Director: Neerraj Pathak
Cast: Sunny Deol, Arshad Warsi, Preity Zinta, Shreyas Talpade, Ameeesha Patel
At one point in Bhaiaji Superhit, we arrive at a flashback in which Sunny Deol, as the uneducated Banaras don named Bhaiaji is serenading his wife, Sapna played by Preity Zinta, by reciting Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He’s wearing a shiny, black velvet coat and stumbling over the English. It was at this precise moment that I started to feel more pain for Sunny than I was feeling for myself.
Until then, I had been in the throes of an existential crisis – it was 10 or 10.30 pm and I was watching a film that felt like it had been assembled by people with a single-digit IQ for people with a single-digit IQ. I was evaluating my life and career but then the singular tragedy of Sunny struck me. Here was a National Award-winning actor, a star with blockbusters like Gaddar: Ek Prem Katha and Border, working, with utter sincerity, in a film that is every level of awful. And he just kept going – not just as Bhaiaji but also a struggling actor who plays Bhaiaji in a movie about Bhaiaji’s life, smashing people and things with his dhai kilo ka haath, romancing two women – Preity and Ameesha Patel – who seem more like mannequins than humans, and doing whatever it takes to make us laugh.
Of course Bhaiaji Superhit isn’t his tragedy alone though he does do the heavy-lifting. Preity returns as leading lady after five years. As Sapna, she gets to speak mangled English and have temper tantrums each time she sees her husband talking to a woman. She also gets to do a song called Sleepy Sleepy Ankhiyan. It’s mortifying. Ameesha plays a Bollywood diva who gets Bhaiaji into trouble. She struts her stuff in slow motion and pouts.
And then there are a host of strong actors, here reduced to cartoons – among them, Pankaj Tripathi, Jaideep Ahlawat, Brajesh Kala, Sanjay Mishra, Arshad Warsi. If director Neerraj Pathak had just filmed these men having a chat between shots, he might have ended up with a better product. Everything here is painfully dated, literally – from what I read, the film has been in production since 2013. The story of a don who decides to make a film to get his estranged wife back could have been fun but the execution is loud and lame and purposefully foolish.
Does anything work? Yes there are two-and-a-half funny moments mostly revolving around the film within a film.
I also smiled when Ranjeet made an appearance. He doesn’t have much to do but his mere presence lifted my spirits a little.
The rest of this is an excruciating slog. I’m going with one star.