BollySpice attended the first London preview of Tees Maar Khan on Tuesday night. Despite weather that can only be described as unseasonably cold (even for December), the first show was House Full and the atmosphere inside the theatre would match any Diwali release. We cannot remember seeing this level of audience interaction, whistling and applause since sitting in the front benches of single-screen cinemas in Delhi.
Tees Maar Khan does exactly what it says on the tin. If there is an instruction book on how to make a hit film, Farah Khan has read it. Big stars. Hit Soundtrack. Pre-release publicity overdrive, and, courtesy of Shah Rukh Khan and ‘Sheela Ki Jawani’, a touch of controversy. This is a masala film heavy on the masala. As well as copious amounts of comedy, there is romance, there is action, there is even patriotism – although a very different brand of it to what you might have seen in Lagaan or Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.
With Akshay Kumar in the title role as Tabrez Mirza Khan, the film is of course a vehicle for the star. He does, however, get a run for his money from namesake Akshaye Khanna. Largely missing from the promos, Akshaye’s performance as an eye on the prize wannabe Oscar winner, parodies Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti and Mangal Pandey as the freedom fighter who is duped into committing a train heist. Credit also has to be given to Katrina Kaif for playing the item girl actress with aplomb. Particularly in the film within a film scenes where she is cast in the role of a half-English half-Indian beauty and forced to deliver dialogue in an accent straight out of a Merchant Ivory film. Sound familiar? There is a friendly appearance from Salman Khan, voice over from Sanjay Dutt, cameo by Anil Kapoor, and Chunkey Pandey caught up in hilarious Holi hoopla.
The film has catchphrases galore from Tees Maar Khan “The Khan of Khans” to Akshaye Khanna’s Slumdog Millionaire ‘Jai Ho’ parody ‘Day Ho’. Cinema Affecionados will adore the filmi references within the production. In fact, some of the finest intertextuality exists in Farah’s references to her very own Om Shanti Om. Pay close attention to the final credits of the film within a film, to see a particularly well-executed example of this.
Box office trade analysts have predicted that Tees Maar Khan has the potential for a juggernaut opening. After watching the film, this I would agree with. Although I would also take heed of the saying “You can’t please all of the people all of time”. A saying that may well be applied to the majority of Hindi film releases in 2010.
After seeing this film, BollySpice can’t wait to see what comes next in the ouevre of Farah Khan. Though from the expression on her face when we interviewed the filmmaker last week, it looks like her long-delayed Happy New Year may never see the light of day. Farah also told us that the film is as much husband Shirish Kunder’s as it is hers. In fact, when we chatted to Shirish about eighteen months ago, the Jaan-E-Mann director told us that he was planning to make it. Pay attention to the number of times Shirish Kunder’s name comes up in the credits and how many times he appears on stage at the end, and you will begin to suspect that Farah is right.
Tees Maar Khan is on general release in the UK and US from today and in India December 24.