Paying Guests (2009) *HQ*

Never judge a book by its cover. But we do! We tend to get carried away by eye-catching promos that a film-maker unleashes prior to a film’s release.We act in haste, rush to a nearby cineplex and soon realise that the best parts were actually highlighted in the promos itself.That’s exactly what you feel when you watch PAYING GUESTS, helmed by first-timer Paritosh Painter.

Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Javed Jaffrey, Neha Dhupia, Celina Jaitley

Comedy is serious business and Paritosh Painter ought to know this by now, since he has successfully directed a number of plays in the past.Sadly, PAYING GUESTS stands on a waferthin plot, although Paritosh tries hard to add meat to the skeletal body.The film doesn’t have the power to hold your attention for the next 2 hours, although it does [intermittently] make you smile or break into a guffaw.

Shreyas Talpade , Ashish Choudhary and Javed Jaffrey are three friends in Pattaya (Thailand) who incidentally lose their jobs on the same day.Even before the three begin to pull themselves out of the uninvited misery, arrives Vatsal Seth, an uninvited cousin from India to find a job in Thailand.To drown their sorrow the friends have a drink too much and are kicked out of their house as well by the grumpy landlord ( Asrani ).Homeless and jobless, they eventually see the hope of getting a new accommodation with a landlord ( Johnny Lever ) who wants only married couples as paying guests.You don’t need to be a Kurosawa to figure out what happens next. Two of the four friends decide to dress up as women.

While men dressed up as women frustrate you with their over-the-top antics, the real women ( Neha Dhupia, Celina Jaitley, Sayali Bhagat and Riya Sen ) have roles shorter than their clothes.The script seems like a series of slapstick jokes strung together to camouflage the holes in the plot.The humour, which borders on mockery rather than wit, is too deliberate and forced at places.And the climax (in a theatre play) seems shamelessly inspired from the climax of Kundan Shah’s gem of a movie ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’…

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