Paisa Vasool is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film made in 2004 starring Manisha Koirala, Sushmita Sen. "Paisa Vasool" means something like "get money back".
The film starts with actress Baby (and don't think there aren't any jokes about her name during the film) about to be kicked off a film set due to being taller than the film's hero. The scene changes to Maria, a divorcee who is being harassed by some goon who works for a property developer to either sell him her home or marry him. She meets up with Baby and Baby moves in, shortly after which they overhear a phone conversation between a man trying to woo a woman saying he's got 3 million rupees from a robbery and they decide to blackmail the guy for half of the loot. Of course, they're neither of them professional blackmailers or criminals so all manner of things go wrong as they try to get their hands on the money.
Maria is played by Manisha Koirala who also produced the film with her younger brother Siddharth. Maria has flashbacks of her police officer ex husband taunting her about how ugly she is and how she will never make it in the big city (Mumbai) without him. This flashback indicates that her ex husband used to abuse her both verbally and physically. She feels insecure so decides to dress up and go out for the night to a club and there she meets Baby, played by Sushmita Sen. It's rather weird for a woman to randomly go out to a nightclub on her own. Personally speaking I've never been shy when it comes to going out or making friends but the last thing I would do is get all dressed up and go to a nightclub on my own! When Maria arrives at the club she's told she can't come in as it's couples only or women only but not as singles, Baby walks up to the door at the same time so they go in together and suddenly become best buddies and Maria asks Baby to move in with her which is rather trusting of her.
The story for this film is no great shakes but it seems to be a remake of the 2001 film High Heels and Low Lifes starring Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack. I haven't seen that film so I don't just how similar the storylines are but Paisa Vasool overall wasn't the best made film and unsurprisingly the film wasn't exactly a hit at the box office.
Humour is used throughout the film to lighten some of the more violence scenes, but even if the comedy was put in to make this acceptable for younger viewers, I didn't think it was appropriate considering some murders take place and there are some scenes of violence. Either make it a thriller of a drama or make it a comedy, it's a bit difficult to make it an in between film especially when the two leads, who both happen to be females, do a lot of over-acting. I don't say this lightly as both Manisha Koirala and Sushmita Sen are definitely capable of acting quite well - this film certainly would not have done their careers any favours.
Sushant Singh plays Johnny, Maria's wheelchair bound next door neighbour who seems to be her love interest. His acting wasn't excellent but it was marginally better than the two female leads, although he doesn't have an awful lot of screen time in the film.
Makrand Deshpande plays Biryani Bhai, one of the villains and it was quite difficult to take him seriously as he has this ridiculous mop of curly hair and in one scene someone asks him when was the last time he combed his hair and he responds "Six years ago!" I can believe that. He was just not in the least bit menacing. Tinnu Anand as the main villain was also quite ridiculous, as in funny; although I've seen him in other films where he plays the villain quite adeptly.
One part of the story which was quite amusing was that the character of Baby is a pretty girl from Delhi trying to make it as an actress in Bollywood but ends up mostly as a dancer in Bollywood films but she keeps losing her parts as she's so tall and the film hero's ego can't stand having a woman taller than them in any scenes. This does seem to be an issue in Bollywood as a percentage of leading men are not much taller than their female counterparts and a tallish woman wearing high heels just won't be acceptable for these guys' egos.
A lot of the plot was quite unrealistic, such as asking someone to move in with you after just spending an evening at a nightclub with them or someone leaving their house and bakery business to you just because you worked in their bakery for a while when your offspring lives in the same house. Also why would a blackmailer arrange to meet someone for a payoff at a cowshed, which is full of, umm, cows and, umm, cow dung? And would you really spray deodorant at a cow that's doing what comes naturally?
There are a handful of songs in the film which were quite catchy, one song played in an early scene in a nightclub was quite catchy but other songs seemed to be remixes from other films.
I can't mention the cinematography specifically as there was nothing of note. The film's dialogue was quite cheesy and it just overall seemed like a low budget film. I think this film should be a lesson to all actors turned wannabe producers - if you can't pick decent films yourself to act in, don't start producing rubbish films and then give yourself a leading role; it doesn't do you ANY favours at all and I'm pretty much sure this film made a laughing stock of Koirala and that wasn't for the actual comedy in the film itself!
I can't justify giving Paisa Vasool any higher than 2 out of 5 stars. It's not a film I would care to watch again even if there was nothing else available to watch.
Starring: Manisha Koirala, Sushmita Sen, Makrand Deshpande, Sushant Singh, Tinnu Anand
Director: Srinivas Bhashyam
Producers: Manisha Koirala, Siddharth Koirala
Cinematography: Nirav Shah
Music: Bapi - Tutul
Release date: 2004
Duration: 140 minutes
Availability: Amazon £1.99
DVD Extras: Film, Chapter Selection, Subtitles (English only), Song Selection