Neha Dhupia: From Osama to Obama, the world renowned figures are slowly creeping into the seldom fecund imagination of Indian scriptwriters. Unlike Tere Bin Laden which spoofed the world’s most wanted man unabashedly, Phas Gaye Re Obama doesn’t show that much cheek and only references the Nobel winning American president through posters, graffiti and, of course, his famous slogan ‘Yes We Can’.
From America’s swish corporate world to apna India’s squalid underworld, none was spared from the economic meltdown that made bankrupts out of many a millionaire overnight. One such unfortunate soul is the US-based NRI Om (Rajat Kapoor) who, having lost everything to recession, comes to rural India to sell off his ancestral property with the hope of taking back some money to the US to pay off the loan for his home.
To his utter misfortune, Om is kidnapped by a gang headed by Bhaisaab (Sanjay Mishra). Now the gang is facing severe financial crunch. No bullets for their guns, no petrol for jeep, and to top it all, no rich folks left to kidnap. Mandhi (recession) has hit everyone. Om seems to them a big catch. But when it turns out that he too is stony-broke like them, it’s Om who shows the way further.
Om is passed on to bigger gangs. There’s the female Gabbar, Munni (Neha Dhupia), the spitfire dacoit whose oversexed female underlings have Bollywood names like Deepika, Priyanka and Preity. And then there’s Dhananjay (Amole Gupte) who is the Animal Welfare Minister but runs a covert kidnapping racket so well organized that it even gives out proper receipts for ransom it extorts.
Apart from its delightfully offbeat story, Phas Gaye Re Obama boasts of goofball characters that leave you chuckling throughout. There’s the don’s America-loving sidekick Anni (Manu Rishi) who hears Obama speeches with mouth agape; or there’s this English school teacher whose English is as funny as flawed.
Kudos to writer director Subhash Kapoor for making a thoroughly entertaining satire with an interesting twist in the end. Performances are topnotch by almost everyone. But Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Amol Gupte and Manu Rishi deserve a pat on the back.
A potent black comedy like Phas Gaye Re Obama is a rarity in Bollywood. Do watch it even if you are broke and have to borrow or steal for the ticket money.