Film: Jhootha Hi Sahi
Cast: John Abraham, Pakhi, Raghu Ram, Manasi Scott, Alishka Varde
Direction: Abbas Tyrewala
Rate: Average

Sudipta Dey

Like his last film Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Naa, Abbas Tyrewala has an ensemble cast in Jhootha Hi Sahi as well. There is John Abraham who plays Sid — the geeky bookstore owner, his super-hot girlfriend Krutika (Manasi Scott), two Pakistani siblings Omar and Aliya (Raghu Ram and Alishka), two gay guys Amit and Udhay (Omar Khan and Prashant Chawla) and of course a foreign lover Nick (George Young) who fleets in an out of scenes, proposing to Aliya in each of them. A perfect set-up for a romantic comedy but unfortunately the film fails to leave a mark.
Their friendship reminds you of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, How I Met Your Mother and even The Big Bang Theory. But if you look closer, Jhootha Hi Sahi keeps making you think of Notting Hill at certain points. For John Abraham, even after the no-workout regime he undertook for the film, it is a bit hard to look any less stunning than he usually does. Mostly clad in semi formals, light coloured shirts and trousers, (sadly there is only one towel scene where he hardly shows off his fabulous abs) he looks absolutely adorable. He reminds one of Hugh Grant in Notting Hill — unkempt most of the time, big nerdy-glasses, clumsy apartment and a little confused. In fact even the bookstore, ‘Kagaaz Ke Phool’ (which only sells Indian books) looks similar to the travel bookstore owned by Grant in Notting Hill. Exuding a charm a bit too modest at times, it is hard to agree with Omar who exclaims at Sid, “You look like shit!”
For Sid, life looks smooth till the time he begins to receive suicidal calls from Imran Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Abhishek Bachchan. Nope, voices only. But one call throws him off balance and he persuades the distressed caller to give life another chance. On the other side of the phone is Mishka (Pakhi) who spends hours talking to her nameless helpline dost, who she calls Fidato. In due course, they become good friends but Sid pretends to be somebody else presuming that he would never meet her in person. Little does he know that she would walk into his store a couple of days later.
Sid stammers in front of women (like Raj Kutrapali of The Big Bang Theory, who can’t speak in front of women) but somehow manages to ask Mishka out. Since Pakhi is the writer of the film and Abbas Tyrewala’s wife, we understand why she was cast in the first place. John and Pakhi look mismatched. Neither is there any chemistry between the two, nor does she look like the type to fall in love instantly. Manasi Scott is surprisingly good in her small role, as is the rest of the cast. Raghu Ram slips into his Pakistani avatar quite comfortably.
The story has its highs and lows. After spending considerable time with Fidato on the phone and Sid in person, Mishka never realises it is the same person. It never strikes her that both men’s voices could be so similar. The film is a balanced mix of humour and drama. Dialogues are crisp and funny. But director Abbas Tyrewala fails to inculcate any individuality in his characters. As a result none of them leave a lasting impression.
Other than the Cry Cry number, none of the songs are worth an ear. Towards the end, the film begins to bore you probably because it lasts a little longer than the usual two-and-a-half hours. Nevertheless, it’s a one-time watch.