'Mr Joe B. Carvalho' Review: Sherlock kiya jaaye? No, please

The movie won't catch any sane viewer’s fancy. It’s best deleted as two hours misspent.

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Soha Ali Khan, Jaaved Jaaferi
Director: Samir Tewari
Rating: One star

Asks the usually ill-mannered Mr Shakti Kapoor. “Kucch piyoge?’ And his guest replies, “ What is kuchh? I don’t drink that.” Next, the guest – a detective -- is informed, “I have a case for you,” to which the response is, “What? I don’t carry a briefcase.”

Now are those hyuk-hyuk moments, or just plain ridiculous? To be absolutely candid, such word-play in Mr Joe B. Carvalho – a pun on Jo Bhi Karvalo – is just one of its many dreadful aspects. In sum, this pancake-flat comedy directed by Samir Tewari is likely to compel you to burst into tears. Or jeers.

In fact, there’s only one silver lining in this travesty: good ole Himani Shivpuri, majorly bulked out, but quite subtle and saucy while doing a take-off on the latter-day Helen in her roles of a fussy, Anglicised accented and overwrought mamma. Portraying the detective’s near-blind mom, she’s hilarious, peppering the bland goings-yawn with black humour. Ms Shivpuri is a treat but there isn’t enough of her. Woe, it’s only Joe-Joe-Joe out here.

So you’re stuck with the aforelamented Joe (Arshad Warsi), who in his mid-40s, wants to kickstart a career as a sleuth a la Sherlock Holmes, unaccompanied by any sort of Watson. Next: he is embroiled in preventing a Bengaluru liquor tycoon’s daughter – okay, okay, any allusion to a real-life baron is coincidental – from eloping with a wooden block of a dude (appropriately played by an oak tree of an actor). Timber!

To add to your grief, that Liquor Daughter (Geeta Basra, help!) has also kindled the desires of an island’s tinpot dictator, who vaguely resembles Idi Amin. Ooof. And for the cherry on the indegistible cake, there’s a hit-man Carlo (Jaaved Jaafferi) , whose name causes earthquakes and lamplights to flicker. And prompts you to moan why Jaafferi keeps repeating the line, “Maut, potty and Carlo wait for no one.” Tee hee? Hardly. Moreover, Jaafferi seems to have a compulsive disguise disorder, donning Afro-wigs, blonde tresses, jazzy saris and cleavage-flaunting gowns. Such a drag, truly.

In fact, the script is fascinated with cross-dressing. Hairy-legged cops suddenly show up in sarongs. And it seems, as a kid, even your detective Joe would don pretty pink girly frocks, bows and ribbons. Huh. What’s going on here? That bit of psycho-backstory is given short shrift though. The ‘hero’ can’t be girly, can he?

And since, it’s voguish to foist in some same-gender malarkey nowadays, yesteryear’s terror, Ranjit, fetches up to leer, purrs suggestive dialogue and gets touchy feely with Joe. Oh, oh.The Bengaluru Sherlock’s heart, however, belongs to his childhood sweetheart, now a police officer (Soha Ali Khan, hopelessly miscast), who slips into a bikini as if she were going to the gallows. As for her cabaret act, it has to be seen to be disbelieved. It’s that clumsy.

Anyway, to cut a short story shorter, after a Goa interlude, the entire loony party returns to Bengalaru to go berserk. Gasp, the Liquor Daughter even goes into the throes of child delivery at the civil registrar’s office. And you scratch your noggin’ to wonder how this supposed comedy of errors ever got past the incubation stage. Sorry this is not entertainment, it’s punishment-punishment-punishment.

Exaggerated drama or farce can be engaging but just a couple of sequences demonstatate how ineptly, the humour has been tackled. An elaborate flashback shows the death by accident of every member of a family, which could have been madly absurd, but is directed amateurishly. Or take a hotel waiter who says there is only one room available, adding that the room has only one bed, one pillow, leading to a close-up of one of a pair of flip flops. Guests are expected to walk on one foot. Ha ho hum.

Technically the result’s just about okay but the music score by Amartya Rahut and the choreography aren’t up to scratch at all. As for the lyrics, Amitabh Bhattacharya’s “O late party mein…I hates hates (sic) chumma chaati” is the pits.

Of the cast, Vijay Raaz as one of the many oddballs, is at least restrained. Jaaved Jaafferi’s obsession for cross-dressing has become tiresome. And Arshad Warsi could be less bug-eyed and hammy. When he isn’t kept under control, the actor conveys that he fancies himself.

Snag: Mr Joe B. Carvalho isn’t likely to catch any sane viewer’s fancy. It’s best deleted as two hours misspent.

( Source : khalid mohamed )
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