Sudha Mishra (Maasiji) who is a 67 years old, divorced and grumpy woman with enormous energy and the ability to live in the present has just come back to her home in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. She is a mother to a confused and angry young man who has given up a career in television direction and her divorced husband is a playboy in L.A .
While she was away, Sumit, her niece’s fiance was given the responsibility to take care of the house and was clearly instructed to feed the fish & water the plants. His marriage was hinging on this.At the end of the holiday when Sudha reaches her quaint house and starts it’s inspection with detective accuracy. Had the fish been fed? Had her plants been watered? She reaches the alcove with her beloved crystal fish bowl and collection of money plants. Everything seems to be in order but is it? As she opens her bedroom door she is taken aback by a woman rushing past her.
Sumit had thrown the helluva party for all his friends at Sudha’s house and broken all the rules as instructed by her and also handed over the house to an eloping couple, who then handed it over to a miscreant property broker. The house is then taken over by a Haryanvi Jaat who is a cross dressing Kathak Dancer, followed by a tribal family from Mizoram.
What ensues is a recap of the events that took place beginning from when Sudha left her house in Sumit’s hands. The mystery unravels almost as a game of Chinese Whisper.
Though visualized as a situational comedy that revolves around each of the temporary tenants, the film seldom draws audience laughter, while the rest of the time the gags are relatively mundane and predictable. Right through the first half of the film, the viewer is left with a nagging feeling that constantly questions ‘when will the actual fun start?’
Thankfully, while the first half of the film is dedicated in establishing each of the characters and their respective roles, the second half takes the story forward. Beginning from the last frame of the film, the story goes into flashback mode relating to what exactly happened. Based on a day-wise flashback sequence, the plot unravels each of the players that were responsible in muddling up the relatively serene life of Maasiji.
Dimple Kapadia, who appears at the start and every time one segment of the film’s plot ends, re-telling her horrifying tale, does her role with aplomb. Though the film has been promoted to feature the veteran actress as the lead, it is mainly the ensemble cast that act as the main characters. Though the performances of each of the actors are commendable, a lot could have been done in terms of adding a bit of vigour to the film’s script.
On the whole, WHAT THE FISH is just another one of the mass-produced comedy dramas that work with the audience when they are in a group. Unfortunately, when watching the film, one can’t help but wonder what the title, WHAT THE FISH, really means and how does the film derive such a title for a seemingly comic storyline.