May 102013

Go Goa Gone

Film: Go Goa Gone
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Puja Gupta, Anand Tiwari
Director: Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK
Rating: ***1/2

Zombies have taken over pop culture. Vampires and spirits are not popular anymore. Be it TV shows (The Walking Dead) or motion pictures (World War Z), the lifeless creatures are everywhere. Bollywood joins the rank, with a commercial masala potboiler set in Goa using zombies as their central theme.

Hardik (Kunal), Luv (Vir) and Bunny (Anand) are three friends who land up in Goa to get away from the humdrum of their mediocre lives. Little do they know what this trip has in store for them.

After attending a rave party where luminous red pills turn every living person into a zombie, they are stranded on an island full of the walking dead. Things take an interesting turn when they bump into Russian zombie killer Boris (Saif) who ends up being one of the zaniest characters of recent times.

There is ample blood, gore, stabbing, shooting, brains being blown up, arms amputated, to make you squirm if you aren’t familiar with the genre. But all of this is presented in a fun, satirical format that never takes itself too seriously. Even though these characters are in a life-threatening scenario, you will find yourself laughing at their sorry state.

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK do a fantastic job with the visuals by styling every frame with enough colour and cheekiness to take on their audience by the horns, engaging them from the very beginning. The pace is solid and rarely falters, except towards the sketchy climax which is the films biggest flaw.

Zombies are all about their walk. Yes, the tissue exposing face and lifeless eyes are important, but it’s their signature move that makes them stand out from their evil counterparts. Kudos to the directors for going the extra mile and making every single actor in the frame master that walk.

The dialogue is urban, contemporary and very current. The writers definitely have a pulse on what’s hot at the moment and create the right moments between their characters.

Vir, Kunal and Anand are distinctly different from each other, and that is what keeps you interested till the very end. Performances are effervescent and effortless. Kunal Khemu is at home playing the flirtatious Hardik whose ‘Jai Hind’ salute to his God will stay with you even after the film ends. There’s no denying his on-screen charm, but what impresses is his perfect timing and jugalbandi with his co-star Vir Das who is a professional stand-up artist.

Puja Gupta has some witty one-liners and she goes all out to prove there’s more to her than her accentuated figure. Anand Tiwari and Vir Das play their parts like stage actors who know when to drop those punches. It is a stellar ensemble, but the scene stealer is Saif Ali Khan who will have you in splits with his Boris act. Even when the accent and the props wear out, Saif never stops delivering the goods. The soundtrack blends is in sync with the mood of the film. Full marks to the makeup artists for giving the zombies their signature look.

Only if the second half and especially the climax had been better fleshed out, the film would have been exceptional. Right in the middle, you get that feeling in your gut, “how will they wrap up this freak show?”, and it isn’t an easy task giving all that madness some method.

Go Goa Gone is a drug that takes you on that high, but wears off soon enough before you start tripping.

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