This was a lovely movie to watch virtually with a friend in the middle of a blizzard. all warm and cozy and happy.
Thanks to all of you who recommended this movie! It’s very sweet and simple and warm and pleasant, and kind of brainless. Exactly right at this time of year when you just want sweet simple warm things.
It’s also a lovely throwback. The kind of small unambitious movie that used to be regular in pre-2000s film (Indian and elsewhere). With the kind of small unambitious message that also used to be regular. All it is saying is, be good to people. That’s it! That’s the whole message “God” wants our hero to learn, have some basic empathy.
The trickiest part with these “hero learns a lesson” movies is that he has to be bad enough to deserve the lesson, but good enough that we care about him as he learns. And this film hits it just right! First, by casting Sid M who is always charming, and second by making his sins more along the lines of “slightly selfish” than “destroying the world”. And by matching his bad things with his redemption, he does more than enough to earn his happy ending.
Not a spoiler that it is a happy ending! This movie could not possibly have a sad ending. It reminded me of a Hallmark Christmas movie, one of those sappy films in which people find perfect love/family/happiness by the end. And it also reminded me of a kids movie, the flat bright lighting and bright colors and (most of all) the ever so slightly exaggerated acting style by everyone. It’s screaming to the audience from the first moment “don’t worry, this will be happy”.
Beyond this very happy mood, not a terrible lot is memorable in this film. Songs are fine, performances are fine, dialogue is fine, plot is fine. Eh. A nice timepass with warm feelings and truly nothing wrong with it. Nothing super super great, but nothing wrong either!
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Whole plot in one paragraph:
Sid M is a bankrupt property developer married to a police woman with a cute daughter. He gets into a car accident and wakes up in the afterlife being challenged to prove he deserves to live by Ajay Devgan. He fails by showing how he has a short temper, was jealous of his wife’s work success, doesn’t appreciate his mother, ignores his daughter, cheats clients at work, ignored beggars at the temple in favor of buying expensive donations, and finally lied when he was a child and blamed his sister for a house fire that was his fault. But then he seemingly “wins” by telling his mother he appreciates her, telling his sister the truth, and turning down a chance to cheat on his wife with Nora Fatahi. But at the last moment he fails when it is revealed he kept Nora Fatahi’s phone number. He is sent to “hell”, which is life and learning that the car his car hit was holding his wife and daughter and they are both dying. Sid M tries to kill himself in order to donate his organs to try to save his wife and daughter, then wakes up again to learn he survived and while the doctor’s were saving him, a “stranger” showed up with a body that could donate to his wife and daughter and save their lives. In the happy epilogue, we see Sid being a supportive husband and present father, adopting the beggar boy who was orphaned when he failed to feed his grandmother at the temple, fixing the family house to make up for burning it down, and generally being good.
It’s really not hard to have a good message in this kind of film! And yet, too often the filmmaker fails. I love the bit when there is a message from Hanuman that he wants to come break Sid M’s skull himself for trying to honor him with empty gestures instead of feeding humans. Nothing about how he should have studied the sacred texts more or anything like that, just feed humans.
The twist of him being jealous of his wife’s success was great too! She’s a police officer, not a very rich making kind of job, but she is excellent at it and is getting promoted and he can’t stand it. Especially since he applied to be a police officer as well. The lesson is to be supportive and happy with her success, and appreciate that she is good at work. Nothing about her as a mother, or a sexual being, or anything else traditionally “good wife” like. And nothing about him protecting her or being faithful or anything in the normal “good husband” realm.
Oh, and the “love your mother” message is great too. Again, nothing super sappy or over the top, nothing about her staying up all night when he had fever, or carrying him for 9 months, or any of that. Just every day mother things, like eating the yucky bits of the mango he doesn’t like, studying so she could understand enough to help him with homework, letting him sleep with her after he watches a scary movie, and so on. She isn’t a beautiful perfect mother either, she’s a little naggy and a little old-fashioned and a little silly. But she’s still his mother and deserves basic appreciation.
What also works well is the tests on tests on tests. Just as I am thinking “huh, feels like he got out of this pretty easily”, Ajay comes up with one more reason he’s not free. And the final lesson being that the people he never thought about, the people in the car he hit, are the ones he loves the most. Everyone everywhere could be your family. Or, your family is everyone everywhere. Either way. His test is to wake up and fully understand that his actions ripple out everywhere and can come back on him. Earning merits, as God Ajay puts it.
And finally, it nails the landing! I don’t want to see Sid M, like, give up everything and become a charity worker. But he is a happy and supportive house husband, he adopts the street kid he unintentionally orphaned, and he undoes at least one major business mistake. Oh, and fixes up the family home after the fire he set, finally.
So, yes, a nice pleasant movie in the vain of a lessor film of the earlier generations of Indian film, or the lovely seasonal romances we get in America. And Sid M. is cute.