Bollywood has dabbled with ghosts, spirits and paranormal movies aplenty. Besides, the supernatural and horror genre is fast gaining popularity with dream merchants, after a hiatus. Now, storytellers in Mumbai are geared up to take the genre to an altogether new level, introducing the spectators to zombies. GO GOA GONE, directed by Raj and DK, is India’s first ‘zom-com’.
Romance, action and comedy continue to be the most privileged genres in Bollywood, but the past few years have witnessed a number of experiments catching the audience eye. Fear and hilarity are opposite sides of the coin. To amalgamate them in a movie script requires a truly fertile mind because you don’t anticipate humor and horror to go hand-in-hand. The expectations from GO GOA GONE are, evidently, colossal, in view of the fact that something like this hasn’t been attempted on the Hindi screen earlier, although cineastes have witnessed zombies in Hollywood films. A zom-com can pave the way for movies of similar genre in times to come, if it finds an audience…
GO GOA GONE is looked forward to for varied reasons: The zom-com aspect, zany look of the film, Saif’s bleached getup [he plays a zombie killer in the movie], wicked one-liners and enticing music… But the challenge lies in educating the spectator about zombies, since there’s no zombie folklore to enlighten them thus far. Let’s face it, making a zom-com means treading into untried, alien territory. It’s always a peril if you think out of the box, when you offer something innovative to the spectator. At the same time, a subject like this offers ample opportunity to its maker to break rules.
But Raj and DK pull it off with flourish! A film like GO GOA GONE pushes the envelope and that, without beating around the bush, needs to be lauded!
Hardik [Kunal Khemu] and Luv [Vir Das] tag along to Goa with their best buddy, Bunny [Anand Tiwari], on his office trip. Luv comes across Luna [Puja Gupta], who invites him to an exclusive rave party on a remote island. The party is the brainchild of Russian mafioso Boris [Saif Ali Khan] to launch the ultimate party drug. But the party goes horribly wrong… All of a sudden, they are accosted by zombies!
GO GOA GONE comes across more as an adventure flick than a conventional horror film. Sure, it has its share of violence and gore, besides some cuss words, rave party et al, but the fun quotient is smartly integrated in the screenplay and what comes across is crazy, madcap amusement. The humor is smart and the factors that have resulted in an ‘A’ certificate have been done aesthetically and don’t come across as distasteful or offensive. Frankly, Raj and DK make a genuine effort to give the viewers something they haven’t watched before. The aim is to make you giggle and also shriek the next moment.
Perhaps, Raj and DK are enthused by Hollywood movies and there’s no denying that GO GOA GONE is a film with Hollywood sensibilities. But the best part is that the film never gets dark or depressing. The wit and humor, generously interwoven in the narrative, keeps you smiling all through, despite the blood and gore. The only time the film loses its balance is towards the middle of the second hour, albeit slightly. Also, Anand Tiwari’s back story of how he escaped from the clutches of the zombies could’ve been more persuasive, but the final moments bring the narrative back on track.
The soundtrack [Sachin-Jigar] is essential to the script and has its place in the proceedings. The film comprises of energetic tracks with some amusing, quirky lyrics. ‘Khoon Choos Le’ and ‘Babaji Ki Booty’ match the theme of the film wonderfully. The background score is electrifying. The music piece at the rave party in particular is trippy. Dialogue, much like the content of the film, are aimed at the youngistaan and if one may say so, make you chuckle on varied occasions. Cinematography is perfect.
Saif balances the suave and uncouth persona with effortlessness. Even if the narrative tends to dip at times, Saif makes sure he breathes life into the proceedings. Kunal Khemu, Vir Das and Anand Tiwari are a riot. The youngsters pull off their acts and indulge in dramatics without going overboard. The camaraderie is great! Kunal is a revelation. He sheds all inhibitions and delivers a punch-packed performance. Vir Das is a complete natural. He essays his part with super conviction. Anand Tiwari is in terrific form. This film should prove a big turnaround in his career. Puja gets a meaty part to make her presence felt and she does very well.
On the whole, GO GOA GONE is experimental since something like this has never been attempted earlier. But it’s fun, witty, amusing and yes, thoroughly entertaining. The youngistaan is sure to love this mad, mad, mad ride!