‘Tu Jhooti Mein Makkar’: So Boring Despite Stars

By Shubhra Gupta

Luv Ranjan’s latest ‘Tu Jhooti Main Makkaar’ is basically every Luv Ranjan film till now: the guys, they’re the best, the gals, well, they gotta learn their lesson. That, and the one thing no Luv Ranjan movie can do without: the monologue.

The plot, basically an excuse to hang this one-line philosophy of his movies, is as loose and harebrained as they come. Mickey (Ranbir Kapoor) is, among other things, a break-up artist. That is, he does this as a ‘dhanda’ wherein he grabs a fat fee from those who wish to get out of a relationship without breaking any hearts, dumping their bfs/gfs lightly. All this is taking place amongst a certain set in Delhi/NCR, who hang out in Cyber Hub, live in flats which are meant to be in Vasant Kunj but look like they are Gurugram high-rises, and clearly have this extremely useful service on their speed dial.

Go on, roll your eyes. It’s Luv Ranjan’s universe, in which the expert couple-buster Mickey falls hard for Tinny (Shraddha Kapoor), who, you know, just wants to have fun. Ouch. A Casanova-type developing real feelings for a girl who couldn’t care less, or at least that’s the character trait she’s given in the beginning, is a great rom com premise, but the writers of TJMM clearly didn’t get the memo on brevity being the soul of wit: the film drags on for two hours before it comes to the last twenty minutes, which is when the pace picks up, a familiar-yet-fun trope– the dash-to-the-airport-to-get-the-girl-kicks in– and the film finally get some laughs in.

Up until then, we get Ranbir Kapoor trying to be Kartik Aaryan, and only coming into his own when he goes back to being Ranbir Kapoor, he who can carry a scene, and execute a mean ‘thumka’. Kapoor has had a lot of experience playing the man-child in his most popular outings (Wake Up Sid, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) but this is the Ranjan maleverse, where young men’s brahmastra is refusing to grow up: imagine being able to be Mumma’s boys all life long, live in the family nest, and have all the women in the family revolve around you? This is a male fantasy to beat all fantasies, and Luv Ranjan has excelled at creating versions of it, right from ‘Pyaar Ka Panchnama’. But what felt fresh when PKP came out, is now just tired and jaded.

Mickey’s best pal is played by popular stand-up comic Anubhav Singh Bassi, who has to live with the best punch-lines being handed out to the hero. Shraddha Kapoor tries to make the best of the sort of thankless roles women have in Luv Ranjan’s movies. Her attempt at trying to be her own person, and striking out for independence is firmly scotched by the film’s decisive pivot to conservative family values: remember we told you right up front that she will learn the error of her ways?Not content with one monologue, we get several: has anyone heard of jokes getting worn out? Misogynistic, sexist lines, a Luv Ranjan film staple, keep popping up: what’s a maleverse without dashes of sexism and misogyny? A little girl is handed out some deeply problematic lines, and placed in even more problematic situations. And the gracious Dimple Kapadia, as Mickey’s loving mommy, is turned into a harridan, and made to slap her ‘puttar’ more than once. How long, dear Bollywood, will slaps be played for laughs?

I suppose if TJMM was silly and fun, it would still have been fine. I’m always in the market for silly. But this kind of movie has no business being so boring, and that’s its biggest sin.

I love you, says the teary-eyed guy to the teary-eyed gal, but I love my family more, and you come after Dadiji, Mummyji, Daddyji, Sisterji, Nieceji. If there was a family pet, I guess the latter would have been on that list too. — Indian Express