Kutte Fail

India (2021) Dir. Rajan Aggarwal

So, you’ve finally found the woman of your dreams and she is also into you, meaning marriage is on the cards. You worship her and consider her an angel, and whilst she might be a heavenly being to you, what if she is a different kind of otherworldly being, say the spooky kind?

Lucky (Rajat Saini) and friends Sunny (Sajan Kapoor) and Lambu (Hanish Rajput) are a slacker trio spending their days boozing, whilst staying at the hotel resort owned by Lucky’s father Sandhu (Amritpal Singh). Angry with their idling attitudes, Sandhu throws the out and tells them to get jobs. They are about to leave when they spot three foxy women arriving at the resort and decide to stay.

Their attempts to woo the ladies pays off – Lucky pairs off with Hargun (Jashn Agnihotri), Sunny with Mahi (Mayuri Chopra) and Lambu with Simran (Divvanshi Dutta). Lucky and Hargun eventually marry, but Hargun has a secret which Lucky discovers on his wedding night – she is a ghost! He tries to convince the family of this but they won’t believe him, forcing him to resort to dirty tricks to expose the phantom Hargun.

It’s rare that I ever call out a film for breaching the trades’ description act but Kutte Fail is an exception that compels me to do so. Promoted as a horror-comedy, it lets itself down by not being scary in the slightest and not very funny, although this might be a case of humour getting lost in translation. To be fair, the tone is wilfully silly and the performances comical and devoid of seriousness, so it at least feels like a comedy.

More likely, it is a case of cultural divide. I doubt writer-director Rajan Aggarwal thought too much about international distribution when writing the script, despite this film being released globally via Amazon Prime. With so much of the dialogue comprised of localised references, whatever jokes and witticisms there are will be lost on us Johnny foreigners, whilst the physical tomfoolery is uninspired and feeble.

As a side effect of this, I must offer an apology to anyone who is familiar with the cast if I have assigned the wrong actor to a role as information is scarce about this film – there isn’t a proper plot synopsis anywhere – so it was pure guess work based on grainy pictures courtesy of Google Images, not helped by so many different actors having the same names.

Not that this is the biggest problem this film has, it is beset with production issues, over ambitious ideas, and plot holes galore. For a start, Aggarwal opens the film with Lucky making the shock discovery about his blushing bride, before jumping back in time six months to see how we got to this point. In typical Bollywood fashion, the pacing is all over the place, with time wasted on a protracted set up and frivolous distractions.

Responsible for most of this frippery is hotel employee Kaddu (Kake Shah), always ready with a non-sequitur quip to break the fourth wall or over enthusiastic sight gag, mostly in the pursuit of glamorous – and much younger – receptionist Jiya (Akanksha Shandil). Despite their clear middle-class status, Lucky and the boys do a poor impression of US teen slackers, taking in the usual clichés of suffering hangovers, doing a bad job with their duties and of course, lusting after the ladies.

Hargun’s supernatural abilities manifest themselves as magic tricks, usually when one of the lads thinks he is smooching with their respective lady, only for her to disappear and the hapless chap is left kissing a broomstick. Amazingly, this phenomenon doesn’t raise any red flags that something is afoot – not even Lucky suddenly finding his father in his arms instead of Hargun – and they carry on as normal.

With the plot a little on the undercooked side, a possible crisis appears in the form of Mr. Randhawa (Jyoti Swaroop) and his young son Arjun arriving for a short stay. Lucky and the lads panic when they see him then forget about him for the next 15 minutes until a handy info dump reveals a car accident in where Randhawa is unaware the boys were in the other car.

For the payoff to this revelation, we are forced to wait until the final act, but not before another salient piece of information is brought out into the open, which for Lucky is only marginally less shocking than the surprise which awaits him on his wedding night. As plot twists go, it does initially incur a “huh?” but eventually makes sense in the grand scheme of things.

But this doesn’t excuse the fact that the overstuffed climax leaves gaps in the logic you could drive a train through, which the script tries to paper over by having the cast ask what the hell is going on so we don’t have to. This being Aggarwal’s first film, one can see what he was going for, and had the script been streamlined, he might have pulled it off. At least this film is under 2 hours and not over!

Performances are energetic but hardly outstanding but the biggest issue blighting this film is the production, namely the lack of visual effects for the ghostly happenings which are covered by cutaways. The editing is scrappy and choppy – slow motion shots are inserted for no reason, random frames appear over other shots, and there is no attempt to fix lighting and colour grade discrepancies between some shots. That said, I was amused to hear a music loop which I used myself in a video edit!

The irony of such a mess of a film having the title Kutte Fail is not lost on me, which is a shame as it could have worked. I can’t recommend this and I’m surprised it made it to release, but as an amateur filmmaker myself, I at least have to commend the effort behind it.

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