This isn’t India’s first venture into the zombie genre, but it is the first zombie comedy to come out of Bollywood. Directors Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru, try to expand a niche film genre for the Hindi cinema-going audience with irreverent and sexually charged humor reminiscent of their film Delhi Belly, but fall short in humor and plot.
Go Goa Gone introduces us to three roommates, stoners Hardik (Kunal Khemu) and Luv (Vir Das), who are stuck in dead end jobs with their love and sex lives going nowhere, and straight-arrow best friend Bunny (Anand Tiwari) who is a dedicated salary worker.
After Luv is dumped by his girlfriend, Hardik manipulates Bunny into taking them on his business trip to Go Goa, so they can meet girls. Luv meets the vivacious Luna (Puja Gupta, former Miss India Universe 2007) and is immediately smitten. Luna invites him to a rave on a nearby island organized by the Russian mafia, where a new hardcore designer rave drug is introduced and turns the partakers into mindless, flesh-eating zombies.
Realizing their dilemma after a partygoer is devoured in front of them, Luv convinces his friends to help find Luna. Trudging through the dense woods they miraculously don’t come across any of the undead until after they manage to rescue Luna, who is hiding out in a bungalow on top of a hill. Shortly afterwards the four come face-to-face with Luna’s three former female cabin mates turned zombie. Instead of fleeing they decide to fight them. After all, “They’re only girls,” Hardik states. The fight scene turns silly, but it is one of the few times the movie is actually amusing after the undead rise.
Of course our three inept friends are out of their depth and in need of rescue. Help comes in the form of Boris (Saif Ali Khan) and his right-hand henchman Nikolia (Ross Bucharn). The two Russian mobsters that hosted the rave know how to eliminate zombies, and as Boris likes to say throughout the remainder of the film, “I kill dead people.”
Realizing they can escape the island by taking the boat that Luv, Hardik and Bunny arrived in, the group heads to the beach, only to find that it has drifted out to sea with Hardik’s one night stand still aboard.
The remainder of the film deals with the group avoiding the hundreds of undead in repetitive scenes and dialog, while waiting for the boat to circle the island in an attempt to get Hardik’s undead lover off the skiff so they all can escape. And this is where the script falters, failing to flesh-out a budding love story between Luv and Luna, or any character development of any of the survivors. You begin not to care if any of them make it off the island alive, with exception to Nikolia. He is the only character you feel empathy for after he is bitten. This is because the Russian henchman, adeptly played by Bucharn, has no dialog and uses acting alone to effectively express himself. Sometimes silence is golden.
The movie starts out promisingly but falters midway through. It is not a bad film but neither is it a satisfying zom-com. It has very little gore and was given what is equivalent to a PG-13 rating in North America.
Go Goa Gone maybe funny to those among urban audiences in India, but it lacks universal appeal and zom-com fans overseas may find this film only amusing at times.
Now for the ratings…
Zombie Content: 5 – An island filled with the undead that never appearing menacing.
Entertainment Value: 5 – Many class jokes that only hip urban Hindi gets will get with dialog that at times borderlines on dumbness.
Defense and Tactics: 5 – Plenty of shoot ‘em ups and a few knifings. You may enjoy the defensive tactic with the flashlight, but the rest is mostly standard stuff.
Overall Rating: 15 points out of a possible 30 gives this a 5.0 rating. Too much repetitiveness in the zombies chasing the survivors without making each scene different. Gone Goa Gone never makes us care nor does it truly entertain to be anything more than a zom-com to watch when you are truly bored.
Go Goa Gone
Directed by Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru
Written by Krishna D.K. (story), Kunal Khemu (dialogue) + 4 others
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das
Run Time: 111 minutes
Release Date: Limited US release May 2013, DVD release Aug. 2013 / UK DVD release March 2013.