There isn't exactly anything wrong with being inspired by a trend setter film; but when the inspiration doesn't really appear to be that inspired, we have a problem. April Fool is almost a literal copy of Bheja Fry, that 2007 Bollywood film that gave the multiplexes a boost. However, since there is the Le dÃ®ner de cons (French, 1997) for Bheja Fry to pay respects to, we are not really sure as to where the Malayalam film drew its motivation from.
We will stick to Bheja Fry, the more immediate version of the Francis Veber film and believe that it must have a cast a spell on the makers of April Fool. For one, it was Indianised already, and two, it had proved its potentials at the box office. There was absolutely no way then, that a Malayalam adaptation would have a tough run.
If only things go as planned in life! The biggest hurdle that April Fool has in its way is that Bheja Fry is not as unseen in Kerala as it would like to believe. I am not just talking about the routine Bollywood aficionados, but this is a film that almost every one who likes good cinema must have seen. Small stars, big film - was what had made it even more special.
And to give Sagar Ballary all credit, he made a thoroughly entertaining movie that had us in splits. Even those of us who had seen the French Dinner Game. This is because being inspired is not all about merely doing what someone else has done, saying what someone else has said. A good film that has its roots somewhere else, tells a story that has already been told, but forever ventures into fresh territory and comes up with new exposes of its own. Precisely the quality that makes Bheja Fry a delight and April Fool a disaster.
The story is all about a rich man's club that has the members inviting an idiot every weekend, to be generally made fun of. Rakesh Menon (Siddiq), an elite member of the club, finds the perfect prey in Krishnanunni (Jagadeesh) who aspires to become a singer some day. Rakesh isn't having a good day when Krishnanunni arrives, what with his wife Seema (Nayana) having left him, and his back suffering a severe sprain that has almost left him immobile.
It's almost impossible not to compare the characters of the film with the original. Jagadeesh's Krishnanunni for instance isn't a patch on Vinay Pathak's Bharat Bhushan, that splendidly unique character that makes Bheja Fry a must watch. And thus goes on the comparison at the end of which, merely two characters stand up to their original. Jagathy Sreekumar is a riot as Sathyakaman, and almost makes us forget that perfect performance from Ranvir Shorey as the haughty Asif. So is Biju Menon, who with his impeccable charm brings a dignity to the affairs around.
April Fool has a couple of those funny one-liners, but is never really able to keep the spirit perked up. Sometimes the script looks like a sprawling mess, with all those exercises in frustration never really building up. Yeah, the idea is pretty good, and the execution is pretty lame.
To cut a long story short, April Fool is neither half as hilarious as Bheja Fry; nor is it half as riotous. Go grab the Hindi DVD today of the brain fry if you have missed it, or better still go for that dinner with Francis Veber and crew.