Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive review: Manish Paul’s film is desperately low on laughs

In 2010, Abhishek Sharma, making his directorial debut, regaled audiences with a nifty idea. A Pakistani journalist (Ali Zafar) chances upon a man (Pradhuman Singh) who looks a lot like Osama Bin Laden. He hopes to get his ticket to US by making a tape in which he gets the ignorant man to play the terrorist. The US wants this Osama. Six years later, Sharma still hasn’t gotten over Laden. But he isn’t second time lucky for Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive is a classic example of stretching a familiar joke too long. The sequel to satire, which again mocks US, is less clever.
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Poster of Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive
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Sharma, the co-writer and director, starts off in a strange, meta fashion as he revisits the making of the original. There’s Sharma (Manish Paul) who has escaped the life of a halwai to pursue his dream of being a filmmaker. After initial struggle, he makes his first film, Tere Bin Laden, with the financial help of the Shetty Sisters who make a wordless cameo with their pug. Is this art imitating life? Whatever it is, it is so far a bore.
Having hit the jackpot with the first film, Sharma looks to cash in by repeating the same formula but it almost gets derailed after Laden is killed in 2011. Ali Zafar has gotten too big for his boots and is dropped from the project. (We think he got lucky.) Pradhuman Singh isn’t, for he reprises his role as a fool- Osama lookalike who here is a struggling folk singer. Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive takes the comedy of errors route, only this time around it fails to tickle the funny bone.

In Sharma’s cinematic world, Laden is a sought after figure even after death because President Obama can’t get him out of his head. He dispatches an agent, David (Sikander Kher speaking in Southern drawl), and his pretty assistant to get video proof. So David pretends to be a NRI Punjabi producer who wants to work with Paddi, the lookalike, so that the events leading to Osama’s death are captured. Meanwhile Sharma and Paddi think they have landed themselves a Hollywood project. “Somewhere” a bunch of militants (led by Piyush Mishra) believe the Al Qaeda leader is alive. Sugandha Garg and others are somehow dragged into this. The ensemble of fools tries hard but it’s no fun.
Trouble with part two is that Obama is no Bush who was the butt of jokes in the first. All we get here is an actor who pulls off the accent. Kher is made to do what Robert Downey Jr and Tom Cruise did in Tropic Thunder – paint his face and then don a fat suit – but it is just over the top drivel. Meanwhile Paul, who looks like he is walked straight from the sets of his ill-fated debut Mickey Virus, is only memorable for his poor imitation of a classic Mehmood riff on making a film.
One party wants to make a tape to prove Osama is alive, the other to show he is dead. It sounds great only on paper for the execution is sloppy and the writing lacks wit. The quirky gets ridiculous rather than amusing. The film within a film format doesn’t pay humorous dividends. A few bright ideas such as terrorists playing landmine jump, bomb relay and enjoying a retrospective of Osama films draw a chuckle. But that’s as close to a laugh you will get in this comedy.

Posted by on March 2, 2016. Filed under Bollywood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.