“Karma is a bitch.” And I have no doubt about that. Believers of all religions collectively accept variations of heaven, hell and doomsday. These are all ways that humans will have to pay for their bad deeds on earth, big or small. Personally, I believe that heaven and hell is all on earth. Heaven is experienced in predominantly happier moments in our lives; weddings, births, accomplishments and so on. As for hell and doomsday, individually we all have experienced both in various ways: death, heartbreaks and currently lay offs seeming hellish in many ways. Then the festival of color, Holi, comes along and we are told to remember that good always prevails over evil as we throw color around spreading happiness. The much awaited and delayed, Karma Aur Holi is debutant Manish Gupta’s attempt to be a part of the N.R.I director brigade joining the likes of Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and Gurinder Chadha. The star cast includes a variety of actors from Sushmita Sen to Suresh Oberoi and even model Naomi Campbell. Previously titled Karma, Holi Aur Confessions, the movie’s name took a slash when confessions was eliminated and scheduled to release just before Holi. Curious to read and see if Gupta manages to create any karmic magic or if the audiences are going holy(i)-moly over this one? Read on to find out.
Meera (Sushmita Sen) and Dev (Randeep Hooda) play a modern married New York couple who are desperately looking to have a child. Unfortunately, they are unable to conceive which leaves Meera in a foul mood for the most part. As a way to change the tense atmosphere they decide to call their family and friends for a get together and celebrate the colorful festival of Holi. One by one we are introduced to a multitude of personalities that attend weekend getaway: a wannabe Pakistani director and his pregnant girlfriend (Armin Amiri and Naomi Campbell), a bored wife (Suchitra Krishnamurthy), her dominating husband and sexually advanced teenage son, along with a nonstop bickering couple (Suresh Oberoi and Rati Agnihotri). There are more additions to the guest list as the screenplay progresses in the form of some unknown actors and Deepal Shaw. The party falls apart when Meera suggests that the party goers play a game of confessions only to learn too much for their own good. Not only are lives “never the same again,” but it literally comes down to a T.M.I moment: Too Much Information.
As I walked out of the cinema, the first thing I wanted to do was email Manish Gupta to tell him that there is no way in hell, pun intended, that he should even consider himself capable of being compared to the likes of Nair, Mehta or Chadha. The movie was a complete disaster. Why, why, why? With every scene I asked myself WHY? Why was Hooda’s character picking up his cell phone during intimacy with his wife? Why in this day and age is Agnihotri refusing to pick up a glass of water which has been sipped by a Muslim man? Why is Naomi Campbell even in this movie? And why on earth did Gupta make the movie? No screenplay, no plot and no(n) sense. Karma Aur Holi is not worth your time or money. One can completely understand why Sushmita Sen went ahead and decided to opt out of the promotional activities for the film. But I have to question how an intelligent woman, which she is, even agreed to be a part of this film. Gupta has written characters who do not care about each other or themselves at all but still manage to call each other “family.” The Indian audiences will not be able to connect or relate to the sequences at all which defeats the purpose of making such a film such as this.
Honestly, there is nothing good about the screenplay to write about. High moments, none. Low moments, all of it. The performances belong dually to Sushmita Sen and Suchitra Krishnamurthy. Besides them, the rest range from bad to blah.
Even if you had some time to spare, you should avoid this movie. Instead, catch Monsoon Wedding for the nth time. Spare your Karma and spend your Holi elsewhere. This one ain’t worth it. And that’s being nice.