If you close your eyes, "Bunty Berman Presents..." might be one of Hollywood's lesser demi-classic musical comedies from the '40s. Besides the Tin Pan Alley tunes and slurpy celestial choruses, the new musical has tap routines at the least logical times, hokey gangsters and romantics who don't tie bows around their hearts until the finale.
But instead of the MGM lion, the studio logo has a cow. You see, this is a musical spoof of Bollywood movies, which means lyrics about castes and Hindi chakras. It would be lovely to be able to say the show, by and starring Olivier-winning playwright Ayub Khan Din, lived up to its goofy, offbeat intentions.
There is a charming combination of professionalism and an intentionally homemade quality in the musical about a failing movie studio and an aging hero (the endearingly outrageous Sorab Wadia). But Din, whose "East Is East" and "Rafta, Rafta..." identified a vibrant voice with new stories to tell, is less interesting when just being silly. Despite Scott Elliott's insistently ambitious directing, this is a project that just may be more fun to perform than to endure.
WHAT "Bunty Berman Presents..."
WHERE Acorn Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St.
INFO $61.25; 212-239- 6200; thenewgroup.org
BOTTOM LINE Sporadically amusing Bollywood spoof