The two things that emerge from this haze of vapid and vaporous humor is the camera's commitment to the leading lady's figure and the director's obsession with food.
If the camera isn't focusing on Ms Sherawat, the director is busy creeping up on his characters biting, crunching, snacking and salivating as they gorge on edibles.
"Kis Kis Ki Kismat" is the most aberrant comedy that man has ever committed to celluloid. All the dialogue, scenes and situations seem to have been rendered in a mood of reckless abandon.
Director Govind Menon had earlier done two straight-off Hollywood rip-offs ("Danger" and "Khwahish"). In "Kis Kis Ki Kismat", he goes original. Going by the results, you wish Menon hadn't.
The supposed satire is triggered off by the bullish hi-jinks of a stockbroker, inventively named Hasmukh Mehta. All resemblance to Harshad Mehta is purely intentional. And so is the fatuous characterization.
A bit of the problem originates from Dharmendra's poor parody of a man whose riches are being squandered by his spendthrift wife (Rati Agnihotri) and a nerdish numbskull son (Siddharth Makkar).
From Hrishikesh Mukhejee's "Chupke Chupke" to Raj Kumar Kohli's "Naukar Biwi Ka", Dharmendra is done with his quota of fun. In this film, he's a tragic shadow of the frolicsome comic virtuoso he once used to be, reduced in Sherawat's shallow company to mouthing lines like, "It's gone up."
Whether it's the sex or the sensex, director Menon is equally out of his depths. He seems to have conceived the entire project to spotlight Sherawat as an indigenous Marilyn Monroe.
But sorry, that's a no show. Sherawat sings and dances in Broadway-styled musical numbers (set to the most atonal compositions ever created for Hindi cinema). She even lets her skirt fly up in the air, a la Monroe in "The Seven Year Itch".
But Mallika's Monroe act is as exciting as watching an air hostess brief passengers on how to put on their life jackets. Her comic timing is downright pathetic. Batting her eyelids at poor Dharmendra or kissing his screen son (played by a newcomer), the actress goes from "Murder" to hara-kiri in this comedy of gross errors and mirthful misdemeanors.
Except for scant exchanges between Dharmendra and Agnihotri on the virtues of economic frugality (Paresh Rawal and Shoma Anand were far funnier in Priyadarshan's "Hungama"), there isn't a single funny line in this exasperatingly out-of-step comic travesty.
Menon cannibalizes from real-life characters. There's a journalist named Khalid (played by Kurush Deboo, the medico who sits in at the exams for Munnabhai), who's supposed to be sniffing around for a scoop on the stockbroker and his supposed girlfriend who happen to be in the same hotel at the same time.
All you can sniff out of this snuffed-out satire on the wages of affluence is the complete lack of grace in the pace. The humour is all in-your-face, and shockingly inept.
Are we expected to laugh at a hotelier Sheikh (Satish Shah, struggling to stay afloat in a leaky buxom boat) who speaks wrong Hindi and Urdu? Or at a cake-throwing binge at a Macdonald's (who pays for the mess?)
Or at a necklace that flies across the air and trips our Monroe?
Less easy to comprehend is the reason for making this film. Forget about Sherawat's kismet...she has fans in China now. I am sure they'll enjoy the comedy. But why subject Dharmendra to such stuff? What have we done to deserve this marathon of misguided mirth?