THT Talkies : No Smoking lies heavy on head
Cast: John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Paresh Rawal
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Playing at theatres near you
If you are to watch No Smoking, be ready to wrack your brain. Rational progression is seemingly thrown out of the window by the recurring flit between dream and reality and the absurd progressions. The whole movie often also seems more like a wild imagination of a smoker.
Handsome hunk K (John Abraham) can’t separate himself from a cigarette. No one can tell him what to do, he says. But his stunning wife Anjali (Ayesha Takia) is exasperated by his habit, even to the point of asking him for a divorce. As she finally leaves, K is ready to quit the habit to bring her back. He is recommended to a Bengali Baba (Paresh Rawal) who runs a rehabilitation centre with two of his close friends. Baba, they say, is very sure to mend his habit. But they don’t tell him at what cost.
Baba lives in the bowels of Mumbai’s slums. He traps the presumptuous K to sign a bond in order to free K of his negative urgings. According to the contract, smoking one cigarette will make K deaf. Another cigarette, his brother will be kept in a chamber and be exposed to the total amount of smoke K has smoked in his life. Another one, and two of his fingers will be chopped off. Then, smoking one more, he
will lose his wife, and then one more and he loses his own life.
However, K is not the one to live with such dictates. He vehemently challenges them, and opens himself up to the disasters heading his way. The rest of the movie shows what he has to face by defying the contract agreements.
No Smoking is interesting in the sense that it has turned away from the usual Bollywood genre. It has experimented on many fronts. Female dancers in the movie have lip synched to male vocals. Some progressions are often absurd. For example, when K plunges to catch a cigarette pack in the snow while being chased by Russian soldiers bent on stopping him, K instead plunges into water and ends up in his bathtub in his previous apartment. Again, when K crawls beneath the mob to lay his angry hands on the Baba, he ends up instead in Baba’s cell. The flick scores well in its cinematography. Abraham and Rawal have also performed well. Takia looks hot as Abrhaham’s office secretary, her second role in the movie. The speech bubbles give a comic touch and relief from the drudgery of the movie.
Due to the lack of adequate clues, an average cinemagoer will find it difficult to grasp the film. So if you prefer the regular Bollywood masala, you will not find it here. It’s heavy on head.