Thai Massage movie review: Gajraj Rao’s film is mildly relaxing, moderately racy, but disappointingly mediocre

In perhaps the most dubious ad for Thai tourism since The Hangover Part II, director Mangesh Hadavel’s comedy-drama Thai Massage paints another disturbing picture of the popular travel destination. And this non-committal attitude seems to have spilled over into the film as well.

On the one hand, Hadawal suggests that everything you’ve heard about Thailand being a hotbed of evil and decadence is true, and on the other hand, he acts like someone who was given a significant tax break by the Thai government. done The truth lies in between, one would imagine. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with the film’s portrayal of Thailand — after all, the country seems to be comfortable with its somewhat bland image — it’s more disturbing when the film itself can’t decide. Present any version of yourself. to the world

At various stages, Thai Massage is a gardener-type melodrama, a small-town comedy, a fish-out-of-water physics, and then, just when you thought it couldn’t be pivoted, an adventure about living your life. It’s a movie. better life Juggling these tones would be a challenge for any film, let alone one made by Imtiaz Ali.

Gajraj Rao The star plays the old widow Atmaram Dubey, who one day realizes that she has trouble getting married. Along with his grief, this haunts him so much that he tries to jump off a bridge one night. He is sidelined by a young lot, played by Devindu, who assures him that there is no ‘samsya’ they cannot solve together.

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Atmaram spills his guts, and together, they come up with a game plan. Of course, he cannot seek the services of a sex worker in his home – the film is set in Ujjain, by the way, where everyone knows everyone – and so, influenced by his new friend, Uthmaram decides to secretly . Travel to Thailand and take part in some local culture. Just kidding, he wants to ‘Boom Boom’.


But it happens after the break, which might make you (rightly) wonder how the movie is going to spend the previous hour or so. There is no way to sugar coat; It basically wastes everyone’s time, including your own. There is a mopey framing device in which Atmaram narrates his adventures to his two unhappy sons, and a subplot about Atmaram’s trial-and-error approach to curing his erectile dysfunction. But the film really comes into its own after Atmaram lands in Bangkok.

There, he meets a few colorful characters, who become his companions in this exotic new land. Atmar, you must remember, never traveled outside his district, only outside the country. And after a rough first half that offers little to write home about, Thai Massage’s second half…offers more of the same, albeit in a more purposeful way. There is an interesting subplot involving a carefree young Russian woman with whom Atmaram forms a genuine friendship, but the resolution of this arc is deeply unsatisfying, as does the film’s attempt to address Atmaram’s strained relationship with his sons. Trying to open. But you have to hand it to Hadoval, though; Although he throws the ball many times, the act of netting does not end.

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Rao, however, is really good in the lead role, putting his charming stamp on a character who is clearly struggling with decades of conditioning, even as he explores new ideas, meets new people, and has life-changing new experiences. Has experience. Alina Zasubina also deserves credit for playing Rita, Atmaram’s Russian friend. She awakens something within Atmaram, and her presence empowers him to express himself freely, which is essentially a foreign concept to him, an Indian man. To its credit, the film doesn’t magically transform Atmaram into a different person at the end, which is surprisingly limited for a film that also features a rapping cab driver with dreadlocks.

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Thai massage continues Ali’s sudden fascination with sex. The filmmaker’s evolution has been strange to witness, given his lifelong tendency to see the women in his films not as potential romantic partners for his male counterparts, but essentially in video games. as non-playable characters, whose sole job is to point out the hero. the right way In many ways, the revival of Ali’s career was even stranger than the political awakening of Anubis Sinha, or the phase of He Who Must Not Be Named. But unlike the last one Dr. Arora: Gupta Rog Vishayagyawith which it shares a lot of similarities, Thai massage has a more delicate touch (even if it often feels like being trampled by a hunched man).

A very good version of the same story – the late-life redemption of a middle-class Indian man – is beautifully told. Sharmaj Namkin Earlier this year. A Thai massage might not warrant a trip to the cinema, but you could do a lot worse at home.

Thai massage
director – Mangesh Hadawal
the cast – Gajraj Rao, Devindu, Sunny Hinduja, Rajpal Yadav, Alina Zasubina
ranking – 2.5/5


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