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Kiddie films, aimed at kids between 6 and 60, are slowly making inroads in Bollywood. Hari Puttar - A Comedy Of Terrors is the newest entrant in this family.
Now let's set the record straight. Hari Puttar - A Comedy Of Terrors is not remotely inspired by Hari Potter, but it actually borrows from Home Alone. Unfortunately, directors Rajesh Bajaj and Lucky Kohli make a complete mess of what could've been a great kiddie fare.
Seriously, what were the directors thinking when they okayed this apology of a script? The directors seem completely clueless about how smart today's kids are. And the kind of stuff they have an access to [television, cinema, games]. They've witnessed far better stuff than what's dished out in this misadventure.
Hari Prasad [Zain Khan] or Hari Puttar, as he is fondly called, is a bright 10-year-old who has recently moved from India to U.K. with his parents. His father, Prof. Dhoonda, is assigned to work on a secret project with the Defence Forces at a remote location in U.K. He has access to confidential information that is stored on a chip and safely kept at his house.
Within days of their arrival in London, Hari's aunt [Lilette Dubey] and uncle DK [Jackie Shroff] visit the Dhoonda residence with their own as well DK's boss' children. Suddenly, the house is filled with the effervescence of no less than ten kids.
At this point, everything goes for a spin for Hari Puttar. Not only is he thrown out of his room to accommodate the girls, he is also ragged and ridiculed by all the other kids for being too naÏve. Hari Puttar suddenly feels unwanted, undermined and unappreciated.
The family takes off for a holiday, leaving Hari Puttar and Tuk Tuk [Swini Khara], his cousin, behind, who confront the two goons [Saurabh Shukla, Vijay Raaz] out to rob the chip.
Even if you're inspired by a hugely popular English film, the challenge lies in Indianising it well enough. But Hari Puttar - A Comedy Of Terrors is an amateurish attempt all the way. Here, the goons exchange the choicest of expletives [beeped obviously]. Here, the villain [Mr. Blue Contact Lenses with an Ajit hangover; zero expressions] and his cronies [Saurabh Shukla in a hideous wig and Vijay Raaz in outlandish outfits] are more of buffoons. Here, in a kiddie film, you get to watch a sexy Shamita Shetty gyrating to a promotional track.
The scripting is amateurish and hence, whatever unfolds on screen makes no impact whatsoever. Any redeeming aspect? The penultimate 15 odd minutes when the kids try their best to keep the villains at bay. Also, the animation is quite good.
Zain Khan does a decent job. Swini Khara, seen in Cheeni Kum, gets no scope. Sarika looks disinterested. Also, she looks ill at ease delivering Punjabi lines. Lilette Dubey is miscast. As for Jackie Shroff, the less said the better. It's also sad to see actors like Saurabh Shukla and Vijay Raaz being reduced to such roles. They ham!
On the whole, Hari Puttar - A Comedy Of Terrors is a poor show all the way.