Loosely based on the Spanish rom-com ‘Seres Queridos’ (‘Only Human’) in which a Palestinian boy meets his Jewish girlfriend’s family, Total Siyapaa explores the India-Pakistan cultural divide through the relationship of Aman (Ali Zafar) and Asha (Yami Gautam), set in London. Everything in their relationship is picture perfect, till Asha invites Aman to meet her family over dinner. Asha’s family goes crazy when they come to know that Aman is a Pakistani (not that they were otherwise very normal!). The chaos begins and Aman finds himself in a nightmare, which just doesn’t seem to be ending!
The first half of the movie is a breezy comedy of errors, with some sharp dialogues and funny situations. But the second half goes on an entirely different tangent that doesn’t tie in with the first half at all. After a while, the screenplay seems super stretched, with too many pointless sub-plots. Even when the movie is less than two hours one wishes that at least 15 minutes more were edited. Also other than a few dialogues that evoke a hearty laugh, the rest just fail to make any impact.
Performance wise, Kiron Kher steals the show, playing the loud Punjabi paranoid mother with perfect comic timing, barring a few scenes where she overacts
Ali Zafar plays himself, a musician from Pakistan, offering nothing new in his poker face type of performance. He still has the natural charm and is likeable as the confused, ill-fated Pakistani boyfriend stuck in a crazy situation.
Yami Gautam’s character, as the Indian Hindu love interest, was poorly written and she did not have much scope to perform. Also, there was no chemistry between Ali and Yami. On the other hand, watching the interactions between Zafar (the damaad) and Kher (the mother-in-law-to-be) together onscreen were an absolute delight.
Anupam Kher is completely wasted and it is sad to see an actor of his talent play a silly, cameo-ish role in Total Siyapaa. New-find Sara Khan comes across seductive. Other actors were plain and bland.
Anupam Kher and his real life wife Kiron Kher play the onscreen couple for the first time and their chemistry and pairing has not been exploited in the movie at all – in fact they hardly have any scenes together – that’s just a shame.
Total Siyapaa has a very telefilm or theatric look and director Eeshwar Nivas has made the entire flick in essentially three sets and the entire cast has (essentially) donned one outfit throughout. Outcome of a low-budget more than the script’s demand it seems, because the cast is also badly styled.
Music is strictly average and not very memorable – although ‘palat meri jaan’ is enjoyable and compliments the plot.
It must, however, be pointed out that at no point is the plot political on the India-Pakistan relationship and the makers have in fact managed to maintain a balance between Indians and Pakistanis living in London.
Overall, Total Siyapaa is really a major chaos. Sadly, the best moments from Total Siyapaa were already shown in the snappy promos and a very interesting concept is churned out as strictly average movie lacking charm, spark and humour. Humble suggestion: skip this one!!