The Legend of Michael Mishra movie review: Arshad Warsi's film is a shambolic mess

Miss Alone

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Cast: Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Kayoze Irani, Aditi Rao Hydari
Director: Manish Jha
Rating: (0.5/5)

There are movies whose existence baffles you. The Legend of Michael Mishra is a worthy entry in this infamous league. Why is the word legend used so loosely? Why is Patna, where the movie is set, looking a lot like Mumbai? Why is Kala Paani more like a 1980s boot camp on a remote island than a prison? Why is Kayoze Irani dressed up in drag? Why is the young Michael Mishra ogling at a girl who looks half his age? Why should we care for Michael?

The plot revolves around Michael Mishra (Arshad Warsi) - a master tailor, a feared kidnapper, a devoted lover, a wanted criminal, a champion swimmer, a saint and a record holder in eating 50 green chillies in five minutes. No, we aren't making up the latter achievement. He has gone weak at the knees for Varsha, whom he first spotted as a child dancing under a tree. Unsurprisingly she grows up to be a dancer played by Aditi Rao Hydari, who ambles about in tight embroidered waistcoats, does a few bharatanatyam moves and croons songs like "The spelling of cow is C-O-W". No, we aren't making up that either. This is indeed the humour you are (mis)treated to. Varsha wants Michael to make an honest man of himself and so the eponymous hero embarks on a journey of redemption which takes him to court where he professes his crimes and is sentenced to 500 years in prison. That's how much time we felt we wasted watching the film.

The so-called plot twist is easily foreseen, leaving viewers pondering why Manish Jha drags the proceedings to the point of inertia. The songs here aren't just superfluous they are ridiculously banal, most of which Aditi Rao Hydari has the misfortune to perform to. Boman Irani's job is to narrate Mishra's legend to a bunch of tourists. Warsi's desperate attempts at being a larger-than-life hero with a sense of humour are in vain for the script is insipid and utterly devoid of fun. Kayoze Irani is the sidekick who instead of providing comic relief is a source of constant annoyance with his OTT antics.

The longer The Legend of Michael Mishra proceeds more the laughs come at unwarranted moments. Jha's exaggerated set-up turns into a shambolic mess with poor production values and a listless romance. So when a character says, "Zindagi mein kahin chook gaye hain hum" (We've made a mistake in our life), we are ready to accept this as the filmmaker's apology. But forgiveness is a different matter altogether.