September 8, 2017 / 9:27 AM / 16 days ago

Movie Review: Poster Boys

A still from "Poster Boys".

The 2014 Marathi film “Poshter Boyz” was a mostly loud, but bearable comedy about three men who find themselves on a government poster advertising voluntary vasectomies. The ad causes an upheaval in their lives, living as they do in a village that apparently hasn’t moved on from the last century.

In the Hindi remake, they get the spelling right (Poster Boys), but everything else wrong. Directed by actor Shreyas Talpade, who also plays one of the three protagonists, the film manages to squeeze out whatever little humour the original had and replace it with asinine, loud gags unlikely to evoke laughter.

Retired soldier Jagaavar Choudhary (Sunny Deol), timid school teacher Vinay Sharma (Bobby Deol) and recovery agent Arjun Singh (Talpade) are ostracized and laughed at when they appear in a birth control ad for the government health department. Villagers criticize them for having “sacrificed their manhood”, there are snide jokes cracked on how they’ve lost all “power”, and no one wants to associate with them. The problem is, those pictures were used without their consent or knowledge.

Jagaavar’s sister faces a broken engagement, Vinay’s wife wants to divorce him because she thinks he can no longer give her the son she wants, and Arjun’s girlfriend’s parents refuse his hand in marriage. Leave aside the fact that voluntary vasectomies are an absolutely acceptable way of birth control and sorely needed in a country that is already overpopulated. Even then, the premise of the film is funny for exactly five minutes. After that, it is unintelligible.

As the men go from one government department to the other seeking “justice”, they assault and threaten people. When all else fails, they go to the media, which sensationalises their cause and makes sure the government of the day sits up and takes notice. By the time we come to yet another sanctimonious speech from Sunny Deol about the true meaning of masculinity, you will want to bolt for the door even before the credits have rolled.

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