Supreeta Singh

 Film: Phas Gaye Re Obama

Direction: Subhash Kapoor

Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Amol Gupte, Sanjay Mishra, Manu Rishi, Amit Sial

Rating: Good

The film comes a bit too late. Since it’s set against the backdrop of the global recession, Phas Gaye Re Obama loses its immediacy. The trauma of the economic downturn might be still sharp in the memory of many and US President Barrack Obama’s visit is relatively recent, but as a comic commentary on the plight of financial loss, the film seems rusty and outdated. However the film can be judged from another angle. If seen from the point of how crooks and criminals aspire to fulfill their dreams, albeit in a twisted way, then the film does have a context. All characters in the film are facing severe financial constrains. Rajat Kapoor is Om Shastri, a once-rich NRI businessman who is badly hit by recession and stands to lose his home if he fails to repay the bank loan. He decides to sell-off his ancestral house in India. Once he arrives in the village, he finds that the situation here is no different and fails to find a buyer. When news spreads about his arrival, different gangster groups – from the lowliest to the most notorious – want to earn a heavy ransom out of him. He is first abducted by the small-time crook Bhai Saab (Sanjay Mishra) and his gang of four. Thereafter, he is passed on to bigger criminals thrice and each time he is the one who cons them and ends up fattening his own bank balance! How Om succeeds to come out of their grip in the end will evoke most laughs. Phas Gaye Re Obama is a hilarious take on global recession, political corruption and gender issues. It manages to combine all these elements without losing the thread of the story. The film’s singular strength lies in the way it gives space to each character. There is Bhai Saab, a failed and frail criminal who dreams of making it big in the world of politics and wants to travel to Kullu, Manali with his family. There is Anni (Manu Rishi) who takes English classes so that he can go to the US and earn bushels of dollars. One of the most interesting characters is the lady gangster, Munni played by Neha Dhupia. She hates men and one of her severe punishment includes the rape of Anni by her gang of girls when she finds out she has been duped! Conversations about Obama, George Bush, Saddam Hussain and the FBI are silly but funny. With regard to acting, everyone does their part. Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Mishra and Amol Gupte shine in every frame. Manu Rishi is heartwarming. Phas Gaye Re Obama is a lighthearted film that leaves you with a smile on your face. Small-budget films with no star-power but a nice storyline have been doing well for some time now. And Phas Gaye Re Obama is one of them.