Garam Masala is a one-trick pony. The film has a single plot point and it gets tiring pretty soon. The energy of two of its main cast members eventually sees it through. But it’s still tough to believe that the man behind it, Priyadarshan, is the same director who made the complexly funny Hera Pheri and Hulchul, let alone classics like Chitram and Kilukkam.
Akshay Kumar plays a Casanova who, with a fiancé at home, hooks up with three other air hostesses. Their busy flight schedules allow him to juggle his time with them. His friend/colleague John Abraham helps him keep up his playboy ways but he wants a piece of the action too and never stops trying.
Stretch the first 15 minutes of Kamal’s Panchathanthiram to an entire movie and you get Garam Masala. The ladies even have the same profession in both movies! Akshay evading four women is all the entire film is about. It’s only the locations that change. So the film is simply a series of sequences where Akshay manages to handle the women at the airport, at home, at a cafeteria and so on. I sat through the entire first half waiting for the story to take come kind of a turn before resigning myself to the fact that that was it.
Once that kind of resignation sets in, the movie has a chance to seem funnier. Understandably, the two elements that make up all the comedy in the film are a woman showing up unexpectedly and Akshay trying to handle it. Some of them no doubt involve some nice choreography and timing and tickle our funny bones. The little things that are done in the house to keep up the charade are funny and Paresh Rawal's exasperation at the completely different tastes of the women leads to some good laughs.
But many sequences, especially any that take place in Akshay's multi-room house, are staged in a completely ridiculous way. We are frequently expected to believe that Akshay and one of the women can carry on a loud conversation in the living room with the woman inside an adjoining room completely oblivious of this until the moment she walks out of the room – which ofcourse is the exact same moment the other woman decides to return to her room. The women would have to be both stupid and stone deaf for these to work.
Akshay’s developed into an actor with a good knack of comedy. He has an expressive face, wacky body language and good comic timing and puts them to good use as he keeps up his game. Paresh Rawal goes the deadpan route, eliciting laughs with his growling face and serious intonation. John Abraham still has a little way to go before can do comedy with the kind of abandon Akshay has developed. The women are little more than props for the actors to play off of and it shows in the selection of actresses. The song sequences seem more like excuses for showing women parading around in bikinis. Et tu Priyadarshan?!
Not much spice in this masala.