys, even though the trio itself comprises familiar types: one horny jackass, one lovelorn dweeb, and the third the straight, let-me-outa-here working stiff. The moment you hear one of them is called Hardik, you know that what the joke will be. The lines are sassy and smart up to a point, and then start sounding forced. But these three carry it off, even when the hilarity wears off. The mandatory girl (Gupta) fills up the line without fuss. And with Saif Ali Khan's arrival, in golden wig, dark shades and a god-awful faux Russian accent, the mandatory star turn is also in place.

The film would have been funnier if the second act hadn't gone into a slide. And also if Khan hadn't played Boris (pronounced, he says with a straight face, Ba-ris) so straight. His slip-in-the-bad-Hindi-cussword is played for a laugh: you know that and you still crack up. Sending up his Russian mobster a little more would have shored up the comic tone of the film. It's left to the three guys to do the job. Good to see Kunal Khemu back in form; Das and Tiwari also have a couple of good moments.

There's also a neat little twist at the end. So don't rush out of the theatres.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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