With Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, Madhur Bhandarkar may have ditched those voyeuristic, exposé themes to try his hand at comedy, but his jokes are mostly packed with sexual innuendo and needless homophobia.

In an early voice-over we are introduced to a character who we’re told is only interested in the 3 Fs of life: fun, flirting, and the last one we’re asked to guess ourselves. In another scene at a funeral, a young chap introduces himself to the person standing beside him. “How do you do?” he asks. “Any way you like it,” the flaming gay man replies, rolling his eyes and licking his lips.

Not nearly as bawdy as The Hangover, and missing the innocent charm of a film like Chashme Buddoor, Bhandarkar’s Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji is an occasionally entertaining comedy about three single men and their misadventures with the ladies. Ajay Devgan is an introverted banker on the verge of divorce who becomes besotted with a young intern at his workplace. Emran Hashmi is a playboy gym instructor who must dump his rich girlfriend when he falls for her stepdaughter. And Omi Vaidya is an innocent virgin who has his heart set on a friendly radio jockey who’s shamelessly using him.

Subtlety isn’t one of Bhandarkar’s strengths, and he isn’t exactly known for writing layered characters either. Everyone acts according to type in Dil To Baccha Hai Ji. So the Catholic intern (played by Shazan Padamsee) enjoys wine with every meal and offers free salsa lessons to her boss. A former supermodel trapped in a loveless marriage (played by Tisca Chopra) picks up toy-boys to keep herself engaged. And an NRI ‘today’s girl’ (played by Shruti Haasan) doesn’t attach love or commitment to sex.

Despite relying on familiar tropes, Bhandarkar does create some lovely moments. The track between Devgan and Padamsee, for one, is surprisingly tender. His awkwardness at mingling with her younger friends, the heartbreaking discovery he makes at her grandmother’s home, even his initial efforts to draw her attention are played out nicely by Devgan, who makes the part his own.

Dil To Baccha Hai Ji is too long for a light-hearted comedy, and the dialogue is pedestrian. Still it’s not a complete waste of time; there are some laughs to be had. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for director Madhur Bhandarkar’s Dil To Baccha Hai Ji. Don’t go in expecting too much, and perhaps you won’t be too disappointed.

 

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