No Smoking

Tonally confused and self-important, "No Smoking" is a tedious mind-screw from helmer-scripter Anurag Kashyap (whose "Black Friday" was considerably more coherent and hard-hitting) that tries to be tongue-in-cheek but winds up just plain toothless.

Cast:
With: John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Paresh Rawal, Ranvir Shorey, Joy Fernandas, Kiku Sharda, Jessy Randhawa, Sanjay Singh, Bipasha Basu, Saif Ali Khan.

Tonally confused and self-important, “No Smoking” is a tedious mind-screw from helmer-scripter Anurag Kashyap (whose “Black Friday” was considerably more coherent and hard-hitting) that tries to be tongue-in-cheek but winds up just plain toothless. Outlandish fantasy of an egotist drawn into a no-smoking rehab cult plays all over the map in a bid for artsy self-expression within the normally constrained Bollywood field, but results, like reviews, point thumbs down. Warning stickers on film canisters should read, “At your own risk.”

In a bizarre dream world that deliberately defies logic, rich, arrogant K (John Abraham) is badgered by long-suffering wife Anjali (Ayesha Takia) to give up the habit. Only when she finally threatens to leave does he listen to best friend Abbas (Ranvir Shorey) and enters Baba Bengali’s rehab, though he doesn’t think to question why Abbas is wearing a hearing aid and missing several fingers. Entering the nightmarish rehab complex, K signs a contract giving the guru (Paresh Rawal) the right to sever digits and torment family members should he light up. References to Hitler’s gas chambers are plain offensive, while visuals, with occasional CGI work, are self-indulgent.

No Smoking

India

Production: An Eros Intl. presentation of a Big Screen Entertainment, Eros Intl., Vishal Bhardwaj Pictures production. (International sales: Eros Intl., London.) Produced by Bhardwaj, Kumar Mangat. Directed, written by Anurag Kashyap.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, widescreen), Rajeev Ravi; editor, Aarti Bajaj; music, Bhardwaj; lyrics, Gulzar; art director, Tariq Umarr Khan; choreographer, Ashley Lobo. Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (Cinema 2007), Oct. 24, 2007. Hindi, English dialogue. Running time: 125 MIN.

With: With: John Abraham, Ayesha Takia, Paresh Rawal, Ranvir Shorey, Joy Fernandas, Kiku Sharda, Jessy Randhawa, Sanjay Singh, Bipasha Basu, Saif Ali Khan.

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