Film Review: 'All Is Well'
Opened: 21 August 2015
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Supriya Pathak, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Sonakshi Sinha
Director: Umesh Shukla
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Shyam Bajaj, Varun Bajaj
There are films with a social message that move you, others that make you think, like director Umesh Shukla's own previous effort OMG – Oh My God!, which was a sleeper hit back when it released, and then there are films like his latest effort, All Is Well, which are so pathetically inept they make you ponder why or how anyone associated with it allowed this disaster of a film to leave the drawing board let alone be made.
In All Is Well Abhishek plays Inder Bhalla, a wannabe rockstar based in Bangkok who's estranged from his parents (Rishi Kapoor, Supriya Pathak) and hasn't spoken to them in over a decade. His is the kind of character you love to loathe, purely because he's armed with an inexplicable smugness and a perennial scowl and little else. Why he ends up in Bangkok is never fully explained, and remains a mystery for the duration of the film because as many things as Thailand is known for, rock music most definitely is not one of them. But then, attention to detail it seems, is not on director Shukla's list of priorities – how else would you explain Inder's magically switching aviators or the change in length of his tresses from scene to scene?
Coming back to the threadbare plot (one that seems to be assembled on set mind), All Is Well's focal bone of contention revolves around the estranged father-son relationship, and how a series of convenient coincidences, unsurprisingly, brings the quarrelling duo together. To bail himself out of financial difficulty, Bhalla with the aid of a local goon Cheena (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, insufferable) lures Inder back to the motherland with his on-off girlfriend in tow, a runaway bride and a puzzlingly desperate, but easy on the eye Nimmi (played with a unique flatness by Asin).
Upon his arrival, Inder finds that his mother has been shipped off to an old people's home and Bhalla himself is drowning in a sea of debt. Thereafter, through a series of LOUD and painfully unfunny sequences the Bhallas, Inder and Nimmi embark on a clumsy road-trip whilst being pursued by goons – a journey that inevitably makes Inder realise, that life is all about loving your parents after all, your thoughts and ambitions be damned.
All Is Well is that dreary kind of film that literally seems to be put together in the space of a few hours, and consists of a sequence of convenient plot points that make little or no sense. Sitting through its duration is akin to have a drill thrust through your forehead. Yes. It really is that bad. Which other production in recent times has made the grave mistake of wasting talents like Rishi Kapoor and Supriya Pathak? Kapoor, especially, hams it up like there's no tomorrow and there's absolutely nothing that endears us to him, and Pathak meanwhile, is so criminally wasted it makes one wonder what enticed her to sign on for this excuse of a film in the first place.
One of the many problems with All Is Well is it cant decide what it wants to be. So much like Pathak's character, Shukla too seems to have developed a severe case of amnesia during its filming, because what begins as an 80s social drama, soon evolves into a headache inducing David Dhawan slapstick, which then goes on to become a Zoya Akhtar-esque roadtrip (albeit far less subtle), only to climax into a Raju Hirani sermon about loving your parents.
There's nothing particularly noteworthy about the soundtrack too – the background score is deafening and to butcher a classic like 'Ey Mere Humsafar' from Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is nothing short of a travesty.
All Is Well could have been salvaged had it been for the performances but there's virtually no hope in that department either – this is where each of the actors adopt a single expression and stick to it for the entire duration of the film. So Bachchan is consistently scowling, Asin is consistently and creepily chirpy and carries around a copy of Rhonda Byrne's bestselling The Secret everywhere she goes (Shukla believes in literally shoving a point down our throats – she's positive we get it), Pathak is consistently blank and Kapoor is consistently hollering like a bellend, and when he's not doing that he's peeing. Special mention has to go out to Sonakshi Sinha too who valiantly tries to make the best of a routine item number but her attempt frankly is less sizzle, more snigger.
It is unclear which audience Shukla's film was intended for, but given his aimless and clueless direction, a meandering plot and a script that abounds in cliches and convenience, rest assured it's unlikely to reach it, because with All Is Well nothing is going to end well – be it the migraine you have to endure after watching it, the losses that producers will have to suffer, or the sinking fortunes of the stars associated with it. In short. Do yourself a favour and avoid this god awful film.