Total Siyappa marks the coming together of someone as artsy as Neeraj Pandey (writer and co-producer here) with E Niwas (an assembly line director who has mostly given flop films in his career). It was first titled Aman Ki Asha but had to opt for this seemingly Punjabi title because of copyright issues. We liked it more when it was titled Aman Ki Asha. Total Siyappa has been labelled as a cross-cultural comedy built on the clash of national identities and ideologies. Does the film deliver on such a rich promise?
Story: Aman (Ali Zafar, of course) is in love with Asha (Yami Gautam, who else?) and is petrified of meeting her family because he fears rejection. So when he finally gets to meet her family he loses his calm and a string of bizarre interrelated incidents occur that change the mood of his day (and night). Asha’s family is made up of madcap members, her father (Anupam Kher) who her mother (Kirron Kher) left long back after an argument, her independent sister (Sara Khan), a Pakistan hating brother (Anuj Pandit) and a retired grandfather who served in the 1971 war for India against the Pakistani army. Total Siyappa then becomes real siyappa with the story going places you’d never have predicted. And sadly, not in the best way.
Total Siyapaa Movie Review
Screenplay and Direction: Neeraj Pandey (director of “A Wednesday” and “Special 26”) adapts the Spanish smash hit Almost Human which is about the Israel-Palestinian rivalry into the subcontinental milieu by basing it in an India-Pakistan setting. The funny Spanish film could have lent itself completely to the Desi setting but alas, all the humour and comedy gets lost in translation (or should we say adaptation). The film totally fails to be funny and is not able to fulfill the promises made in the trailers. Yes, there are a few moments which catch our attention but they are too few and too far in between. It doesn’t help that the screenplay becomes a mess and nobody is sure what exactly is happening on screen.
Total Siyappa would have probably worked better if they had based it in India or in a country which hasn’t been seen in Indian films much; hint – some exotic country in the tropics. Anyway, the technical aspects of Total Siyappa are good-ish. The camerawork is fine, the editing also works (the best thing about the film is its short runtime of 110 minutes), the production design could have done with a little more imagination but the costume design looks realistic. The music of Total Siyappa is actually good but the songs could have sounded better had they decided to give people, not named Ali Zafar, a fair chance. Ali Zafar’s singing lets down Ali Zafar’s compositions.
Acting: Ali Zafar looks good, smiles good, grins good but doesn’t act his way out of this mess. One of the reasons Total Siyappa is a letdown is because Ali Zafar’s acting is a big let down. He seems disinterested and uncomfortable. Maybe that explains his posture in the film. Also, his chemistry with Yami Gautam is barely passable. They could have done with a lot more zing and passion because they are portraying love which surpasses all boundaries! Yami Gautam herself, however, acts well. But it is Kirron Kher who seems the most in form having played the role of a stereotypical punjabi moms a gazillion times before. The supporting cast (Anupam Kher included) all ham and exhibit some cringe-worthy acting.
Conclusion: Total Siyappa promised us a big fat comedy. What it really delivers is a big fat letdown. It is unfunny, mimics a desert barren of humour, and the nature of humour they are trying to show just doesn’t work within the realms of a realistic looking film. At the end of the film even the 110 minutes you spent in the theater seems stretched and long. If your money is dear to you, catch this film on TV instead.
Box Office: Due to the clash of 3 films this Friday, Total Siyappa has taken a below average opening, but the film could grow from that because couples are likely to catch this film. Unfortunately, due to its content, it won’t make much of a headway at the box office.
- The premise of India-Pakistan love in a comic tone
- Yami Gautam and Kirron Kher’s acting
- The songs are hummable
- Ali Zafar’s awful acting
- The acting of the supporting actors are cringe-worthy
- Lack of humour
- Jokes fall flat and the film seems long