Director: David Dhawan
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Taapsee Pannu, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rajpal Yadav, Zakir Hussain, Anupam Kher
Only by the end of David Dhawan’s Judwaa 2, I started laughing uncontrollably. Mostly because I couldn’t get over the irony of not having laughed even once throughout the two-and-a-half-hour long “mainstream” comedy. Unless you count cringing and retching violently as a darker, “indie” version of laughing.
Don’t “masala” movies demand that we leave our brain at home, submit our withering intellect at the ticket counter and then surrender our spirits to star-powered material proudly advertising the combined IQ of Rajpal Yadav’s left eyebrow parading as “family entertainment”? There I go again, air quoting sarcastically, inspired by the dopey villain of this “film”: a gangster (Zakir Hussain) who curls his fingers to punctuate every ominous phrase he utters because – wait, is he a failed film critic who has taken up smuggling as a more financially viable option because all the movies he panned went on to became box-office blockbusters? Can’t blame him. This is his revenge. Hammy baddies know what’s up.
It’s pointless reviewing such movies. Where do I begin? The running time of Judwaa 2 (a drunken, slurring pronunciation of this title could have you jailed for obscenity) is 150 minutes. Usain Bolt can win 900 gold medals, Donald Trump can post 300 tweets and fire 150 staffers, Lewis Hamilton can win 1.5 Monaco Grand Prix races and still find time to whine about his teammate, KRK can fly from Dubai to Mumbai airport, a spineless Indian publication can fire 150 freelancers for tweeting against the government, Shah Rukh Khan can give five Oscar-winning interviews, and a commuter can travel from Juhu Circle to Juhu Circle’s second signal – all in 150 minutes.
Even Varun Dhawan doesn’t bother bringing his own energy to this “upgrade”. He is too busy paying tribute to another era instead of respecting his own.
But David Dhawan decides to remake his own middling 1990s comedy into a positively unfunny, dated and worryingly lecherous-uncle-ish modern version starring his own son because the “original” rip-off had a total of two super-hit songs whose nostalgia will be contaminated forever once we are exposed to the awful sight of Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu prancing around like airheaded bimbos in a cash-grabbing circus of cinematic bankruptcy – in those 150 minutes.
See what I mean? I could’ve gotten married and had grandchildren in 2.5 hours – well, almost. I just hope the cheque was worth it for Taapsee Pannu, a fine actress on her day. Comedy clearly isn’t her thing; the faces she pulls can put an epileptic Jim Carrey to shame. If she is tempted to accept another role like this again, all she needs to do is remember: No means no. As for Jacqueline, there are no expectations to begin with.
I’m not against the concept of brainless entertainment per se. I did enjoy parts of Entertainment (the film) (2014), Main Tera Hero (2014) and even Grand Masti (2013). But it’s 2017. The whole “This is the famous David Dhawan brand of cinema; if you don’t enjoy it you’re an elitist snob; aam junta rulezz; blockbuster in your face!” spiel could have made sense in the 1990s. Back then, I’ll admit he was a self-aware master of redundant buffoonery. But twenty years have passed, and none of this “language” has evolved.
For instance, even Varun Dhawan doesn’t bother bringing his own energy to this “upgrade”. In the Ganpati bappa introduction song for his roguish avatar (Raja, from Versova), he thrusts his hips gingerly and tries to emulate Salman Khan, not realizing that the bulky superstar’s notorious inflexibility (and tight jeans?) is what resulted in these accidental “desi-thumka” steps to begin with. He even scrunches up his facial muscles like Govinda, to denote informal enjoyment and rhythm – Govinda danced like that to be infectious in a common-man way, as opposed to the usual “seriousness” of Bollywood choreography – even while Dhawan is fully capable of utilizing his athleticism in a more organic manner. He is too busy paying tribute to another era instead of respecting his own.
Also, London looks nice if you take out all the actors, the plot, the cameras and the general sight of an Indian film crew making a mockery of itself from every angle of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Rather than slightly raising the lowest common denominator, we’re still hearing things like “Alex, relax” in a Gujarati accent and seeing things like a hopelessly screechy Upasana Singh channeling her inner Bindu and gleefully being called a “khataara gaadi”. If this makes us laugh, our nation is a cultural tragedy of sorts. Of course this film will earn millions; we love our tragedies.
Salman Khan, who looks like he has just woken up after a long post-Tubelight nap, makes a cameo before the end credits. Was that a surprise? I’m not sorry. “Dil mein aata hu, samajh mein nahi,” he croaks, in line with this film’s irritatingly self-referencing tone. “Cycle pe aata hu, gaadi mein nahi,” he continues. Now that is funny. I imagined a classic mic drop moment – only, our heroes are too stiff to pick it up.
Watch the trailer of Judwaa 2 here: