Monday, April 11, 2016

MILEY NAA MILEY HUM: No Charm, No Foul Smells

[thanks, Wikipedia]
Poor Chirag (Chirag Paswan). His feuding, separated parents are competing to arrange his marriage. Will they ever see eye to eye? Will Chirag be able to please them both? These are the burning questions of Miley Naa Miley Hum.

Mom (Poonam Dhillon) imports an attractive young woman, a designer from London. As a designer, she is quite a shopper—until Chirag suggests that since she can't find exactly what she's looking for, she might try designing it herself. This discussion of The Obvious is apparently a revelation to her.

Dad (Kabir Bedi) calls in a favor from an old friend, who calls off his own daughter's impending wedding so she'll be available to become Mrs. Chirag. Dutifully, the daughter plays along, abandoning her future plans to cook and serve at Dad's residence while waiting to be promoted to Bahu No. 1. Her feelings on the subject are totally unexamined. (To quote Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo, "It can't matter to you!")

Why does Dad hate Mom? Because Dad is a humble farmer—Bollywood humble, that is, which means that he lives in a mansion with a pool surrounded by vineyards—and Mom wanted to run a non-agricultural business and spoil their son with Western luxuries. No surprises there. And why does Mom hate Dad? Because TENNIS. That, frankly, was a bit of a surprise.

In order not to show favoritism—or perhaps in order to manage parents who have the emotional maturity of preschoolers—our handsome hero pretends to be in love with a model (Kangana Ranaut). He pays her to be seen in public with him, and then they... oh, you can guess how this plays out.

In 2011, when she made Miley Naa Miley Hum, Kangana Ranaut also gave a standout performance in Tanu Weds Manu, and she has since proven her comic and dramatic chops as the irresistible heroine of Queen. As Anishka, though, she barely registers. Perhaps that's because her pretty but blank costar gives her so little to work with. (He has now retired from films and gone into politics.) As the parents, Poonam Dhillon and Kabir Bedi work joylessly through the plot machinations. If controlling their son's life isn't even any fun, why do they bother?

Product placement provides the only hilarity in this otherwise dreary slog. Anishka attends a party that is the place to see and be seen by producers and important people, hoping to expand her career. At this party she will drink champagne and eat sushi and meet Chirag by adorably puking on his shirt, but that is not the comedic climax of the scene. Check out this actual uncropped screenshot from the film:

Yep, that's right—there are no actors onscreen, just a full shot of the deodorant billboard that adorns the lawn of the expansive bungalow. Imagine the calls from agents to starlets before the event: "Look your best, darling! It's for OCTANE!"

Other advertisers get in the act after [spoiler alert, if you have never seen a film before] Chirag wins a major tennis match and reunites his parents. Here Chirag, trophy in hand, comes to meet his chastised mom and dad. The big finish plays out here—in front of this billboard for mouthwash:

Did director Tanveer Khan get in trouble for failing to capture the brand name in the shot? Just curious. He seems not to have directed anything since.

And that's that. Chirag and Anishka and Mom and Dad will all live happily ever after, with bad breath forever banished! Apparently even the filmmakers knew that Miley Naa Miley Hum was going to stink.

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