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A wtf! Watch with Dimple as the sole saving grace

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Afantastic two-line idea can translate into a disastrous two-hour film. What The Fish! is a shining example of that. A comedy of chaos and confusion centred around a 60-something divorcee’s pet fish and prized money plant had the potential to be a rip-roaring ride, but WTF! squanders a promising premise and a fun first half to become a film that you half-heartedly sit through and then forget within a minute of coming out of the multiplex.

“She is a drama queen,” is how Dimple Kapadia had described her Sudha Mishra to t2 in an interview last week. Cranky and cantankerous, Sudha isn’t someone you take to easily. A divorcee living alone in a posh south Delhi bungalow, Sudha’s eccentric ways — she “washes” currency notes before handling them and doesn’t allow anyone within 200 yards of her belongings — have made her unpopular with friends and family. Her sole “companions” are her goldfish Mishti and her (unnamed) money plant that she “speaks” to every morning after it has been lovingly watered.

When Sudha has to go off for a month to visit her son in “Pappa” New Guinea (as she calls it), she entrusts the responsibility of the house to her niece, who promptly passes it on to her boyfriend. The boyfriend gives it out to a friend who has just eloped with a girl from his hometown. Two days later, the bungalow finds itself in the hands of a body builder who moonlights as a Kathak dancer (yes, it gets more and more bizarre!). By the time the house is taken over by a gangster from Haryana and then by a female boxer from Manipur (yes, a Mary Kom lookalike), you, the viewer, are dozing peacefully in your plex seat.

Mishti, meanwhile, succumbs to an overdose of a viagra bottle that falls into its fish bowl and the money plant dies a “thirsty” death. What greets Sudha when she returns a month later? A mad woman — “chudail,” claims a convinced Sudha — screaming and running out as soon as she opens her bedroom door! What The F***!

Director Gurmmeet Singh — who made his debut with the relatively more watchable Warning earlier this year — would have done well to keep What The Fish! at just an hour’s running time. As the film drags on and on, the story gets increasingly convoluted, with a subplot springing up every few minutes. An approximate count threw up close to 50 characters, with Go Goa Gone man Anand Tiwari (his screen time is go, going... gone!) and Manjot Singh — Fukrey’s Lali — being the only recognisable faces.

If you still want to give What The Fish! your money this weekend, then Dimple — still gorgeous at 56 — is the sole reason. There may be a wrinkle here, a greying hair there, but every time she comes on screen — pity her screentime isn’t as long as it should have been — you realise why many decades ago, Rishi Kapoor wanted to be locked up in a room with her and lose the keys.

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