An RTDM exclusive. Remember you heard this here first. I was one of the privileged few that sat through the premier of ” Da Vinci Da Gupt Katha” at the Dannes (pronounced Daance as in Disco Daance) festival held every year at Ooty—-and in a word (okay two words) —it rocked.
Mithun Chakraborty, the greatest actor alive, plays Krishnan Iyer, Ph.D. No he is not the nariyel paani wala from Agneepath but a professor of symbiology at Lund University. The movie opens with Krishnan Iyer delivering a lecture to the brightest students of the world in Paris explaining the origin of the symbol “420”.
At the same time, the curator of the Louvre museum, Kamana (Rakhi Sawant) is being shot (using a gun that is) by a mysterious albino assailant (Bob Cristo) who keeps on whispering “Main Hindoostan ki tubahi kar doonga”. He walks away strangely without finishing the act —- leaving the voluptuous curator three-quarters dead. Knowing she has only a few minutes to live, Ms. Sawant’s character starts stripping in super slow motion—desperate to send a message to the only man who understands nudity, now that Raj Kapoor is dead.
As the lecture finishes and he is mobbed by autograph seekers, Prof Iyer is approached by a French policeman who whisks him away ostensibly to make sense of the bizarre murder. The professor is ushered into the Louvre where he sees Kamana lying nude in a pose that censor boards would have baulked passing a year ago. The police captain in charge of the crime scene, Capt. Bulli played by Mukesh Rishi (who subtly shows his French pedigree by giving the audience glimpses of his VIP Frenchie elastic ala Saif in “Salaam Namaste”) wants Iyer to interpret the message the dead lady was trying to send : a cryptic code written in tomato ketchup that reads “d3669 ”
This is when Amisha Patel playing the role of Sophie NoBrain, the famous police cryptologist barges in. She surreptitiously hands Iyer a visiting card which has a 1 900 number ($2.99/minute + tax) scribbled on it. Wasting no time he calls it to hear NoBrain’s voice telling him, in that hushed Amishanian whisper, to not make any expression of alarm and come meet her in the ladies restroom.
Prof. Iyer, used to such urgent encounters with strangers in rest rooms, hurries to the meeting place making some excuse to Capt. Bulli. After all seeing Kamana that way has set off all sorts of thoughts in his head. But no. Things are quite different.
NoBrain warns him of the grave danger Prof Iyer is in. The French captain had not brought him in as an advisor but as the prime suspect. They have no intention of letting Iyer walk out of the museum unarrested. Because there is something Iyer does not know–a line that Kamana wrote which the police have wiped away before he came.
It said “I need Iyer badly”.
Professor Iyer smiles slightly. He had deduced Kamana’s intentions long ago—this was merely a confirmation. After all who did not “need” him?
NoBrain, no mean cryptologist tells Iyer her interpretation of the symbols with wide-eyed wonder.
“Sir, 3, 6 and 9 are in Arithmetic progression. Also 3 + 6= 9. 666 means the devil and we all know that 9 can be read as 6. Also “d” can also be looked upon as 9 after some transformation geometry”.
Iyer is willing to have nothing of it.
“Bewakoof nari. Kitne durgandh a rahee teri shareer se. d3669 actually should be read as 36d and 69—-the only two alphanumeric concepts Rakhi Sawant or what’s-her-name-in-this-silly-movie was aware of. That’s why she wrote them down before she died. Logic use logic. Do you think this is a story written by that nonsense person Dan Brown where a person who has been shot can still think clearly and construct elaborate puzzles? Not even Prabhu-ji can write the Fibonacci series after a belly full of lead.
Abh chal bahoot ho gya natak, de de chummi chummi.” (English: Enough talk. Now give me a kiss.)
NoBrain smiles coyly: “But sir, the French police”.
Iyer says:” Use your brain. Cops. A lovely lass. Hero needs to make a get-a-away.”
NoBrain gets the message. Soon she starts dancing a seductive number, after a costume change—the superhit ” Char gaya upar re”. Two backup dancers repeating “Sha la” emerge from the shady nooks and crannies of the Louvre —one is called Mona and the other, yes you guessed it, Lisa. More follow. The French police are lost in music and lust and Iyer escapes through the window.
Prof Iyer and NoBrain are soon on the run—-from a strangely obsessed Capt Bulli, the sinister “Jhakas Dei”, an ultra-secret cult of Rajanikant fans, a deadly Swiss banker (Shakti Kapoor) with the lecherous “Khol do khol do account khol do” and a mysterious person determined to find out the Great Secret that Kamana gave her life for —a person who is not seen, nor heard only smelt — the “Fart-eacher”. (Hint: In this context, was the “I need Iyer badly” actually “I need air badly”?—puzzles puzzles all around)
Careening from one crisis to another, they alight at the mansion of an old friend of Prof Iyer: Sir JavaBean, the foremost expert on secrets, government conspiracies and nudity. The movie moves up a notch as Sir JavaBean’s eccentric British drollness is brought to life by Feroze Khan with his bald pate, cowboy hat and boots and the two cheetahs who sit on his knees.
And so begins the most intellectually stimulating part of the movie where Prof Iyer and Sir JavaBean try to decipher the reason why Prof Iyer and NoBrain are being pursued. What deadly secret have they stumbled upon? —a secret so explosive that it can shake the foundations of human civilization, a secret that is encoded in the “gupt katha” of Da Vinci, Darwin and Dino Moria as also in the incoherent mumblings of Arjun Singh.
Is it the affair Mumbai’s biggest star had with a bisexual leading lady?
Is it the identity of a leading man who has yet to come out of the closet?
Is it the location of the royal treasure of Jaipur that disappeared during the Emergency?
Is it actually a top Bollywood actress in that MMS clip we all have?
Is it the secret of Dev Anand’s energy?
Is it the true nationality of Arundhati Roy?
Well if I told you that, I would be Taran Adarsh—the movie reviewer from hell whose mission in this world is to divulge the endings of all movies and classify celluloid products as either “for the classes” or “for the masses”.
Thankfully, I am not. So I shall stop now, leaving you at the precipice of suspense.
As Iyer (who remember is Mithun-da the great) says to NoBrain: ” Yeh secret main itna lava hain, ki sunoge to tumhare kaan ke parde jaal jayenge, tumhare haathon se hosh ke kabootar ur jayenge“. [This secret packs so much hot magma in it that once you hear it your eardrums will undergo spontaneous combustion and the pigeons of your senses will go “gutar gutar”]
Yes it’s that shocking.