‘You don’t like banana, Mr Makwana?’
Did that line make you laugh? Or even smile?
That should more or less be the beginning and end of any review on Hello Charlie which raises more questions than laughs.
We’ll stick to only one: what on earth made Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment say ‘Yes’ to this ‘comic adventure’ when it’s neither entertaining nor exciting?
There is a huge difference between making a film for children and being childishly outdated. Writer-director Pankaj Saraswat’s debut film that revolves around runaway tycoon Makwana (Jackie Shroff) dressed as Toto the gorilla and Charlie (Aadar Jain), the good-hearted, good-for-nothing who muffs up every job, could have been a jolly good truck ride for the family. The premise of the tycoon in a gorilla suit escaping to Diu to go to Dubai was fraught with fun especially when a real gorilla also got into the fray.
But with completely ancient writing that goes into a circus with zero animals and an item girl (Shlokka Pandit), an obviously sleazy owner and Charlie at the wheel without a permit, without diesel and without a clue how to change even a tyre, it’s a complete puncture. You don’t have to wait to see whether Makwana escapes or Charlie becomes the hero of the day. It’s as obvious as the screen before you.
Jackie Shroff, charming at any age, has his moments with Mona (Elnaaz Norouzi), his moll, who struts more like his boss. But with his acting restricted to growling and getting exasperated while he playacts at being inside the gorilla suit, there isn’t much he can do.
Unfortunately for Aadar Jain, even his voice reminds you of cousin Ranbir Kapoor. Like Rajeev Kapoor who paid the price for his strong resemblance to uncle Shammi Kapoor, Aadar too comes off poorly and needs to work on making a different identity for himself.
As for the rest of the film, monkey tricks work only if they’re cute and comic.