Planet Bollywood
Paisa Vasool
Producer: Manisha Koirala
Director: Srinivas Bhashyam
Starring: Manisha Koirala, Sushmita Sen, Sushant Singh, Makrand Deshpande, Tinu Anand
Music: Bapi-Tutul
Lyrics: Sandeep Nath
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Film Released on: January 2004
Reviewed by: Ron Ahluwalia  - Rating: 2.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.1 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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"High Heels, Low Lives" indeed! Paisa Vasool proves itself to be a slap in the face to the makers of the aforementioned Hollywood movie from which it is adapted, and the regretful viewers of this film. Leave it to Manisha Koirala to produce something that can boast of pure idiocy and the highest quality of buffoonery. (Then again, not much more could have suspected from an actress who has trashed her once promising career with stupid movie choices!)

Manisha Koirala is Maria, who has left her abusive husband and moved to Mumbai. She runs a highly unsuccessful bakery from the mansion she inherited from her family. However, a local building company wants the mansion, and has been harassing Maria for quite some time.

Sushmita Sen plays a filmi item number girl by the name of Baby. Her above average height has hindered her ability to make it as a successful actress. (Beware of the numerous jokes on he irony behind her name and height; they stink.)

In an accidental encounter, Maria and Baby become very close friends, and Baby even moves in with Maria. The two failures have only one dream: to become filthy rich, and quick! Maria┬┤s home is a regular victim of cross-connection phone calls. One night, Baby answers one of he cross-connections and stumbles across a man telling his girlfriend about a diamond robbery he┬┤s committed. Baby comes up with a seemingly foolproof extortion plan to extract a few million rupees out of the man, and eventually convinces the skeptical Maria.

But things don´t go according to Baby´s plan, and the two women are lost in a maze of deceit, murder, and revenge. 

Despite being an obvious rehash of High Heels, Low Lives, Paisa Vasool shares a striking resemblance to Priyadarshan┬┤s Hera Pheri (a cross-connection instead of a wrong number cannot be deemed original). Despite such well-recognized sources of inspiration, Paisa Vasool falls on all fronts, leaving minimal scope for actual entertainment.

In the entire two hours, Paisa Vasool impresses in only three scenes: the meeting of Baby and Maria in the night club (for its modern appeal and truly different novel approach); the scene where Baby, Maria, and Johnny (Sushant Singh) are attacked by a good with an empty gun; and when Manisha Koirala steals from the beggar. Aside from these three events, Paisa Vasool is a banal piece of cinema that disappoints to no end.

To say that Paisa Vasool had immense potential is an understatement. However, all this potential is lost to the outrageously pathetic screenplay by Srinivas Bashyam and Anurag Kashyap. Showing Sushmita Sen getting drunk off one drink is very unbelievable, and Manisha┬┤s inability to generate profit from the rent people pay for living in her mansion is hard to digest.

What┬┤s surprising is that a movie like Paisa Vasool succumbs to the Bollywood clich├ę of a mandatory love story. Granted that the inclusion of romance is a slight undercurrent between Maria and Johnny, however their relationship could have been portrayed as a strong friendship, rather than unexpressed love, thus adding to the intended novelty of the film. As a director, Srinivas Bashyam falters in his development of atmosphere. The audience is compelled to sympathize with the situations of the protagonists and the ambience of many moments becomes repulsively severe; it┬┤s almost as though the director is presenting a level of insensitivity towards issues like death and robbery. Priyadarshan cleverly avoided this in Hear Pheri, as there were enough comedic incidents to make the audience forget about Akshay Kumar┬┤s mother and Sunil Shetty┬┤s fight for a job.

To make matters worse, the film┬┤s pace tests one┬┤s patience, as there an infinite number of scenes that ought to have been edited, or simply deleted. One the technological front, Paisa Vasool is no great shakes. Cinematography is average. As for Bapi-Tutul┬┤s music, it does little to help vasool your paisa.

The performances are of superior consistency: they┬┤re terrible! Both Manisha Koirala and Sushmita Sen are ill-at-ease with comedy, which is probably why they┬┤ve never done completely comedic roles till date. Sushmita┬┤s career is not what it was in her Biwi No. 1 days, and Manisha has lost whatever talent she may have once possessed. Sushant Singh stands out in a role that was more difficult that those of Manisha and Sushmita. Makrand Deshpande and Tinu Anand induce vomiting.

You work hard for you money, so treat yourself right. Burying your money in the ground would be wiser that even renting a movie like Paisa Vasool. It┬┤s just that simple: don┬┤t watch it!

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