A.A. Nadiadwala, Eros International, Base Industries Group, Swiss Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and Ajay Navandhar’s Welcome Back (UA) is the sequel to Welcome. Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) and Majnubhai (Anil Kapoor), who are bosom pals, have given up the world of crime and are no longer underworld dons. They are, in fact, trying their best to lead respectable lives in Dubai. They continue to remain unmarried despite their advanced age. One day, Udaybhai and Majnubhai are introduced to the former’s new step-sister, Ranjana (Shruti Haasan). Uday’s father (Nana Patekar, again) tells Uday that she is from his third wife!
On the other side, Dr. Ghunghroo (Paresh Rawal) has just been told by his wife (Supriya Karnik) that she has a son from a previous relationship. Dismayed by the revelation, Dr. Ghunghroo, nevertheless, agrees to accept the son as his own. He and his wife are on their way from Dubai to Bombay to meet the son, Ajju (John Abraham).
Here, Chandni (Ankita Srivastava), posing as the princess of Najabgarh and daughter of the queen (Dimple Kapadia), tries to feign romance with both, Uday and Majnu. The aim of the two con women is to make tons of money and assets which the two crazy men keep gifting Chandni. While Uday thinks that Chandni would marry him, Majnu is convinced that Chandni would be his and only his. But before any of the dons-turned-decent-men can actually marry Chandni, they decide to get a suitable groom for Ranjana as the queen puts the marriage of Ranjana as a pre-condition. Obviously, the queen is only trying to postpone the marriage of Chandni as she is not even remotely interested in get ting Chandni married to either Uday or Majnu because she is only a gold-digger.
On learning that Dr. Ghunghroo has a son, Udaybhai and Majnubhai fix Ranjana’s marriage with Ajju without even meeting him or seeing his photograph. To Dr. Ghunghroo’s horror, Ajju turns out to be a rowdy and a don-like figure in Bombay. Scared that Uday and Majnu would not approve of such a groom for Ranjana, he decides to call off the marriage but can’t muster the courage to tell Udaybhai and Majnubhai so.
Meanwhile, Ranjana and Ajju meet under strange circumstances in Bombay and fall in love with each other. As Uday and Majnu have never met Dr. Ghunghroo’s son or even seen his picture, they are unable to understand that Ajju is none other than Dr. Ghunghroo’s son when Ranjana introduces Ajju to them. Now, they want to call off her marriage to Dr. Ghunghroo’s son as Ranjana is very keen on marrying Ajju.
So, on the one hand, Uday and Majnu don’t want to get Ranjana married to Dr. Ghunghroo’s son, and on the other, Dr. Ghunghroo is also keen to cancel the wedding. But it soon becomes clear to Uday that Ajju is none other than Dr. Ghunghroo’s son and he is now okay with the wedding.
But Majnu has a problem. He wants to stall the marriage because he learns that Ajju belongs to the underworld.
Uday and Majnu now seek the help of dreaded underworld don Wantedbhai (Naseeruddin Shah) to anyhow stall the marriage. But rather than the problem being solved, there’s another bigger problem waiting at Wantedbhai’s house. His son, Honey (Shiney Ahuja), a drug addict, is madly in love with Ranjana and wants to marry her at any cost. Of course, Ranjana is not even aware of Honey’s existence, leave alone of his love for her.
So, now, the problems are many. Ajju and Honey are keen to marry the same girl, Ranjana, while she wants to marry Ajju. Uday and Majnu don’t want Ranjana to marry any of the two guys. Uday and Majnu are both keen to wed Chandni but she is only around to make money out of them. There are plenty of sticky situations each of the characters finds himself/herself in.
Who gets out of which sticky situation and how?
Rajiv Kaul and Anees Bazmee have penned a story similar to that of Welcome but with enough variations to also make it look different. The story is interesting and the best part is that it has plenty of turns and twists. The screenplay, written by Anees Bazmee, Rajiv Kaul, Praful Parekh and Rajan Agarwal, is very imaginative and funny. The good part of the screenplay is that although the film is a crazy comedy, it keeps the thread of continuity running throughout, and the liberties taken in its writing are those permitted in a comedy film of the kind this is. The screenplay affords the audiences plenty of laugh-traps so that they feel entertained right from the beginning till the end. There are some sequences which are so funny that they bring the house down with laughter. Examples: the cemetery sequence in which Udaybhai and Majnubhai are shivering in their pants, the sequence in which Udaybhai’s sidekicks are beating the daylights out of a person (Rajpal Yadav) for speaking lies, and the sequence between Dr. Ghunghroo and the beaten man soon thereafter, the sequence in which the ‘dead’ Wantedbhai rises again, the sequence in which Wantedbhai shows everyone present the recorded clippings, etc. Having said this, it must be added that the second half is not as entertaining as the first half.
Dialogue writer Raaj Shandilya deserves the highest praise for his excellent work. His dialogues are so witty and funny that they keep the audience in splits. The words he has used and the similes and metaphors he has employed are testimony to his sharp wit. Raaj Shandilya is no less than a hero of the film!
Anil Kapoor does an outstanding job. He is a delight to watch and gives plenty of opportunities to the audience to laugh. His singular emotional scene in the out-and-out comedy, when Udaybhai pretends to be dead, is so brilliant that one realises that this actor is one of the best we have. Nana Patekar is terrific. In not one scene does this man fall short of expectations. He leaves an indelible mark on the audience’s mind in every single scene. Like Anil, his comic sense of timing is also first-rate. Paresh Rawal is lovable and performs like he was born to play Dr. Ghunghroo. He is so funny that the viewer can’t help but laugh each time he opens his mouth or gives an expression. Naseeruddin Shah plays the blind Wantedbhai with such finesse that one would feel inclined to sing his praises galore. He is excellent and makes a great impact despite his late entry. John Abraham does his tapori act well but as far as comedy is concerned, he definitely falls short of the four pillars of the film – Anil, Nana, Paresh and Naseer. Shruti Haasan looks pretty and her acting is quite good. Shiney Ahuja stands his own as Honey. Ankita Srivastava makes a fair debut. She looks ordinary but acts reasonably well. Dimple Kapadia is lovely. Neeraj Vora provides extraordinary support in a brief role as Baadshah. Rajpal Yadav is hilarious and he shines in a small role. Ranjeet and Vijay Raaz (voice acting as commentator) lend fair support. Mushtaq Khan, Adi Irani, Snehal Dabi, Harry Josh and Swatantra Bharat provide excellent support as sidekicks of Udaybhai and Majnubhai. Supriya Karnik gives nice support. Surveen Chawla and Lauren Gotlieb add sex appeal and oomph.
Anees Bazmee’s direction is just too lovely. In a drama which has no trace of logic because it is a mad comedy, a super-fast pace is very necessary, and Anees’ narrative pace is just that. Yes, the climax may be a bit slow and long-drawn but that’s just a minor aberration in an otherwise wonderfully directed film. Music (Anu Malik, Meet Bros. Anjjan, Mika Singh, Siddhanth Madhav and Abhishek Ray) is below the mark. Although a few songs are fairly mass-appealing, the absence of hit and super-hit tunes is sorely felt, given the big canvas of the film. Lyrics (by Kumaar, Nitin Raikwar, Arafat Mehmood, Manoj Muntashir, Shabbir Ahmed and Manvendra) are okay. Choreography of the song-dances (by Ganesh Acharya for all except one, ‘Nas nas mein’, which is choreographed by Ahmed Khan) is nice but not terrific. Aadesh Shrivastava deserves distinction marks for a fantastic background music score. Kabir Lal’s cinematography is of a very high standard. Lal has done full justice to the rich sets and eye-filling foreign locations. Abbas Ali Moghul’s action and stunts will go down well with the masses. Shailesh Mahadik’s production designing is very good. Steven Bernard deserves kudos for his super-sharp editing.
On the whole, Welcome Back is a worthy sequel to Welcome. It is very funny and, therefore, very entertaining. It will score in the cinemas. However, if in spite of this, it will not be able to make money for its investors, it would be because of the high investment in the making, promotion and release of the film. The continuous flow of releases in the coming weeks will ensure that the window for the film at the box-office is small, and this will tell on its total business.