Tees Maar Khan

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As far as parodies go, it’s a good one. But does the director have any original ideas?
CAST Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Akshaye Khanna, Raghu Ram | DIRECTOR Farah Khan

Farah Khan is a director with attitude. Her view is that movies are entertainment, period. Pretensions to higher meaning or art or aesthetics make no sense at all. This is fair enough as a perspective, but Khan takes it one step further and mocks large chunks of cinema history—directors, actors and genres she thinks should be sent straight to the recycle bin.

Her first target: Hindi movies of the 70s and 80s that opened with a sequence on the childhood of the protagonist. Tees Maar Khan begins even earlier, when the hero is in the womb. Apparently, when Tees Maar Khan was a naïve young foetus, his mother was addicted to corny scenes in Hindi movies, and he absorbed some of that obsession. Once born, presumably by cinema section, he developed criminal tendencies and turned into an ace felon, sought by the Indian police.

The action begins when Tees Maar Khan (Akshay Kumar) is extradited from France. He escapes, then plans a great train robbery by setting up a movie set at a village along railway tracks. The entire production is a ruse for the big heist, and so he gets hold of the biggest star in Hindi movies as the hero (Akshay Khanna), his own cinema crazy girlfriend as the leading lady (Katrina Kaif) and an entire village of extras to back them.

The movie is a patriotic take on poor villagers who revolt against British oppression, but the director has it in for history and poverty. The success of this combination at the Oscars has evidently irked her (Lagaan, Slumdog Millionaire) and her satire is venomous. The hero jives to Jai Ho at the drop of a hat and an albino plays an Englishman.

Parody of the medium is legitimate, but when it substitutes for content, you have to ask—is the mind of the maker no more than a blank slate?