Movie review: Tere Bin Laden- Dead or Alive

Director: Abhishek Sharma

Cast: Manish Paul, Ali Zafar, Pradhuman Singh, Piyush Mishra, Sikander

It’s hard to make a sequel, especially if the first film was set in Karachi and involved Bin Laden. That’s where Abhishek Sharma and his team of writers hit upon the idea of making the first film a ‘film’ shot by a budding filmmaker Sharma (Manish Paul). The film within a film plotline helps them take the idea forward despite Bin Laden’s death. It also gives them the opportunity to poke fun at film industry and even themselves. Ali Zafar, star of the original Tere Bin Laden, plays an obnoxious film star who takes all the credit of its success, leaving the director and Paddi Singh’s (Pradhuman Singh) characters high and dry. Zafar also believes he’s a star because of his six-packs and there’s a whole item song dedicated to it.

The writing is campy – think Monty Python. For instance, Piyush Mishra plays a Pak based terrorist who holds Olympics for jihadists. So you have grenade throwing competition, dodging the landmine competition – and the grand prize is a super-efficient suicide bomber vest. Sadly, the same tone isn’t maintained throughout. The plot revolves around the American president wanting proof of Osama Bin Laden’s death. An over-eager CIA operative (played by Sikander Kher) dreams up a plan of making use of Paddi Singh’s remarkable likeness to the dreaded terrorist and recreating Osama’s death. So while the CIA wants Paddi Singh to fake Osama’s death, the jihadists want him because they want to portray Osama as being alive. He and the whole motley gang gets kidnapped and end up ‘somewhere in somewhere’ and how they escape their predicament forms the crux of the film.

As said earlier, the writing is good but patchy. Some scenes, like shooting Osama’s death scene in a fake Abbottabad haveli set in the middle of desert Bollywood style with fake rain as Osama wants a little romance before death or using prosthetics to turn Sikander’s ‘white’ character into a ‘brown’ guy – a Hollywood producer David Chadhdha, complete with a broad Punjabi accent, are clever indeed. Sikander is a hoot actually in his role, swinging from a WASP with a Manhattan twang to an NRI filmmaker with a yen for melodrama. He has proved he can deliver, given a good role. Pradyuman Singh is a natural too as the naïve actor who suddenly finds himself in one hot spot after another, struggling to retain his sanity. Manish Paul as Sharma gets the gist of a neglected Hindi film director to a T. The actors know they are part of a spoof and portray their characters with a wink and nod towards the fact.

We don’t make broad comedies which border on the absurd and it’s good of Abhishek Sharma to attempt a political satire that does tickle the ivories. A little more attention to editing and tauter screenplay would have made it a better film for sure…

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