After last week’s Turkish delight “Mama’s Boy”, I wanted to explore more Turkish comedies, which this week led me to this absurdly named movie “Bir Baba Hindu”. Although it is listed under IMDB’s “Action, adventure, comedy” section, the 2016 release is a goofy slapstick that makes fun of everything Indian—including Bollywood, Hindu religion and culture, as well as India’s liberator Mahatma Gandhi. All in good humor and only borderline offensive tone.
So in Bir Baba Hindu, Fadil (Sermiyan Midyat)—a disillusioned gangster who overestimates his power and labels himself ‘Godfadil’—falls in love with his yoga teacher Gundhi (Nicole Faria). He is yet to confess his love when a turban-wearing Punjabi gang kidnaps her.
Fadil finds Gundhi has been taken to Mumbai and travels there with his trusted henchman Hulusi (Burak Satibol) in her search. There, to his shock, he discovers that Gundhi is the daughter of the biggest gangster in Mumbai, Jagadamba (Füsun Demirel), who has pledged her in marriage to someone else, and who also hates Fadil’s Turkish mafia family.
I haven’t watched many Turkish movies to be able to make a broad generalization, but BBH’s plot resembles that of a typical Indian film—especially one from down South. After a conflict is introduced, the movie revolves around Fadil trying to solve it and get back Gundhi, while there’s plenty of resistance from all sides.
Now as clichéd as the storyline sounds, the execution makes BBH interesting, to say the least. I mean, how many times have we seen Turkish actors dance to Bollywoodish music? Yes, there are plenty of song and dance sequences in BBH, as well as many other stereotypical Bollywood elements, all done to look like a spoof. The humor quotient in BBH mainly comes from absurdity, stereotyping and over-generalization, and given that Indian cinema is no less guilty of stereotyping Arabs, this Turkish film serves its own form of justice.
With comedy as its forte, BBH first takes a dig at India’s love for cows. While cows are worshipped in most parts of the country, they’re also left astray to starve and get hit by vehicles on busy roads. BBH takes more than just a light stab at this hypocrisy and has a whole comedy number dedicated to cows.
Then, we find out Gundhi is not a Turkish name but a misnomer for Gandhi. Her family wanted to name her after the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi but there’s a spelling error while registering her birth and she ends up being called Gundhi forever.
Again, cow and Gandhi are not the only things about India that BBH mock. It attacks India’s people, customs, and traditions, but again, there is nothing truly offensive, and nothing that has not already been done by Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Despite heavy ridiculing and derision, the film is easy on the eyes.
As for the filmmaking, BBH does fall short in comparison to Mama’s Boy on various fronts. Sermiyan Midyat also takes credit for writing and directing the film, besides playing the lead role, and as such has too many things to do. There’s a feeling of hastiness in the script that doesn’t allow the audience to sit back and enjoy its humorous skits. The screenplay has many unwanted branches stemming from an already weak trunk and there are numerous jerks and jumps that don’t let the audience settle.
On the acting front, nothing stands out. Everyone’s doing their bit to make the film coherent, but the script and direction definitely hamper their efforts. Again, not having enough Turkish movie experience stops me from commenting on BBH’s acting in comparison to industry standards, but as a global audience, I think its tad below average on this one.
Who should watch it?
Despite all its shortcomings, BBH doesn’t deserve the 2.8/10 rating it has on IMDB. Maybe that has to do with a number of Indians taking offense at its theme. But for us neutrals BBH is definitely an enjoyable, nonsensical parody movie that is enjoyable while it lasts.