GOLMAAL AGAIN

Reliance Entertainment, Mangal Murti Films and Rohit Shetty Picturez’s Golmaal Again is a horror comedy.

Gopal (Ajay Devgan), Madhav (Arshad Warsi), Lucky (Tusshar Kapoor), Laxman (Shreyas Talpade) and Laxman (Kunal Kemmu) had been raised in their childhood, in an orphanage run by Jamnadas (Uday Tikekar) in Ooty. The five children had a dear friend in young Khushi (Anaya). Actually, Khushi had been found by young Gopal (Zubain) abandoned at the gate of the orphanage as a new-born. The five friends had run away from the orphanage even while they were kids but after growing up, they still had a soft corner for Jamnadas and his orphanage. While Gopal and Laxman (Shreyas) were together, Madhav, Lucky (who can’t speak) and the other Laxman (Kunal) stayed together.

Gopal is a he-man physically but is terribly scared of ghosts. As luck would have it, the five childhood friends meet in Ooty once again, on the thirteenth day ceremony of late Jamnadas. Gopal and Laxman are always at loggerheads with Madhav, Lucky and Laxman. The five meet Anna (Tabu) and Damini (Parineeti Chopra) in Ooty. Anna is the librarian and also looks after the orphanage, after Jamnadas’ demise. She has the rare ability of seeing and talking to ghosts.

By quirk of fate, Gopal and Laxman have to live in the bungalow owned by Colonel Chauhan (Sachin Khedekar), near the orphanage. The bungalow is known to be haunted but Anna convinces Gopal that she and Damini would take care of him and not let him be harmed.

Meanwhile, builder Vasu Reddy (Prakash Raj) and Dubai-based Nikhil (Neil Nitin Mukesh) have fraudulently acquired the orphanage as they want to construct a building on the huge plot of land by displacing the orphans and sending them to another city. Nikhil is Jamnadas’nephew.

Vasu Reddy hires the services of Vasooli (Mukesh Tiwari) to have the inhabitants of Colonel’s bungalow vacated as he is also eyeing the bungalow. In turn, Vasooli asks Madhav, Lucky and Laxman to scare the daylights out of Gopal and Laxman so that they would run away from Colonel’s bungalow.

Even while the three friends are in the process of frightening away their two friends-turned-foes, Gopal has developed a fondness for Damini which is turning into love. Just on the day Gopal is set to express his love to Damini, the five friends learn about a horrific truth. They also learn that whom they think is Damini, is actually their childhood friend, Khushi. They are told that Khushi had, as a child, been adopted by Colonel Chauhan.

Anyway, the horrific truth prompts the five friends to unite and bring the truth in front of the world. What is the horrifying truth? Do the five friends succeed in bringing the truth in front of the world? What happens to the budding romance between Gopal and Damini/Khushi? Are Vasu Reddy and Nikhil successful in their evil plans of demolishing the orphanage and usurping Colonel Chauhan’s bungalow?

Rohit Shetty’s story is funny and cares little for logic – something he makes clear right at the beginning. Amidst all the funny characters in the story and all the fun and frolic, he brings in an emotional track when the five friends get hold of Khushi’s diary.

Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay is an interesting assemblage of funny incidents aimed at making the audience laugh. Of course, the lack of logic in the story and screenplay would irritate the class audience at times but the masses and families will be so completely taken in by the funny anecdotes that they would not question the lack of logic. In particular, a few of Sajawal’s sequences are simply hilarious and will bring the house down with laughter. For instance, the entire sequence where Gopal runs out of the Colonel’s bungalow but the other friends and Pappi (Johny Lever) are trapped inside and then, Babli (Sanjay Mishra) and Vasooli also join them is outstanding. Similarly, the sequence in which Pandu/Baba (Vrajesh Hirjee) scares Vasu Reddy, and the sequence in which Vasu Reddy addresses the orphans are hilarious. Equally hilarious are the scenes of Pappi blabbering nonsense when he has a memory loss. The sequence in which Anna pretends to be a tantrik who can ward off evil spirits is also very funny. The track of Nana Patekar is a masterstroke. However, the climax is not very effective and, in fact, leaves the audience a bit dissatisfied.

Farhad-Sajid’s dialogues complement Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay beautifully, adding greatly to the humour.

Ajay Devgn acts with effortless ease and delivers a fine performance as Gopal. He evokes a lot of laughter in the scenes in which he is shown to be scared and also when he is coy. Tabu is restrained as Anna. She looks pretty. Arshad Warsi is funny as Madhav. His sense of timing is good. Shreyas Talpade, as Laxman, entertains with his lisping. His sense of timing is also superb. Tusshar Kapoor is endearing in his mute avtaar. Kunal Kemmu is amply funny and stands out in some scenes. Parineeti Chopra is lovely as Damini/Khushi. Neil Nitin Mukesh lends able support as Nikhil. Prakash Raj is outstanding in the role of Vasu Reddy.  He deserves distinction marks for a job effortlessly done. Johny Lever, as Pappi, brings the house down with laughter whenever he comes on the scene. Sanjay Mishra, as Babli, provides fantastic comic support. Vrajesh Hirjee shines in a brief role as Pandu/Baba. Mukesh Tiwari is lovely as Vasooli. Murali Sharma (as police inspector Dande), Vijay Patkar (as Dande’s assistant), Uday Tikekar (as Jamnadas) and Sachin Khedekar (as Colonel Chauhan) lend able support. Ashwini Kalsekar hardly gets any scope to act. Zubain (as young Gopal), Lakshya (as young Madhav), Ganesh (as young Laxman), Tirth (as young Laxman), Saud (as young Lucky), Anaya (as young Khushi), Ishika (as teenage Khushi) and Diksha Sharma (as young Anna) are alright. Nana Patekar’s voice acting is wonderful. His performance in the scene in which he appears physically is very nice.

Rohit Shetty’s direction is very good. He succeeds in presenting a laugh riot to his target audience. His narration is fast-paced and gives the viewers no time to think. Music (Amaal Malik, Thaman S., Abhishek Arora, Nucleya, Lijo George and DJ Chetas) is fair. Hit songs could have made a big difference to the film. Kumaar’s lyrics are okay. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya and Raju Khan) are fair. Amar Mohile’s background music is decent. Jomon T. John’s camerawork is excellent. Action scenes and stunts, designed by Rohit Shetty and choreographed by Sunil Rodrigues, are pretty exciting. Production design (by Swapnil Bhalerao, Tajamul Shaikh and Madhur Madhvan) is of a high standard. Bunty Nagi’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Golmaal Again is a very good entertainer and will do well at the ticket windows.

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SECRET SUPERSTAR

Aamir Khan Productions’ Secret Superstar (UA) is the story of a young girl from an orthodox Muslim family, who dreams of becoming a singer but her orthodox and strict father comes in the way of realisation of her dream.

Insia (Zaira Wasim), a Baroda-based school-going girl, hails from an extremely orthodox Muslim family where girls are meant to cook in the kitchen, keep the house, and look after their husband and children after marriage. They are not even expected to have a dream or aspirations of any kind. Insia’s father (Raj Arjun) is very strict and backward in his thinking. But Insia, a gifted singer, with only her golden voice and a guitar as her prized possessions, dreams of becoming a top singer. Her mother, Najma (Meher Vij), supports her but she (mother) knows, Insia would not be able to pursue her dream for too long as her father is strictly against girls being seen publicly, that too, in the world of entertainment. Further, Bombay, the city of dreams, seems to be out of their reach as they live in Baroda. Besides Insia and her parents, the family comprises Insia’s little brother, Guddu (Kabir Sajid), and a divorced paternal aunt (Farrukh Jaffer).

Insia is frustrated not just because she may never realise her dream of becoming a singer but also because she sees her mother being abused and beaten up by her dominating father day in and day out. The tolerant mother takes it all in her stride and resigns to her fate but she tries to do as much as she can to keep her two children happy. Like, she buys Insia a laptop one day, with the help of which Insia uploads the video of her first song for the public to hear. As Insia, clad in a burqua and face covered, keeps uploading songs, she becomes an internet sensation. People not just in India but from different parts of the world go bonkers over her voice. Since she keeps her identity a secret so that her father would not know about her singing videos, the media calls the singing sensation a Secret Superstar. Insia gets written about in newspapers and spoken about on TV channels but her identity remains a mystery, known only to her loving mother, little brother and Chintan (Tirth Sharma), a classmate who is in love with her.

Seeing the fire in her, Chintan tells her to contact music director Shakti Kumarr (Aamir Khan) in Bombay, because he has sent her a message of appreciation after watching her videos. But the young Insia has developed a sense of hatred towards the flashy music composer and, therefore, won’t even dream of contacting him. However, one day, Insia agrees to meet Shakti Kumarr because she has a selfish motive (other than singing) in meeting him. What is that selfish motive?

Soon thereafter, Shakti Kumarr invites Insia to Bombay to sing a song for his upcoming film. Insia travels to Bombay, records her song and returns to Baroda – all during her school hours. Chintan is the only one who knows about her Baroda trip which is, in fact, arranged by him.

Insia has to make a secret trip to Bombay once again the following week. Why?

Anyway, even as Insia sees the first ray of hope after having recorded her debut Bollywood song, she is soon devastated to learn that she may after all not be able to make singing her career. Why? Is it because her father won’t allow her to sing? Does her father get to know that she has sung a song for a film? What is it that convinces Insia that she may have to bid goodbye to singing?

What happens finally? Does Insia sacrifice her dream or does she pursue it? Does her mother help her in realising her dream or does she ask her to be her father’s obedient child? Does her father have a change of heart?

Advait Chandan has penned a lovely story about the dreams and aspirations of a young girl and about how her orthodox surroundings come in the way of the realisation of those dreams. His story is a good mix of the traditional and the modern because Insia’s father is very old-fashioned while she herself is a modern girl who uses the internet to gain popularity. The stark contrast makes the film appealing to the youth as much as to the older generation. Advait’s screenplay is wholesome as the film has family emotions, drama, music and a lot of comedy and humour. The comedy and humour – provided by music director Shakti Kumarr’s character – actually make the otherwise uni-dimensional drama, multi-dimensional and wholesome.

The best part of Advait’s screenplay is that it keeps the audience hooked on to the drama right from the start till the very end. The sub-plots are so interesting and engaging that they completely consume the audience. As for the emotions, they will evoke tears from the eyes of the viewers on several occasions. There are two climaxes in the film. The first climax is a family drama and it is absolutely exhilarating. In fact, there would be loud rounds of applause during the first climax and, of course, at the end of it. The second climax is a veritable tear-jerker and it would activate the viewers’ tear ducts. There are several goosebump moments in the second climax, especially when the background music (playing the tune of the film’s song, ‘Main kaun hoon’) heightens the impact of the moment and when Insia reveals her identity by doing something defiantly. The cinemas would resonate with thunderous applause and whistles in the final climax.

Shakti Kumarr’s comedy is fantastic. Whether it is his telephonic conversations or his face-to-face interactions, his comedy is often hilarious and adds a whole new dimension to the drama and the film. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that a uni-dimensional drama gets converted into a wholesome film because of the character of Shakti Kumarr.

Advait Chandan’s dialogues are extraordinary and several of them (like, for instance, the dialogue at the end of the first climax at Bombay airport) are absolutely clapworthy.

All in all, debut-making writer-director Advait Chandan has penned a mind-blowing script.

Zaira Wasim lives the role of Insia. She gives her all to the character and delivers a heartfelt performance. So lovely is her performance that it would seem as if she were born to play the role. There is not a single scene in which she doesn’t stand out. She is especially excellent in her scenes of frustration. This performance would win Zaira plenty of accolades and awards. Hats off to Zaira Wasim for a job done with a rare understanding. Aamir Khan springs an extraordinary surprise in the role of music director Shakti Kumarr. His acting is so lovely, that too in a character that is so different from the characters Aamir has played in the past, that one can’t help but admire the genius. He is so funny that one doesn’t stop laughing when he is on the screen. His costumes and his entire look complement his character. By the end of the film, he makes the character lovable and endearing. Tirth Sharma shines in the role of Chintan. His awkwardness is his biggest asset and that makes him connect beautifully with the audience. Meher Vij lends terrific support as Insia’s mother, brave in a way, yet timid too. She will become a sought-after actress after this film. In the role of Insia’s father, Raj Arjun is first-rate. With limited dialogues, he terrifies the audience and makes himself completely repulsive, which is the need of the character. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the viewers would hate him from the core of their hearts, which is the need of the character. Farrukh Jaffer is lovely as Insia’s paternal aunt. As the little brother, Kabir Sajid is cute. Mona Ambegaonkar stands her own as Sheena Sabawala. In the tiny role of her receptionist, Dianne Commissariat makes her presence felt. Shamath Mazumdar (as recordist Ali), Manuj Sharma (as Ranjeet, aide of Shakti Kumarr), Dhruv Jagasia (as film producer), Rajan Kumar (as film lyricist) and Nikita Anand Mukherjee (as Insia’s tuition teacher) provide tremendous support. Jasmeet Singh Bhatia is too good as the television anchor. Singer Shaan (playing himself) adds star value. Singer Monali Thakur (playing herself) leaves a mark.

Advait Chandan’s direction is fabulous. His mature handling of the drama is proof that he knows his job and it belies the fact that this is his debut film. Kudos to him for extracting such great work from out of his actors. Amit Trivedi’s music is very good and the songs appeal more in the film. The ‘Main kaun hoon’ song and the ‘Teri hee bani boloongi main’ (slow version) are hit numbers and will become hugely popular. Kausar Munir’s lyrics are par excellence and they deserve distinction marks because they touch the heart. Song picturisations (by Rajeev Surti and Aadil Shaikh) go perfectly with the film’s mood. The last song (end credit titles) has been superbly choreographed by Saniya Malhotra. Amit Trivedi’s background music is outstanding. Anil Mehta does a swell job of the cinematography. His camera angles and shots enhance the emotions of the scenes. Suman Roy Mahapatra and Pallavi Bagga’s production designing is lovely. Hemanti Sarkar deserves full marks for the razor-sharp editing.

On the whole, Secret Superstar is a surefire superhit. It may have started slow but its supremely positive word of mouth will take it to great and unimaginable heights. Ladies and families, especially, will adore the film and ensure that it has a long run at the cinemas. The Muslim population, especial- ly the womenfolk, will identify beautifully with the characters and become the biggest publicists of the film. Business Overseas will also be superb.

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TU HAI MERA SUNDAY

Love And Faith Films’ Tu Hai Mera Sunday (UA) is a slice-of-life film. It is about five friends who find respite in the game of football.

Arjun (Barun Sobti), Rashid (Avi­nash Tiwary), Dominic (Vishal Malhotra), Mehernosh (Nakul Bhalla) and Jayesh (Jai Upadhyay) are five friends who love their game of football every Sunday at Juhu Beach as it helps them give vent to their frustrations. One day, a senile old man (Shiv Subrahmanyam) joins them in their game. He kicks the ball into the head of an influential person as a result of which there is soon a blanket ban on the sport of football on the beach.

The story now unfolds in the everyday lives of the five friends and the new entrant. Arjun meets Kavi (Shahana Goswami), the daughter of the senile old man. He baby-sits the old man to impress Kavi. Why, he even regularly takes the old man to play football with the rest of the team. Rashid meets a new neighbour, Tasneem (Rasika Duggal), and falls in love with the divorcee and her two disabled kids while himself taking tips on cleanliness from her. Dominic, bogged down by a domineering mother (Rama Joshi), also has to now face his insufferable brother, Dennis (Suhaas Ahuja), but the brother’s girlfriend, Vinta (Maanvi Gagroo), is a sweetheart. Mehernosh has a crush on his office colleague, Peppy (Pallavi Batra), and he takes such drastic steps for her that he loses his job. Jayesh is a share broker who is fed up of his large extended family which doesn’t let him live in peace.

All the abovenamed persons come together to tell a story of hope, love, happiness and friendship.

Milind Dhaimade has penned a story which is very real, with real characters. The story unravels the lives of the five friends and people around them, and this happens in a light and humorous manner. The characters in the story are all so relatable that the audience enjoys watching them and their journeys. Milind Dhaimade’s screenplay moves at an easy pace but never gets boring or preachy. In fact, the thread of humour that runs through his screenplay often evokes laughter and keeps the audience entertained and engaged throughout. Since the problems, frustrations and typicalities of each character are diffe­rent from those of the rest, the screenplay unfolds as a mix of varying emotions, all laced with humour and comedy. Perhaps, the only negative point is that there is sadness in the lives of all the characters. Milind Dhaimade’s dialogues are lovely.

Barun Sobti shines in the role of Arjun. He acts with the ease of a seasoned performer. Shahana Goswami is so brilliantly natural that it’s fun to watch her perform. She is absolutely awe-inspiring. Avinash Tiwary is very good in the role of Rashid. Vishal Malhotra delivers a wonderful performance in the role of Dominic. He is extremely realistic. Nakul Bhalla is excellent, especially in scenes of frustration. Jai Upadhyay’s acting is good, making him endearing. Shiv Subrahmanyam leaves a mark as the senile old man. Rasika Duggal is an extraordinary actress and leaves a lovely mark as Tasneem. Rama Joshi lends superb support as Dominic’s mother. Suhaas Ahuja (as Dennis), Maanvi Gagroo (as Vinta), Pallavi Batra (as Peppy), Meher Acharya Dar (as Arjun’s sister, Shruti), Sandip Sikand (as Arjun’s brother-in-law, Dr. Prashant Govil), and baby Jia Vaidya (as Arjun’s niece, Kshipra Govil) lend very fine support.

Milind Dhaimade’s direction is first-rate. Amartya Rahut’s music is enjoyable but the songs aren’t too popular. Lyrics (Milind Dhaimade) are okay. Amartya Rahut’s background music is quite nice. Harendra Singh’s cinematography is good. Shashank Tere’s production designing is of a fine standard. Shyam Salgaonkar’s editing is sharp.

n the whole, Tu Hai Mera Sunday is an entertaining film with a good dose of humour. It deserves to do well but it will not be able to realise even half its potential at the box-office because of its limited promotion, and the many oppositions (new releases and old films). In fact, despite merits, it will go almost unnoticed.

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CHEF

T-Series Films, Abundantia Entertainment and Bandra West Pictures’ Chef (UA) is the story of a chef and how he bonds with his school-going son.

Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) is a renowned chef working in a well-known restaurant of New York. He is a divorcee but he shares cordial relations with his ex-wife, Radha (Padmapriya Janakiraman) who lives in Kochi in India. Their son, Armaan (master Svar Kamble), lives with Radha.

One day, Roshan beats up a customer for criticising his cooking. This infuriates his boss, Sunil (Pawan Chopra), who fires him from the job. Roshan’s place in the restaurant is taken by close friend and colleague Vinnie (Sobhita Dulipala). With no job in hand, Roshan comes to Kochi in India to spend time with his son.

Father and son bond over talk of food and other things. Roshan soon learns that Radha is set to marry her friend, Biju (Milind Soman). Biju offers Roshan a business proposal – to convert a dilapidated double-decker bus into a mobile restaurant. At first reluctant, Roshan finally comes around. His protege, Nazrul (Chandan Roy Sanyal), joins him after quitting his job at the New York restaurant.

Together, Roshan, son Armaan and Nazrul set up a restaurant in the bus and conduct trial runs in Kochi. But Roshan’s heart is in Delhi – where he had grown up and from where, as a teenager, he had run away from his family as his domineering father (Ram Gopal Bajaj) did not want him to pursue his interest in cooking. So, Roshan decides to take his mobile restaurant to Delhi. Since Armaan has school holidays, he insists on accompanying his dad because he loves him and also because he likes to help his father with running the restaurant. The mobile restaurant has a stopover in Goa and then in Amritsar. Once in Delhi, Roshan calls on his father who doesn’t seem to have forgiven him for running away in his teen days. For Armaan, it is the first time ever that he meets his grandfather.

Before long, it is time for Armaan to return to Kochi. Does he return or does he continue to live with his father in Delhi? Does Roshan’s dad forgive him?

The film is a remake of Jon Favreau’s film of the same name. The story, at the core, is of the bonding between a father and his son. Of course, since he is a chef, the backdrop is that of restaurants and food. In that sense, the film offers only partial novelty.

In the name of screenplay, Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair and Raja Krishna Menon have served a half-hearted drama which never touches the heart. For one, right in the beginning, the audiences get put off Roshan Kalra when he beats up a customer for complaining about the quality of food served in the restaurant. Whoever does that? Not a hero, for sure. And it’s not even as if the customer is abusive. After the incident, Roshan feels that the customer may have been right but he doesn’t have the courtesy to apologise for his deplorable action. Right from that initial scene, the audience’s sympathy never really goes out to Roshan – whether in his interactions with his father, son or ex-wife or even customers later on. In other words, there’s something terribly wrong about the characterisation. One can’t hope to win over the viewers by presenting a hero for whom the audience’s heart doesn’t beat. Even otherwise, Roshan Kalra talking of principles in life, being a good human being and all that simply doesn’t cut ice with the viewers – if only because he himself had run away from home in his teens, and he had beaten up a customer for probably speaking the truth!

Rather than a fast-paced screenplay, the trio dishes out a screenplay which moves at a leisurely pace. Since the writers haven’t cared to explain why Roshan and Radha had divorced and also because Roshan comes across as badly behaved, his bonding with son Armaan also fails to evoke the sympathy (among viewers) that it should.

Actually, the audience gets the feeling very early on that the drama that’s going to unfold will be half-baked – and that’s exactly what happens. By interval point, it is clear to the viewers that the tadka is missing in this dish (film). And by the time the film ends, the viewers realise that leave alone tadka, the dish (film) has been made without so much as a recipe (good screenplay). Instead of scenes evoking emotions, the three writers have penned some funny dialogues which sound oh-so-cool and which would appeal to, perhaps, 2% of the audience. Whom did the writers think they were writing the film for? Cool jokes, ‘English’ humour and dude-type behaviour are all fine but Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair and Raja Krishna Menon should’ve realised that they can never fill in for emotions. All in all, the screenplay is shoddy and terribly weak. And one more point – was it necessary to show food in every other scene simply because the film is titled Chef?

Ritesh Shah’s dialogues are ineffective as, like the screenplay, even they fail to evoke the desired emotions.

Saif Ali Khan seems to be miscast in a role that required an actor with a far more sober image. But with his Casanova image, Saif Ali Khan’s performance doesn’t ring true, his characterisation only adding to his tale of woes. His gyaan-giving scenes fall flat on their face. Also, he has looked stocky. Padmapriya Janakiraman looks attractive and acts very well. Master Svar Kamble gives a natural performance but he does irritate in the scenes in which he talks like a grown-up would (director’s fault, not Svar’s). Chandan Roy Sanyal is very real but he hardly gets any scope to perform. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the talented actor has been wasted. Milind Soman is okay as Biju. Sobhita Dhulipala makes her mark as Vinnie. Dinesh P. Nair doesn’t impress as Alex. And why does he behave like he’s the boss when all he is is the bus driver? Is that another example of cool writ­ing? Ram Gopal Bajaj makes his presence felt in the role of Roshan’s father. Avtaar Singh Sahani lends able support as the Delhi restaurant owner. Pawan Chopra is good as Sunil, Saif’s boss in New York. Master Shaurya Chopra is nice as young Roshan Kalra. Raghu Dixit (as himself) is fair. Others are alright.

Raja Krishna Menon’s direction is below the mark. Like the script, his narration absolutely fails to involve or engage the audiences. Raghu Dixit’s music is so-so. No song is very popular. His background music is okay. Ankur Tewari’s lyrics are nice. Choreography (by Dimple Ganguly and Vijay Ganguly) is average. Priya Seth’s camerawork is alright. Anuradha Shetty’s production designing is okay. Shivkumar Panicker’s editing leaves something to be desired.

On the whole, Chef is a poor fare which simply fails to touch the heart. It would appeal to a very thin section of the elite audience, but for the majority, it would be only as exciting as the prospect of feasting on stale food. At the box-office, it will prove to be a debacle.

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JUDWAA 2

Fox Star Studios and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment’s Judwaa 2 (UA) is inspired by the earlier Judwaa (1997). It is the story of a pair of twins separated at birth and who reunite after they become adults.

Rajeev Malhotra (Sachin Khedekar) is blessed with twin sons who are born conjoined. Since they have to be separated by medical procedure, the doctor informs the parents that one would be weak while the other would be strong. As they were born conjoined, the doctor also tells the parents that if both the children were in the same area, they would feel the same emotions. For instance, if one is beat­en by somebody, the second one would also feel the pain.

But right on the day of the birth of the twins, smuggler Charles (Zakir Hussain) takes away one child as Rajeev wants to get him arrested for smuggling diamonds into the country. Charles leaves the baby on the way while escaping from the police but he gives Rajeev the impression that the baby is dead, before getting arrested by the police. The deserted little child has a miraculous escape and is picked up and raised by a poor lady in Bombay. However, Rajeev Malhotra, his wife (Prachee Shah Paandya) and their son settle down in London. The child in Bombay is named Raja while the Malhotras name their son, Prem.

In London, Prem (Varun Dhawan) grows up to be the weaker child. He is also timid. On the other hand, Raja (Varun Dhawan), who lives in India, is bold and strong. As luck would have it, Raja and his bosom pal, Nandu (Rajpal Yadav), go away to London to es­cape the wrath of Alex (Vivan Bhatena) whom Raja beats black and blue one day for misbehaving with Nandu.

Strange things start happening to Prem once Raja reaches London. He starts kissing/beating people on an impulse according to when Raja kisses/beats people. But, obviously, Prem is clueless about why he is behaving the way he is – and he even consults a doctor (Ali Asgar). In London, Prem falls in love with his college pal, Samara (Taapsee Pannu). Samara also loves Prem. Samara’s vain mother (Upasna Singh) is very keen that Prem and Samara get married as Prem is a rich catch. Raja meets Alishka (Jacqueline Fernandez) on the flight from Bombay to London and ultimately ends up falling in love with her in London. However, Rajeev Malhotra, unaware of Prem’s romance with Samara, wants him to meet his friend, Bakshi’s (Anupam Kher) daughter, Alishka. While Alishka mistakes Prem for Raja, Prem can’t understand why Alishka is acting so familiar with him.

By the by, Raja starts visiting Alishka. While Bakshi doesn’t smell a rat, his brother-in-law (Atul Parchure) gets the feeling that something is wrong somewhere. In London, Raja also meets Alex who, it turns out, is the son of Charles. But Alex has had a loss of memory because of the fight with Raja in India, during which the latter had hit the former on his head with a coconut. Accompanying Alex in London for treatment is his maternal uncle (Manoj Joshi). Soon, Charles is also set free from the Indian prison after completing his long jail term, and he comes to London in search of Rajeev Malhotra.

Meanwhile, Raja and Prem bump into one another one day in London but while both are astonished at their identical looks, they don’t know that they are twins. Raja’s path even crosses the paths of his parents but while Rajeev is not in a position to see Raja, his wife takes Raja to be Prem.

So now, Charles is baying for Rajeev Malhotra’s blood, and Alex and his maternal uncle are in search of Raja whom Alex would be able to recognise once he overcomes his memory loss. Also, there’s confusion about their boyfriend in the minds of both, Alishka and Samara.

What happens finally?

The crux of the story is the same as that of the old Judwaa. Although there is no logic in the story, it is made up of so many funny incidents and anecdotes that it keeps the audience in good spirits. The comedy unfolds with fun incidents coming in quick succession and keeps the audience engaged from the start till the end. Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay is in synch with the comic story and is often so hilarious that it offers complete entertainment to the viewers. Yes, a section of the elite audience would not approve of the illogicalities (one brother feeling the pain, hurt, emotions etc. of the other, when both are in the same area) and the cinematic liberties (the two brothers behave in the same fashion sometimes, but not always even when they are in the same vicinity) but then, there is a large chunk of the audience (masses, youth, families and even a sizeable section of the class audience) which will enjoy the sequences replete with fun and frolic.

In particular, the scenes in which Prem involuntarily starts beating up people or kissing girls are hilarious. Similarly, the scenes in which Alex’s maternal uncle asks Alex weird questions to understand whether he’s got back his lost memory are very funny. Equally funny are the scenes of Samara’s mother salivating for Prem, and of Alishka’s father (Anupam Kher) welcoming people in his typical style. Also comical are Nandu’s babbling, Bakshi’s brother-in-law warning him repeatedly, police officer Dhillon (Pavan Raj Malhotra) bumbling in his attempts to nab Raja, and Pappu Passport (Johnny Lever) issuing passports to Raja and Nandu. The scenes of Raja fooling people with his cock-and-bull emotional stories are simply outstanding. The out-and-out comedy also has three or four scenes replete with family emotions which would moisten the eyes of the viewers. These emotional scenes will be loved by ladies and families. Even otherwise, the comedy is so clean that the family audiences would love it.

The introduction of Salman Khan in the last scene – after the climax – and that too, in double role, is so clever that it will please his countless fans no end.

Farhad-Sajid’s dialogues are splendid and add greatly to the humour.

Varun Dhawan carries the film on his shoulders. As both, Raj and Prem, he is fantastic and proves that he can carry off all types of scenes with élan. The best part is that he makes the illogical drama believable as he goes full throttle into the two characters, he portrays. Jacqueline Fernandez looks glamorous and sexy and performs well. Taapsee Pannu is sincere and earnest in all that she does. Rajpal Yadav evokes laughter at many places. Anupam Kher is entertaining as Bakshi. Sachin Khedekar lends decent support as Rajeev Malhotra. Prachee Shah Paandya is effective as Mrs. Malhotra. Zakir Hussain does a fair job as Charles. Manoj Joshi is terrific in the role of Alex’s maternal uncle. Vivan Bhatena has his moments as Alex. Upasna Singh shines as Sama­ra’s mother. Pavan Raj Malhotra makes his presence amply felt as the police officer in London. Donna, as his female colleague, is entertaining. Johnny Lever brings the house down with laughter in a special appearance. Ali Asgar is very good as the doctor. Manoj Pahwa does a fair job. Atul Parchure is lovely. Rajat Rawail is good as the owner of the jewellery store. Farhad, as his assistant, is also nice. Vikas Verma leaves a mark as Samara’s erstwhile boyfriend. Kushaal Pawaar is okay as Simcard. Others lend the desired support. Salman Khan lends tremendous star value in a brief special appearance. His countless fans will go ga ga over his appearance in a dual role.

David Dhawan’s able direction proves that the veteran filmmaker still has his finger on the audience’s pulse. He narrates the illogical drama with such finesse that the viewers enjoy it. His integration of emotions in the comedy film is fabulous. Music (Sajid-Wajid, Sandeep Shirodkar, Anu Malik and Meet Bros.) is very appealing.  While the two songs from the earlier Judwaa – ‘Oonchi hai building’ and ‘Chalti hai kya nau se barah’ – are hit numbers, the other songs are also very good. Lyrics (Dev Kohli, Danish Sabri and Sonu Saggu) are in synch with the film’s mood. Choreography (by Ganesh Acharya; ‘Onchi hai building’ song by Bosco-Caesar) is eye-filling. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background music is quite nice. Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is of a high order. Anl Arasu’s action and stunts will appeal to the masses and front-benchers. John Murphy and Rajat Poddar’s production designing and Parijat Poddar’s art direction are very good. Ritesh Soni’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Judwaa 2 is a hit as it will appeal to all sections of the audience – youth, masses, families and even a good chunk of the classes. It will score in multiplexes and single-screen cinemas and in ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ class centres. The first four-day weekend (with holiday for Dassera tomorrow (30th) and for Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October)) will ensure that the film easily crosses the Rs. 100-crore mark in its second week.

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BHOOMI

T-Series and Legend Studios’ Bhoomi (UA) is a rape-and-revenge story. Arun Sachdeva (Sanjay Dutt) is a widower who dotes on his daughter, Bhoomi (Aditi Rao Hydari). They live in Agra.

Bhoomi is due to get married to Neeraj (Sidhant). Vishal (Puru Chhibber), owner of a sweetmeat shop, loves Bhoomi and wants to marry her. However, when he expresses his love for her and proposes marriage to her just a day before the marriage, Bhoomi spurns his offer. This infuriates him.

Dhauli (Sharad Kelkar) instigates Vishal to rape Bhoomi to seek revenge. Vishal rapes Bhoomi, after which Dhauli and his associate, Ghulam (Veer Aryan), do the same. Completely violated, Bhoomi returns home but hides her trauma from her father whom she loves dearly. But she reveals all to Neeraj when his baaraat procession reaches her house the following day. Shocked, Neeraj’s parents force him to call off the marriage.

Shattered, Arun Sachdeva knocks the doors of the court but the lawyer (Vibha Chhibber) of the three rapists is hell-bent on proving in the court that Bhoomi is a girl of loose character. Realising that he would not get justice, Arun withdraws the court case. The father and daughter resign themselves to their fate but the people around them do not let them forget the horrific incident. As if that were not enough, there’s another revelation which shatters Arun and Bhoomi even more.

This is when Arun swears revenge. Together, he and Bhoomi decide to take law into their own hands. They eliminate the rapists one by one.

Sandeep Singh’s story of rape and revenge is routine and oft-repeated. There is not even a hint of novelty – neither in content nor in presentation. The screenplay, penned by Raaj Shaandilyaa, is clichéd and long-winding. Since there is rape, a courtroom drama, and ultimate revenge, the audience is bound to be reminded of two recent films – Pink and Mom. But because the courtroom drama is not half as good as in Pink and because the revenge is not half as exciting as in Mom, the routineness of the screenplay becomes even more magnified.

Another drawback of the screenplay is that rather than moving at a fast pace, it moves at a leisurely pace and takes too long to come to the crux. Consequently, the scenes appear long and boring. There are too many characters and making each character reach his logical destination takes so long that it tests the audience’s patience. The first half, at least, moves at a fair pace but the post-interval portion appears to be meandering here and there. Portions showing Arun Sachdeva’s helplessness and scenes in which he cries will not impress the audience because the actor (Sanjay Dutt), playing Arun Sachdeva, has a macho image. Even the revenge track is too long-drawn. Yes, there is a twist in the tale in the second half but that can’t pass off as novelty – it is just an additional twist. Since Bhoomi is raped, the viewers definitely sympathise with her but they don’t shed tears for her even when she and her father keep crying buckets. This is a major minus point of the screenplay.

The climax is boring and does not evoke the emotional high it was required to. Raaj Shaandilyaa’s dialogues are good at places.

Sanjay Dutt does well but showing him in tears and helpless is not the most intelligent thing to do. He looks rather bulky. Aditi Rao Hydari looks pretty and acts well. She does go overboard in a couple of scenes, though. Sharad Kelkar acts ably in the role of Dhauli. But he doesn’t evoke hatred. Puru Chhibber does a very fine job as Vishal. Veer Aryan makes his presence felt as Ghulam. Riddhi Sen shines in the role of Jeetu. Sidhant is effective as Neeraj. Shekhar Suman lends very good support in the role of Tajkumar. Vibha Chhibber is fairly nice as the lawyer of the three rapists. Sunny Leone adds oomph in a special appearance in an item dance. Sarita Sharma (as Alka), Poonam Mathur (as Malti), Anuja Chauhan (as Sara), Maggie Mathur (as Sulekha), Vandana Kakkar (as Neeraj’s mother), Shyam Gopal (as Neeraj’s father), Sakshi (as Diya), Dolly Kaushik (as Preeti), Vivek (as Dinesh), Govind Pandey (as Shaandilyaa), Kaleem Zia (as the judge), Paramjit Singh (as the police officer), Bhavya Gupta (as young Bhoomi), Adishree Sharma (as Ghazala) and the others provide fair support.

Omung Kumar’s direction is good at places only, but is found lacking at others. He seems to be more concerned with getting the location, ambience and setting right but he needs to realise that without good content, these don’t really matter. The location on which the climax scene is shot is an instance in point. It looks lovely but the climax sequence is so dull that the lovely location becomes an eyesore as the audiences realise that it is being used to camouflage the poor content. Sachin-Jigar’s music is alright. The ‘Will you marry me?’ song is quite good. Lyrics (Priya Saraiya, Anvita Dutt and Vayu) are okay. Picturisation of the aforementioned song (by Ganesh Acharya) is eye-filling. Choreo­graphy of the ‘Trippy trippy’ song is also fairly nice. Ismail Darbar’s background music ought to have been more impactful. Cinematography (by Artur Zurawski and Keiko Nakahara) is appealing. Javed-Aejaz’s action and stunts are raw and will be liked by the masses and front-benchers. Vanita Omung Kumar’s production designing and Ramchandra More’s art direction are of a good standard. Jayesh Shikarkhane’s editing leaves some­ thing to be desired.

On the whole, Bhoomi is too clichéd and boring to appeal to the audience. It will flop at the ticket windows.

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HASEENA PARKAR

Swiss Entertainment’s Haseena Parkar (UA) is a biographical film on the sister of dreaded underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Haseena (Shraddha Kapoor) is one of the many children of an honest policeman in Bombay. She is particularly close to her brother, Dawood (Siddhant Kapoor). Much to their upright father’s shock, Dawood takes to the world of crime. Although Haseena knows that what Dawood is doing is wrong, she loves him too much to take a stand. Haseena soon gets married to Ibrahim Parkar (Ankur Bhatia) who runs a restaurant opposite their home.

One day, Haseena’s brother, Saabir (Sunil Upadhyay), has to pay with his life as he had also joined Dawood in his criminal activities.

Soon, gang wars escalate. To seek revenge for Dawood’s killings, the rival gang kills Haseena’s husband, Ibrahim. By this time, Haseena is mother to four children. Sensing danger to his life, Dawood moves to Dubai.

Years later, Haseena Parkar is dragged to court by a man who has accused her of extortion and threat to life. Public prosecutor Roshni Satam (Priyanka Setia) lays bare the rise of Haseena Parkar as a virtual don after her brother’s departure to Dubai, accusing her of handling her brother’s huge underworld business empire. Haseena’s lawyer, Shyam Keswani (Rajesh Tailang), defends his client in the court. As there aren’t too many people willing to depose in court for fear of Dawood, Roshni Satam has to make do with conjectures. She also relies on the deposition of a police officer (Dayashankar Pandey).

Suresh Nair has penned the story based on real-life incidents in the life of Haseena Parkar, known by her admirers as Haseena Appa. First and foremost, Haseena Parkar is neither a hero nor as widely known a personality as her feared brother, Dawood Ibrahim, for the audience to be excited about watching her story on screen. Why, majority of the people wouldn’t even know what Haseena Parkar looks like in real life. Secondly, although Suresh Nair has tried to evoke the viewers’ emotions and sympathy towards Haseena, he fails mainly because the public knows her as the sister of a dreaded underworld don. All attempts to make her appear like a victim fail miserably. Also, there is not a single scene other than her husband’s cold-blooded murder, which evokes sympathy towards her. Thirdly, the interpretation by Haseena’s lawyer of money extorted by her doesn’t make her a noble lady by any stretch of imagination. Since the viewers’ sympathy hardly, if ever, goes to Haseena, the screenplay – also penned by Suresh Nair – doesn’t completely engage them and even when it does, it doesn’t consume them completely. In short, part of the blame for the film not moving the audience goes to Suresh Nair’s writing but more than that, the blame lies on the writer and the director for their choice of subject. The courtroom drama is interesting upto a point but the frequent flashback sequences are pretty depressing. The climax is dull, to say the least. As soon as the end credits start rolling, the audience wonders why the film was made at all. Chintan Gandhi’s dialogues are good but not excellent.

Shraddha Kapoor does well. She is better as the young Haseena but not very impactful as the old Haseena Parkar. Ankur Bhatia looks good and acts ably as Ibrahim Parkar. Siddhant Kapoor gets limited scope to act as Dawood Ibrahim. His acting is fairly nice. Priyanka Setia does a very fine job as public prosecutor Roshni Satam. Rajesh Tailang is effective in the role of Haseena’s lawyer, Shyam Keswani. Dayashankar Pandey makes his presence amply felt. Sunil Upadhyay has his moments as Saabir.

Apoorva Lakhia’s direction is fair. Although his craft is good, he has not been able to shake the audiences or even move them emotionally with his narration. Sachin-Jigar’s music goes with the film’s mood. ‘Tere bina’ song is appealing. The ‘Piya aa’ song has lilt. Lyrics (Priya Saraiya, Vayu and Kirthi Shetty) are nice. Amar Mohile’s background music is quite impactful. Fasahat Khan’s camerawork is of a fine standard. Javed-Eajaz’s action and stunts are lovely. Sunil Nigvekar’s production designing is appropriate. Steven H. Bernard’s editing is quite sharp.

On the whole, Haseena Parkar is a film with very limited commercial value as it doesn’t touch the heart. At the box-office, it will turn out to be a flop fare.

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