Where the horror genre is concerned, Bollywood has invariably missed the mark, with films so bad they are unintentionally funny. Breaking with convention and obliterating all memory of its dubious precursors, Go Goa Gone heralds the advent, not only of a new genre in Hindi cinema, but a new age of unpretentious, unapologetic filmmaking for a free-thinking, liberal, youth audience, with nothing on their mind but a good time.
The film opens with the very deliberately named Luv (Vir Das) and Hardik (Kunal Khemu), watching a questionable 'Thriller'-inspired Bollywood dance sequence while stoned. With women, booze and drugs being their main preoccupation, Luv's intention to clean up his act is short-lived when he finds his girlfriend has been cheating on him. When Hardik loses his job after being discovered by his boss balancing half-naked on a window ledge, Bunny's (Anand Tiwari) work trip to Goa becomes a good excuse for a drug-fuelled getaway. An invitation to a secret rave organised by a Russian mafia boss ends in carnage, as guests pop luminous pills that turn them into zombies. With the help of Zombie Hunter Boris (Saif Ali Khan), Luv, Hardik and Bunny make a perilous bid to escape with their lives.
Zombies provide the perfect canvas for any number of comic scenarios to unfold, for the simple reason that anything goes. Heads are indiscriminately blown off, bodies are casually mowed down in their path and even a fistfight with a girl is okay when she's the undead. Hell, you can even choose between "the hot one, the pissed-off one and the fat one", without fearing charges of misogyny. It's an example of just the kind of irreverent dialogue, executed with the right dose of impudence that makes this so much more than just a gore-fest.
There's a perfect interplay between Das, Khemu and Tiwari and it's the wry comic exchanges between them which ensure that, amidst the chaos of the occasionally lumbering blood-letting, the bromance stays central to the story. Khemu manages to steal the spotlight as the unashamed, dumb-as-he looks chancer. His attempts to woo love interest Luna, his dubious deals with God and a pastiche on the Bollywood dancing-around-trees phenomenon are scene-stealers.
Saif Ali Khan deserves special mention for his endlessly watchable turn as Boris the fake Russian invested with a deadly combination of raw machismo, comedy and cool, evident every time he enters the frame.
Khan should also be applauded for having the nerve to take on this genre as a producer, his insistence on high-end visual FX to create convincing zombies enabling him to pull it off as well as he does his Russian accent.
While subtly referencing films such as Shaun of the Dead, the writers stay true to the genre, without ever resorting to plagiarism or succumbing to the usual conventions of Bollywood that would surely have been the death-knell of the film, and still it is suitably 'desi', bolstered by an infectious soundtrack which perfectly sets the tone.
With f-bombs flying as flagrantly as bullets, there's no room here for moralising about violence or the negative influence on the youth. This is a pure, unadulterated, escapist joyride, replete with guts, gore and the funniest and foulest one-liners you've seen in Bollywood since Delhi Belly.
"A monster of a hit," "It will blow your mind," "You'll die laughing" - all the lame puns fit, but happily there are none in this film. Go Goa Gone is a trippy, fun-fuelled zombie escapade worthy of cult status. Go see it!