I know… I’ve been a baaaaad lil’ kitty and let my posting drop back again…. but I’m finally back at things once again with a look at the 2013 Hindi zombie comedy film, “Go Goa Gone” just released to DVD. Yep… you heard this wee Catgirl correctly… an honest to goodness Hindi zombie movie. Bet you’ve never seen one of those.
Our synopsis? How’s this for all the details… “Luv (Vir Das) is dumped by his cheating girlfriend and an irresponsible act by his buddy Hardik (Kunal Khemu) leaves him without a job. Their roommate Bunny (Anand Tiwari), meanwhile, lands himself a free business class flight ticket and a five-star stay at Goa – thanks to a presentation of his at work. Hardik decides that instead of whiling and whining their time away in booze and drugs, the two should seize the chance to join the trip and seek a fresh chance at the wild life in the Party Capital of India – Goa. Little do they expect that an invitation to a crazy rave party hosted by the Russian Mob will bring them all face to face with the shambling hordes of the walking dead!!”
Hmmmm? Sounds to this wee Catgirl more than a bit like a Desi version of say “Harold and Kumar meet the Zombies”… now it’s not necessarily sure that’s a bad thing… but I’m thinking this one’s not going to be the stuff of classic cinema. Hehehe!! Good thing this lil’ lady sorta likes her movies a wee bit on the trashy side…
So then. Are brain dead zombie movies with a side of comedy… and musical numbers… all crammed together with subtitles your idea of fun too? Then what the heck are you waiting for? By all means “Read On” and find out what it all about!
Yep. Can’t really say I’ve seen all that many zombie movies lurch out of India. Probably because dead people usually get cremated in mostly Hindu India when that unfortunate time rolls around. Having no big supply of corpses hanging about makes the dreaded “Zombie Apocalypse” all that much more unlikely, I guess. But our friends the Zombies would never let a little thing like that stand in their way of some flesh munching fun now would they?
In “Go Goa Gone”, the first thing our story had to do was come up with some way to address this, and as it happens… it’s not all that hard a thing to work out. You just “import” your Zombies….
In this one, our three hapless heroes, Luv, Hardik, and Bunny (played by Vir Das, Kunal Khemu,and Anand Tiwari respectively) are roommates and best buddies in Mumbai. Luv and Hardik are basic slackers… spending most of their time (and precious brain cells) getting drunk and high, while the somewhat geeky and uptight Bunny keeps his nose to the grindstone like a good little salaryman drone paying more than his fair share of the bills. As we first meet our heroes, Luv has had a change of heart, thanks to his infatuation with his current girlfriend Priyanka, and has vowed to clean up his act so he can take that big scary step of asking her to marry him. This creates some friction between him and Hardik as it soon becomes evident that with Luv finally ‘growing up”, he’ll have nobody left to waste his time with in a continued life of indolent slacking. Thankfully… in a scene almost exactly like the one in my Malay movie fav, “Tolong! Awek Aku Pontianak!”… Luv discovers Priyanka is nothing more than a faithless two timing cheat leaving him devastated and more than willing to renounce all those positive lifestyle changes he’d begun.
So what’s the cure for a broken heart? Why everybody knows that silly…. It’s a wild vacation of debauchery, drinking, dope, and sex, d’uhhh…. Luckily for our two financially embarrassed guys, it’s good ol’ Bunny to the rescue once again as they weasel their way into his all expense paid business trip to sunny Goa for the weekend.
Goa, it seems, is sort of India’s version of Miami Beach meets Las Vegas, a glitzy expensive resort for all the wealthy playboys and playgirls, where just about anything goes. Once there, it isn’t long before Luv meets sexy Luna (played by Puja Gupta) and decides to give love… or at least lust… a chance once again. They hit it off… in that awkward way all losers seem to do, and she tells him she and her girlfriends are going to check out a private rave party on an island just off the coast being thrown by some of the Russian Mob. One off handed invite for him and his friend to join them later, and it’s off to the island where the real fun starts…..
Lucky for us and this movie… it’s the Russian Mob that kind of messes up with the introduction of some new party drug they want to debut at the rave that gets all the Zombie action going. Now we’re talking. Let the flesh eating fun and hi-jinx commence! Of course, this is when the guys start screaming and running around like idiots until a chance meeting with Mob boss Boris (played by Saif Ali Khan) and his henchmen Nikolai (played by Ross Bucharn) saves their bacon. This part of the movie is actually quite fun… with our trio completely dumbfounded by the sudden appearance of the Walking Dead and so totally at a loss as to all the familiar elements of the folklore that all Zombie movies adhere to so faithfully. Are these guys “Bhoot”? Naw…. “Aatma”… nope. Wait a minute… are their feet on backwards? Ummm.. nope. Guess that means they aren’t “Dayaan”. So funny to hear them try to figure out just what sort of monsters they are dealing with.. very reminiscent of a similar scene in “Juan of the Dead” that worked so well.
Now Boris is probably the most fun character in our movie… a Russian guy so obviously “not Russian” that you smile at the way Saif Ali Khan with his very Indian looks mangles his Russian accent and eventually admits to actually being from New Dehli. Despite all this, he’s a rough, tough, and really well armed survivor with all the firepower our heroes need to help them find and rescue the pretty Luna for Luv so they can all make an escape from the now Zombie infested island.
To manage that, our heroes climb to a bungalow high above the beach, dodging and killing zombified party guests all the way, eventually hooking up with Luna just in time to save her from her now flesh eating undead girlfriends. Yep… you just know that’s gotta score some points for Luv in the romance department.
So how will our little group escape from the island? Why on the crappy motorboat that the three buddies arrived on…. if they can manage to catch it as it floats around the island with Hardik’s undead hook-up on board from the night before. Oh yeah… it can never be easy can it?
Will all our guys escape alive? Will Luv and Luna eventually become a couple? Will Hardik ever learn the error of his wastrel ways and reform? Will Boris ever convince anybody he’s really Russian? Guess you’ll just wanna watch it yourself to find out.
How did it all go down for this lil’ Catgirl? Hmmmm… Now as Zombie films go, “Go Goa Gone” is really nothing special… and as horror comedies go, it’s fairly middle of the road too. Not good… not bad… just quirky and weird and taking the Zombie Apocalypse someplace I never really expected it to go. All taken together, I would have to say this one scores 3 “Meows” out of 5. The acting is good… although the characters are fairly thin and stereotypical with the wacky exception of Boris who gives the film a freaky “Borat fights the Undead” vibe that I’ll remember for a while. Then again, I like crazy wacky characters like that and perhaps other people would find him less amusing. The romantic story is understated and had none of the sweetness that made “Tolong! Awek Aku Pontianak!” with it’s similar romantic ideas work so well for me.The special effects, the zombie makeups… all are at least effective if not inspired, doing the job for the most part.
Ahhhh… and on to the downsides for this one… this particular film had one of the weirdest “anti-smoking” messages I’ve ever seen attached to a movie. It starts off with nearly 5 minutes of public service commercials regarding the dangers of smoking and a grisly look at cancer victims… then, as our film progresses, every time a character is shown smoking at anytime, that same message is scrolled across the bottom of the screen as long as those naughty cigarettes are to be seen. Grrrr…. !!! So darn annoying… especially since Luv and Hardik are potheads and smoke nearly every chance they get. And… in case we still haven’t gotten the message, the same five minutes of commercials are run again in the middle of the film as a preachy “intermission”. Auuuugghh!! Enough already!! Neko’s got it… “smoking bad… zombies good”. Sigh… I just can’t tell you how annoying this was to sit through. Nearly enough to push this one down to 2 “Meows”… except that the overall idea of the film was novel enough for Hindi cinema that I have to be fair and recognize that and not punish them for what was probably some stupidly conceived governmental requirement of the Hindi film censor board.
The DVD itself? Another excellent widescreen NTSC All Region presentation with subtitles in English and about another half dozen languages, including some fairly surprising choices like Thai. Bravo… I’ll never need those, but boy it’s nice to see somebody actually make a DVD accessible to foreign audiences for a change. As with most Hindi DVD’s it’s also crazy affordable too at around 8-10$ US most places you’d expect to find Hindi discs.All in all. I’d have to say, if Zombies are your thing… and you’ve set yourself the goal of seeing the Zombie Apocalypse as it plays out in as many foreign places as you can, then you’d probably enjoy giving this one a peek. A certain Catgirl princess surely did….
Ahhh yes… and let’s not forget the Trailer. Wouldn’t want to leave without a quick peek now would you?