Yash Raj Films' youthful, lower-budget off-shoot Y-Films has thus far released three films: the excruciating Luv Ka The End, the fantastically charming Mujhse Fraaaandship Karoge, and now Mere Dad Ki Maruti, starring Saqib Saleem from MFK and Ram Kapoor as his angry father.
The storyline to this one is simple: Sameer's (Saqib Saleem) sister Tanvi (played by Benazir Shaikh) and her husband-to-be are getting a car from papa dearest as a wedding gift. The car? A red Maruti. Sameer, eager to impress a girl by the name of Jasleen (Rhea Chakraborty), takes the car for a spin and loses it. Cue a movie-long hunt for a replacement car by Saleem, Jasleen and Saleem's friend Gattu (Prabal Panjabi, who viewers will recognize from MFK, where he was also in the best friend role).
I talked about the unrelenting commercialism and shallowness of Luv Ka The End in the review I wrote for it, and am sad to note that instead of cashing in on MFK's youthful charm, this Y-Film decides to go out of its way to glorify material possession. I honestly wouldn't mind the whole film being a blatant commercial for a car (I didn't mention the model of the Maruti as to not participate in this marketing campaign, though I suppose just typing Maruti this many times will have progressed their evil scheme). but could they have made it a bit funnier?
The problem this time lies chiefly with the absolutely appalling portrayal of women in this film. Jasleen, who insists on her name being pronounced Jazzlin, is constantly the butt of jokes for being, well, dumb. There is almost nothing more to her character than the fact she is dumb, yet hot, making her dumbness forgivable and more like a lovable quirk by the end of the film. There is a point in the film where she accuses Sameer of thinking of her as being shallow, but at no point does the film really give us a more fleshed out picture of her. She comes off as your standard hottest girl in the school, who is as dumb as a box of rocks, and only cares for cute clothes and flash cars. It's so mind-bogglingly unfunny.
Then there's Tanvi, Sameer's sister, who doesn't get much of a characterization other than yelling at him, but strangely enough, does get a song number. She performs a song at her sangeet, for her fiancee. She miscalculates and performs a very raunchy song about their upcoming wedding night, in front of their families, leading to much embarrassment in the audience. The entire scene is beyond weird: it's half-way between a serious, raunchy song-and-dance number, and embarrassment comedy, and it's not strictly speaking funny or sexy. It's just cringe-inducing, and again, the only person besides Tanvi dumb enough not to realize how embarrassing this is, is actually the family's mother. Ha. Ha. Ha.
I won't even get into the running joke where people mistakenly believe Gattu is poor, or from a poor family. That is the entire joke - that people think he's poor. Ha?
I won't deny that there are a couple of genuinely good laughs tucked into this messy flick: the finale absolutely made me laugh a ton, and there are a couple of side characters who made me chortle a few times as well. I absolutely love Saqib Saleem, and even if his character was an asshole here, I did enjoy his performance, and it didn't diminish my love for him any. Ram Kapoor was also very good. I won't judge the actresses harshly - like I said earlier, they had very little to work with.
The songs are grating - the English, the rap, the verses mostly just praising the heroine's hotness don't exactly make for an edifying mix. Saleem is a very good dancer, though, and I think if anything this film proves that the man should move onto bigger and better things. Y-Films products can be excellent, and have personality beyond the glossy Hinglish exterior - we saw that with MFK. So what happened here? I'd put my money on it just being laziness. These are lazy jokes with poorly written characters. It ranks slightly above LKTE in my books, but not high enough to actually be a recommendation. Just go rewatch MFK, in all honesty - I've rewatched it recently and it's enjoyable for a second viewing.