Knowing Farah and her love and obsession for masala films of yore, it's foolhardy to expect thought provoking cinema from her. Tees Maar Khan belongs to the hardcore masala variety, which was savored with glee by the hoi polloi then and which continues to be hugely popular at single screens to this day. But unlike her past endeavours, Farah looks at the West for inspiration this time around.
Tees Maar Khan is the desi adaptation of Peter Sellers' 1966 Italian film After The Fox [CACCIA ALLA VOLPE], which now enjoys a cult following, but it bears the Farah Khan stamp in every frame. Like Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om, Tees Maar Khan is also a formula-ridden outing with tadka-maar-ke entertainment.
Creating heist films is tricky and tough. The director should ensure that action, thrills and wit are mixed and merged in right doses and Tees Maar Khan amalgamates it all with charming results, mainly in the first half. In fact, Farah's distinctive style transforms the simple premise into a truly vitalizing thriller that can be replicated, but rarely matched. She chooses to once again make a film she is most comfortable making and sticks to the staple formula of action, comedy and full-on masala. What really stands out is the relative effortlessness with which she handles the material.
On the flipside, the film slips towards the second hour. You feel that way primarily because the first hour is thoroughly entertaining with a good number of laugh-inducing sequences and three solid songs and though the second half is engaging at times, it doesn't measure up to the first half in terms of the entertainment quotient.
Final word? Tees Maar Khan is a film that will see a big divide in opinion: The masses may admire it, while the hard-nosed aficionados and connoisseurs of cinema will loathe it. For me, Tees Maar Khan worked in parts only.
Only once in a blue moon is such a great criminal born who is fearless as well as shameless! Tees Maar Khan [Akshay Kumar] steals cons and cheats all with such alarming audacity that even shame shies away from him. He and his gang comprising of Dollar, Soda and Burger have managed to keep the police, world over, on their toes.
Then one fine day international antique smugglers, the Johri Brothers, assign Tees Maar Khan the biggest con job of his life. He must rob antiques worth Rs. 500 crores from a heavily-guarded moving train. Will Khan and his gang, with some unwitting support from his wannabe-actress girlfriend Anya [Katrina Kaif] and the Oscar-greedy Bollywood superstar [Akshaye Khanna], be able to pull off this heist?
Tees Maar Khan is a crazy ride. Nearly everything in this picture is amusing, riotous and over the top. It's loaded with many laughter-inducing moments, with everyone exhibiting immaculate and faultless comic timing. The slapstick quotient is on the higher side, but there's plenty of verbal comedy as well.
Ashmith Kunder and Shirish Kunder's script wastes no time in establishing the ways and means of the heist. Once you get a hang of the goings-on, once you throw logic out of the window, there's ample pleasure to seek in this humorous entertainer which does not claim to break new ground. I'd like to make a special mention of the film's dialogue [Ashmith and Shirish], which comes across as the perfect garnish to the proceedings.
Of course, Tees Maar Khan is not without its share of slip-ups. The film gets messy in the second half, especially since Farah and her team of writers attempt to pack just about everything in this hour. Also, a couple of scenes don't register well. The sequence involving the 'headless ghost' appears futile. The heist is plain ordinary and doesn't conjure up the magic on screen. The finale in the courtroom and the premiere of the film fall flat as well. Even the comic scenes fail to evoke mirth in the latter half. The tracing-paper-thin plot comes to the fore in this half, frankly.
Talking of its soundtrack, the expectations are humungous again, since Akshay, Farah and Vishal-Shekhar team up to create a mass-friendly soundtrack. 'Sheila Ki Jawani' is highly energetic and stimulating and has already made its excessive presence felt. 'Wallah Re Wallah' is another track that stands out. The presence of Salman Khan in this number will cast a spell on viewers. The title track, repeated throughout the film, is truly wonderful. The choreography of all songs is top notch. Background score [Shirish Kunder] is apt. The review would be incomplete without acknowledging the contribution by cinematographer P.S. Vinod. The titles during the end credits are lovely.
Farah plays it smart by choosing to cast actors who fit their roles perfectly. Akshay Kumar dominates the proceedings, as always. The requirement of the role was, he has to be loud and hammy and it works well here. In this one, he is neither a nerd nor a geek; he portrays a hero and does a swell job. Akshaye Khanna springs a big surprise. Enacting the role of an Oscar-hungry superstar, the film explores the funny side of Akshaye very well. He has a substantial role, which he carries off with conviction.
Katrina looks drop dead gorgeous and scorches the screen in the 'Sheila Ki Jawani' track. In fact, she has never looked so alluring. Raghu and Rajiv are superb. Akshay's three cronies compliment each other wonderfully well. Aarya Babbar is sure to be noticed. Murli Sharma and Aman Verma's try very hard to be funny, but fail. Apara Mehta is first-rate. Sudhir Pandey is fantastic. The villagers are mere props. Sachin Khedekar and Vijay Patkar are okay. Salman Khan makes an appearance in a song [electrifying], while Anil Kapoor appears in a cameo towards the end.
On the whole, every movie buff has humungous expectations from Tees Maar Khan since it's already very high on hype. Firstly, fulfilling colossal expectations is an arduous task and over-hyping makes the task even more complex. Tees Maar Khan is more of a tribute to old-school Hindi cinema, with a fabulous first half and a strictly average second half. The Christmas weekend and vacations across the globe will ensure a record start in its opening weekend. If only its content was powerful enough, it would've truly been a tees maar entertainer!