When a film begins with shots of a man with a gun urinating on a hillside even as monkeys nonchalantly take in the scene, you know you?re in for an unusual ride.
Phas Gaye Re Obama is one of those small films that have zero face value but provide crackling entertainment if you?re brave enough to venture in. Written and directed by Subhash Kapoor, Phas Gaye Re Obama is about an NRI named Om played by Rajat Kapoor, who returns to India after seven years to sell his ancestral home in Uttar Pradesh because his business is wiped out by the recession and he doesn?t even have enough money to pay his children?s school fees.
Unfortunately Om becomes the target of local kidnappers who don?t realize that in fact their hostage is broke. This becomes the basis for a darkly absurd comedy that had me laughing out loud in places.
Subhash?s strength is his characters. So Bhaisaab, played wonderfully by Sanjay Mishra, is the leader of a threadbare criminal gang so hit by recession that they cannot make ransom calls from their cell phone because outgoing is shut. Bhaisaab aspires to be a politician.
He says mournfully ? career banana hai, gentry mein shamil hona hai ? but his golden goose ? Om ? turns out to be made of lead. The superb Manu Rishi plays Anni, a gangster who dreams of going to America and so has watched every Rocky and Rambo sequel ever made.
These bumbling criminals are good men at heart. So they feed Om Lacchu Halwai ki doodh jalebi and at one point, Om even exclaims: Yahan ki underworld America ke corporate world se zyada imandar hai.
Unfortunately, Subhash can?t sustain the energy in the second half. The humor goes from effortless to strained, especially when Neha Dhupia makes an entry as Munni the ruthless criminal, who runs an all women gang and throws Anni to her lusty henchwomen.
The chase and power plays between the various gangs also starts to feel stretched. But despite these hiccups, Phas Gaye Re Obama has genuine laughs and surprising insight.
I strongly recommend that you check it out.