As we move into the second week past the strike, we are “treated” to a film which off the bat seems like another run of the mill slapstick comedy, Paying Guest. The feature film is the first of debutant Paritosh Painter who is well known in the theater circuit as an ace director. The director has taken on the likes of Shreyas Talpade, Jaaved Jaffrey, Ashish Chowdhry and Vatsal Sheth along with Johnny Lever, who collectively promise laughs galore. Adding some spice to the nice are Neha Dhupia, Ria Sen, Sayali Bhagat and Celina Jaitley who are all known for reasons other than acting. The film is said to be a copy of a Marathi film which saw super-success at the box office. The bottom line is, can Painter do the same for the Hindi installment of the film? Read on to find out.
Meet the Awesome Threesome, (Talpade, Jaffrey, Chowdhry), who are of course best pals and so in sync with one another that they lose their jobs on the same day; Talpade from the restaurant he works at, Jaffrey from the television station, and Chowdhry who quits after a war of words with his boss. Adding to the trouble, a cousin, Sheth, turns up adding to the chaos. The four then indulge in some debauchery on the beaches of Pattaya, Thailand and lose their home. Desperately they turn up at the doorstep of a couple who however, insist on taking in only couples as Paying Guest. Before you can guess what happens next, lets just say, you’ll never need to watch a drag show ever after watching Paying Guest. The actresses in the film run around looking pretty and confused at the mayhem that occurs. And finally, their pretense is exposed to all after much puzzlement amongst all characters in the film.
Crude, immature and tacky are the perfect adjectives to describe this piece of junk. Please excuse my French, but it is such movies that give Hindi cinema a bad name. For the life of me I cannot fathom why on earth someone would want to write a script that is filled with vulgar humor—straight up and underlying. As a director, Painter does a simply okay job but as a writer, he has definitely lost me as a viewer for any future ventures he may attach himself to. The Marathi version may have worked but in Hindi, this is a complete failure. Will someone please tell Subhash Ghai that he should not associate Mukta Arts with such tasteless films? The so-called Showman claims that he knows good cinema but if this is his understanding of good cinema, then really his understanding of Hindi cinema must be questioned.
The film also bares many similarities to a few films, Dostana being the most prominent. However, it is strictly okay for the likes of John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan to play the gay act and especially if it’s on the beaches of Miami. None of the actors casted in Paying Guest come close to the Dostana boys and particularly not on the despicable beaches of Thailand. If it was Priyanka and her Aunt who played the Sindhi’s in Dostana, Asrani takes that part in Paying Guest adding perhaps the only piece of real humor in the film. This close Dostana does not work for the boys—not at all.
In terms of the performances, Chowdhry and Jaffrey, who have the most experience in the drag category, stand out. They look and play the parts aptly. The rest are all fluff and honestly, boring. Talpade overacts and Sheth has the weakest part in the script. The ladies are as good as bare furniture who are barely cladded and hang around doing just what furnitures do…nothing. The music is beyond terrible with Jack and Jill being the worst. It literally gave me a headache.
The jokes in the movie deserve a special mention for being nonsensical and incredibly foul. Normally, such humor is written and spoken in ‘code’ but that is not the case of Paying Guest. The vile jokes are spoken so openly, it made me cringe in my seat. As a mundane example, words including “foreplay” and “climax” have been worked into the script and it was not all in good fun—but in pure derogation. I agree that Hindi cinema has evolved but even now the idea of watching a film, and that too a Bollywood film, is because they are meant to be clean enough to watch with the family. Such disgusting humor is just not acceptable.
In all sincerity, the film hardly deserves a rating more than a half, but it gets a one simply because of the effort put in by the actors to make the film seem somewhat credible. Otherwise, you’d be silly to pay a penny and watch his trashy film.