If I wrote this as a review it would merely be a whiny rant about why the movie was kind of, ever so awful. I would give away a little of the shoddily construed plot and the mind-numbing surprises it has to offer. In a vain attempt to flaunt, I would use words like insipid, atrocious and egregious to describe something that doesn’t merit the spending of those words. I would defy customary norms and berate the little of acting that the movie has, because the performance of the female actresses really demands such a treatment. Hence, I will not be doing that. If you have seen the movie, you would know why it fails in such a spectacular manner in trying to do whatever it was trying to. If you haven’t, then here is all the review you would need.
That being sorted, this self-lauding zom-com was inevitable in ways. Bollywood has meandered through various forms of dash-coms till now – a fact that history pays testimony to – so it only comes as natural when it decides to try this flavour of the universally tasted pancake as well. Except that, for multifarious reasons, it was never bound to work. Primary of these is that the inspiration that a zom-com would take would stretch to the point of being an influence before culminating in an absolute work of plagiarism. The ideology itself of creating a place that is flooding with flesh-eating zombies has been incepted from English cinema. They tried this in 1932. Ever since that period of time, this genre has undergone a massive change metamorphosis through films like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead and so on till the relatively contemporaneous BraindeadShaun of the Dead and Zombieland. It’s a concept that has been worked upon extensively.
At this point of time, Bollywood decides to adopt it, the motif being obvious – to enthral naïve audiences who haven’t heard of the aforementioned names and present them with something as ‘fresh’ as a dewdrop on a blade of grass at dawn. It’s a problem that plagues almost everything that makes an earning at the theatres. Does this create something remarkable in its originality, stunning in its audacity and laudable in its witticism? No. Does this make a farrago of different inspirations and put in a pinch of unwarranted romance to make it truly Indian? Precisely. To put this in a sentence – considering the broth of complacency Hindi cinema has fed itself with, there remains very little reason for it to want to do something truly different. Thus, in the absence of tangible incentives to try and break new grounds, what we obtain is a hollow rip-off of things we have seen before. A scene that has Vir Das chucking knives resembles Simon Pegg and Nick Frost chucking CDs at the zombie. The idea of confound the zombies by pretending to be one of them has been heavily inspired from Shaun of the Dead. Saif plays the eventually sacrificial Tallahassee from Zombieland. It keeps occurring without the makers caring an ounce about it because it is still going to sell and make people laugh. Which is a predicament – a standard zom-com has been done a million times before and Bollywood will do the same in a manner a lot worse than the original, which is irksome on levels both of originality and quality. That does not make for a very good movie.
The audience is to blame too, of course. We cannot be allowed to abscond scot-free without shouldering some of the guilt. Considering how largely orthodox the populace of India is, it puts severe limitations on the amount of gore, guts and viscera that a movie might be permitted to display. These objects serve as essential bodily functions for a zombie-flick. You want to see the man’s insides being swallowed greedily, blood dripping down the zombie’s throat and its organs being popped out by a bullet or two. Go Goa Gone provides this in places, but the quality is nowhere as close as necessary. Instead, scenes often turn into a red, animated still image when Buris (Saif) knifes a zombie in the head or shoots on in the face. The Indian audience is not ready for all-out guns-blazing butt-on-fire action that plays no holds barred. Or so they want us to believe. The movie keeps its decency intact while dealing with zombies and that is not how we want our beloved braineaters to be treated. That leaves a sense of incompleteness that comes as understandable; but that won’t prevent me from holding it against the film.
In a Bollywood movie of any sort, a flame bonfire of romance is inevitable, even if it has no place in a movie that should only be centred on zombies and their death. But the whistling, guffawing and uncouth majority need it to keep their testosterones satisfied and the movie in question obliges them with the same. The movie starts off with Vir talking about how much he loves a woman and their relationship ending with her dumping him (surprise!). The crowd mental-boos. Vir asks her to fuck-off. The crowd verbal-woohoos. The woman never returns to the movie in the form of a zombie for half a second, only to remain forgotten before and after. The only female in the movie that has been treated in a manner more dignified that the background trees is often seen as an object of sexual fulfilment by the two friends jostling for her. There are scenes of attempted emotional bonding by both with her. Heart-to-heart conversations, spilling of ones’ painful past, words of sympathy – none of which lead anywhere or have any purpose. But they aren’t merely futile – by being placed in a zombie movie, they take away what little tension the film had managed to build. The romance is distinctly milquetoast and warrants absolutely ZERO screen-time. Go Goa Gone gives a lot more than that.
What hurts me the most is the movie’s misplaced conception of a ‘zombie.’ They aren’t creatures who have been infected by virus that have turned them into cannibalistic freak-spawns of the devil. They are merely dudes and dudess who took a wrong drug. That turns them mental by giving them more pleasure than their body was built to handle. The mode of stoppage provided is equally ingenuous – I wouldn’t spoil that moment for you if you’re planning to see it. Go Goa Gone reduces zombies to glazed-eyed, face-painted creatures who walk like an inebriated person and have an insatiable penchant for growling. They are incredibly daft – that being their defining characteristic. Their draught of intellect spreads to such an extent that you could avoid their attention by simply playing dead or climbing up a tree. Sense of smell, sense of looking around, sense of anything – nada. They walk, eat and can be stopped in a manner that is more preposterous than Kryptonite stopping Superman. They lack characterisation of any sort, which never really creates any sense of genuine danger.
Bollywood wraps it up neatly, ever a voyager of endings that glow as bright as sunshine and daisies. The film drags you along its intended ups and downs as you predict its movements like a palm reader. That’s another thing about zom-coms, this one and all the others that will follow suit in the future – since almost everything foreseeable has been seen and done, there is very little scope for improvement in an industry that has characteristically proven to be as lazy as complacent as Snorlax in such matters. The comedy is all forced and does not flow naturally; a shortcoming that movies see no reason to get over because people will still roll down their seats in fits of laughter even if they see a man slipping on a banana peel. As it culminated with the possibility of a potential sequel, Go Goa Gone presented a brutal realization – this industry is going nowhere till the people who run it and the people who make it run change. The relationship is incestuous in nature and incest offers little opportunity or reasons for checking other options out.