Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive is an Actual Funny Movie! (Spoiler-free review)

Finally!  Something HAPPY!  Which is an odd thing to say about a film on the War on Terror including a sociopathic CIA agent, a homicidal and delusional Obama, and several varities of terrorists.  But oh my gosh, it was FUNNY!  Super super funny!  Not as good as Tere Bin Laden, but nothing’s going to be that good.  But it was in the same taboo-breaking nothing sacred territory.

Really, I only had two big problems with this movie.  Well, three.  First: not enough Ali Zafar!  What little we got had so much charm and star charisma, it just made our new “star” Manish Paul look worse by comparison.  On the other hand, Ali did show up long enough to perform this song (which he also composed and sang himself, as he does for all his movies, which just makes me like him more!).

 

Second, not as much biting commentary.  The original managed to take a slam at everything from the Pakistan underground radical radio stations to the dream of America to the collaborations between the Pakistani and American security forces all the way to television news!  This one pretty much limited itself to the terrorist forces and the CIA.  And the Indian film industry.  And PETA.  They were all good jokes, they just didn’t feel quite as broad and intelligent and line-crossing as in the original.

And third, the Subtitles!  Oh my gosh!  I hate it when they try to use an “American” equivalent instead of just translating the freaking word!  For instance: “Jalabis” become “churros”, “Dharmendra” becomes “An Action Hero”, and something I couldn’t even hear gets turned into “Starsky and Hutch.”  What the heck would you say in Hindi that is even close to “Starsky and Hutch”?  Jai and Veeru?

But everything else was awesome.  I was basically laughing for two hours straight.  It was so refreshing!  All this stuff that Americans take way way too seriously is taken and turned on its head and just makes you laugh.  And, especially in an election year, it was really nice to just give up and enjoy the joke.  For instance, they actually tracked down and hired this guy to play Obama.  And yes, he is introduced with a rap remix.  And it is pretty darn good!  Actually, way better than this one.  Check it out on Saavn!

 

And the big revelation, as every reviewer agrees, was Sikander Kehr!  Who knew he could do a straight up over top hilarious performance?  Heck, who knew he could do any kind of a performance?  It’s not like his previous roles really set the world on fire (third lead in Aurangzeb, fourth lead in Players, etc. etc.).  But he was amazing in this!  Just, totally unselfconscious, threw himself into everything and did it well, and ended up stealing the movie not just from bland Manish Paul, but from the excellent comic ensemble cast that was brought back from the original.

Not from Ali Zafar, of course.  He is still the king, even in his little bits.  Remember, wrote and sang this himself:

 

 

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