Nerdy Sid (John Abraham) lives in London, works at a bookshop that sells only Indian books & lives with Omar (Raghu Ram) & his unwed but pregnant sister Aaliya (Alishka Varde). He also has a dominating airhostess girlfriend Krutika (Manasi Scott) who's quite unpopular amongst his friends and is often referred to as "Kutika". Due to some mistake he's assigned the old phone number of a suicide helpline apparently only for Indians (they perhaps do not give a hoot if anyone else wants to kill themselves). He receives calls through the night (again apparently because their statistics state that most suicides happen in the night, hence the agency works only in the "graveyard shift", how typically Indian!!! Jai B.P.O.!!!). When the mistake is identified, Sid chooses to continue taking calls and dissuade people from taking their lives (How the agency allows an untrained person to do so is beyond my understanding).
On one such call he stays awake the whole night and saves the life of Mishka (Pahki). Slowly from then on he becomes her confidant and gives her hope to live. He starts to fall for her but then Mishka happens to come to the bookshop where Sid works. He recognizes her but since she doesn't know his name, his identity is still a mystery to her. Over the phone, he starts to push her towards the real Sid and she too starts to fall for him slowly but surely (All the other callers can jump off the roof; Sid will talk to Mishka only the whole night). But how long will this facade carry on? How will Mishka react when she comes to know about who the person on the other end of the line really is?
The movie has a breezy tone to it but with a running length of nearly three hours the plot plateaus out pretty soon. You expect things to get interesting but Tyrewala expects the banter and camaraderie between the various characters to carry the story forward; which works for most part but cannot cover for the mundane plot. The characters are likeable enough and mostly seem realistic (according to Hindi film standards) which makes their interactions seem genuine.
The sub-plot about Aaliya's Brit boyfriend Nick and his incessant habit of asking her for marriage gets tiresome pretty soon. Even the introduction of Madhavan as Mishka's ex seems more than a little pointless.
I could very clearly see Abbas Tyrewala's ode to 'Notting Hill' (right from the Bookshop, to the street outside, to the group of friends & even the bumbling & mumbling Sid) & every Richard Curtis British Rom-Com ever made. I say an ode cause Tyrewala's been smart enough not to copy outright but place enough indications for his inspirations.
I quite liked a few songs especially 'Do Nishaaniyan'. The background score nicely accentuates the onscreen happenings and has a nice easy touch to it. London has been captured well though yet again the makers stick to a few tried and chosen locations.
John Abraham is agreeable enough as the mumbling nerd but a real actor could have made a ton of a difference. Pakhi looks cute and has a certain vulnerability that she uses well to express her character. Raghu Ram does a far better job than I expected him to. Madhavan looks constipated throughout. Omar Khan who plays Amit, another guy who works in the bookshop, gets a few priceless comic situations.
'Jhoota Hi Sahi' inspite of being far too long and repetitive in parts; has its moments. It works primarily because of the actors and their grounded yet witty banter.view less