Director: Pooja Bhatt
Cast: Tulip Joshi, Muzzamil Ibrahim, Gulshan Grover, Ashutosh Rana, Aushima Sawhney, Anupam Kher
Storyline: A Muslim cop tries to understand why his wife turned a terrorist and diffuse a terrorist plot.
Bottomline: Don’t say the title didn’t warn you
Please don’t step into the cinemas to watch Tulip Joshi just because she’s in the posters of Dhoka. If MTV produced this film, they would’ve called it ‘Bakra’.
This movie is largely about Pooja Bhatt’s experiments with dead wood – an inanimate, inarticulate object called Muzzamil Ibrahim. How do you make a wooden puppet believable?
She tries all the tricks in the book.
1. Underplay: Muzzamil says all the lines like he’s reading them off a teleprompter during a script reading session.
2. Lights On: This is a tactic Pooja employs within 15 minutes of the film knowing underplaying alone will not help. She puts him in an police interrogation room and throws harsh light on him to make him squint and say his lines from a teleprompter.
3. Silhouette: This is a smart one probably offered by the cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley. Shoot his scenes in silhouettes so that nobody knows what on the planet his face is trying to tell us.
4. Distraction: Get a co-star with a squint (Aushima Sawhney) so that it intrigues the audience on who is she talking to. Always make sure she has a new excuse to show her shoulders in every single scene in the film because her stock expression – the stare – does give them a scare.
5. Wood-cutting: This is a technique the editor came up with. The best way to deal with a wooden actor is to cut him off so often and focus on the better actor in the scene – Gulshan Grover, Tulip Joshi, Manish Makhija and the fat guy/girl with the lipstick and long hair to keep the audience guessing about his gender identity.
6. Music Cues: The overdone orchestral background score suggests the mood of the scene lest you can’t decipher it from Muzzamil’s look. This is a serious film even if the lead actor looks like a joke.
But it’s not just bad acting that’s the bane of this film, it is extremely slow-paced with an obvious lack of conflict until the cop finally meets the man who brainwashed his wife into becoming a terrorist at the end of the second act. The crucial revelation earlier (the backstory on why she became a terrorist) is predictable and been done to death many times before, with the only twist in the tale apart from the mandatory rape is that the bad cop Ashutosh Rana also took an MMS clip.
The only thing intriguing about the film is that shot in the poster of Tulip Joshi emerging out of a dip in water. It appears as a split-second wet-dream sequence that Muzzamil has before waking up in fright. Or was it was happiness? Or excitement?