Parent Category: Film and the Arts
Published on Wednesday, 13 January 2010 04:00
Written by Frank Lovece
Directed by Jugal Hansraj
Written by Uday Chopra
With: Uday Chopra, Priyanka Chopra, Advika Yadav, Dino Morea, Anupam Kher and Rahul Vohra
The phrase "Don't do business with relatives" doesn't mean much in Bollywood, where generations of scions follow in family footsteps to create filmmaking dynasties. Even so, that doesn't mean you give Paris Hilton her own hotel to run.
Uday Chopra — actor son of major Indian producer/filmmaker Yash Chopra and younger brother of the successful Aditya Chopra (producer-writer-director of the 2008 hit Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, among others) — spends a lot time helping out around the family studio, doing some executive producing here, some assistant directing there. And while letting him write, produce and star in his own romantic comedy must have seemed a very nice birthday present or some such, it's no gift to audiences. Despite a few cute moments, the beauty-and-the-geek tale Pyaar Impossible! ("Love Impossible!"), set against the backdrop of computer software and corporate theft, is a vanity project that only goes to show that while love may or may not be impossible, nepotism is eternal.
We'll give Chopra points for at least not directing it himself, and for having a good eye for talent in choosing Jugal Hansraj to do so, even though Hansraj's only previous credit was the animated flop Roadside Romeo (2008). Whatever this film's faults, they don't stem from Hansraj's hand; he keeps both romantic complications and corporate shenanigans moving along at a good, grounded clip, and his experience as a former child actor probably helped wickedly precocious newcomer Advika Yadav, who as a six-year-old romantic mastermind steals her scenes with conviction and the most ironic cuteness since the last Pee-wee Herman show.
Not that that's enough to save this well-meant effort. Ahbay Sharma (Chopra) is a computer geek who, in college, saved beautiful co-ed Alisha (Priyanka Chopra, no relation, seen here stateside in the terrific 2008 faux-gay comedy Dostana) from drowning. Seven years later, living with his supportive dad (beloved Bollywood veteran Anupam Kher), he still carries a torch for the girl, who never got a good look at him. But when con artist Varun Sanghvi (Italian-Indian model turned actor Dino Morea) steals the code for the groundbreaking software Ahbay's developed, Ahbay tracks him to Singapore, where Sanghvi's selling the purloined program to a company whose marketing head is, surprise, Alisha — now single mom to Tania (Yadav). Through a mix-up, Ahbay becomes the nanny — the latest in a line whom Tania's terrorized. But after a rocky start, Tania sees that Ahbay loves her mom, and the kid's plans eventually lead to an adorable musical number (one of three in the film proper) that clues Alisha in to Ahbay's identity.
Bollywood romantic comedies, to their credit, construct romantic obstacles that feel more organic than the almost defiantly contrived ones often found stateside. As in I Love Lucy, they make the preposterous palatable. Nothing, however, can do that for Uday Chopra, who wears only about two expressions and who, in his way-too-many close-ups, looks uncannily like the late-period Michael Jackson — which somehow adds to his inadvertent-stalker creepiness. The painfully charmless Chopra is unconvincing as either a computer geek or even a geek at all. He seems exactly like what he is — a rich kid playing with daddy's toys.(In Hindi and English, with English subtitles) 130 minutes. Unrated, but the likely equivalent of G or maybe PG.