Possibly the most dubious ad for Thai tourism since The Hangover Part II, director Mangesh Hadawal’s comedy Thai Massage paints a confusing picture of the popular travel destination. And that noncommittal style seems to carry over to the film as well.
On the one hand, Hadawale suggests that what you’ve heard about Thailand being a center of vice and decadence is true, and on the other hand, he’s like someone who just got a significant tax break from the Thai government. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, one would imagine. And while there’s nothing wrong with how Thailand is portrayed in the film — if anything, the country seems comfortable with its slightly sleazy image — it’s more troubling when the film itself can’t decide what to do with it. What version of itself does it want to present? to the world
At various stages, Thai Massage is a gardener-style melodrama, a small-town comedy, a fish-out-of-water fraud, and then, just when you think it can’t go on again, an adventure film about your life. is the. best life Any film produced by Imtiaz Ali would be hard pressed to match these tones.
Gajraj Rao Satara stars as Atmaram Dubey, an elderly widower who one day discovers that he has trouble getting an erection. Along with his grief, he is so worried that he tries to jump off a bridge one night. He is seduced by a young lout, played by Devindo, who assures him that there is no ‘samasa’ they cannot solve together.
Atmaram musters up his courage, and together, devise a game plan. Of course, he can’t seek the services of a sex worker in his home town – the film is set in Ajanji, by the way, where everyone knows everyone – and so, inspired by his new friend, Atmaram to go into hiding. who decides Travel to Thailand and partake in some local culture. Just kidding, he wants to ‘Boom Boom’.
But this happens after the interval, which may (rightly) make you wonder how the film fares in the previous hour or so. There is no way it lacks sugar; It basically wastes everyone’s time, their own. There is a mopey framing device in which Atmaram narrates his adventure to his two unwanted sons, and a subplot about Atmaram’s trial and error to cure his epilepsy. But the film really comes into its own when Atmaram lands in Bangkok.
There, he meets some colorful characters who become his companions in this strange new land. Atmaram, you may remember, had never traveled outside his district, let alone the country. And after a first half in which it offers little to write home about, Thai Massage, in its second half… offers more of the same, albeit in a more objective manner. There is an interesting subplot involving a carefree young Russian woman with whom Atmaram is genuinely friendly, but the resolution of this arc is deeply unsatisfying, as is the film’s attempt to resolve Atmaram’s troubled relationship with his sons. tries to But you have to hand it to Hadawale, though; Even if he doesn’t drop the ball very often, the magic doesn’t end there.
Rao, however, is really good in the lead role, putting his endearing stamp on a character who is visibly struggling with decades of conditioning, even as he explores new ideas, meets new people, and has new life-changing experiences. are Also deserving of a shout-out is Alina Zsobina, who plays Rita, Atmar’s Russian friend. She awakens something within Atmaram, and her presence empowers him to freely express what is essentially an alien concept to him, an Indian man. To its credit, the film doesn’t magically transform Atmaram into a different person at the end, which is surprisingly restrained for a film that also features a rapping cab driver with a deadlock.
Thai massage continues Ali’s sudden interest in sex. The filmmaker’s evolution has been quite strange to watch, considering his lifelong tendency to see the women in his films not as potential romantic partners for his male characters, but essentially non-players in video games. As acting characters, whose sole function is to point the hero. The right direction. In many ways, the rebranding of Ali’s career has been even stranger than Anubhav Sinha’s political awakening, or the He Who Shouldn’t Be Named Messiah phase. But unlike recently Dr. Arora: Gupta Rog VisheshgayaWith what it shares many similarities with, Thai massage is a more delicate touch (although it often feels like being massaged by a buried human).
A much better version of a similar story—of a middle-class Indian man’s end-of-life emancipation—was told happily. Shy Namkin Earlier this year. Thai massage may not warrant a trip to the cinema, but you can do worse at home.
Director – Mangesh Hadawal
Cast – Gajraj Rao, Devindu, Sunny Hinduja, Rajpal Yadav, Alina Zasubina
classification – 2.5/5