First thing first. Don’t get carried away by the long list of bollywood filmmakers to whom Sajid Khan pays tribute to, in the first frame of the film. The list is as diversified as Prakash Mehra, Manmohan Desai, Narinder Bedi, Ravi Tandon and Hrishikesh Mukherjee to the likes of K Raghvendra Rao and K Bapaiah, but sadly you won’t find glimpses of the work done by any of these maestros in Sajid’s latest offering. So what does Sajid actually delivers?
Panautiyon ka Shahenshah Arush (Akshay Kumar) works in a casino based in Macau. He spreads virus of bad luck to whoever comes near him, including his girlfriend Pooja (Malaika Arora), who decides to dump him and goes away with her brother Major Krishna Rao (Arjun Rampal) to get married to a groom of Krishna’s choice. Dejected Arush leaves his job and moves to London to move in with his childhood friend Baburao a.k.a. Bobs (Ritesh Deshmukh), who is now married to Hetal (Lara Dutta), the estranged daughter of Batuk Patel (Boman Irani), a traditional Gujarati businessman of India. Bobs and Hetal work in a casino run by Kishore Samtani (Randhir Kapoor). Arush brings in bad luck to the family as well, but they somehow reconcile and things look fine. They also get Arush married to Samtani’s traditional daughter Devika (Jiah Khan). Happy with the thought that his bad days will be over now, Arush heads to Italy for a honeymoon, only to face another humiliation there. He tries to commit suicide, but rescued by the gorgeous Soundarya a.k.a. Sandy (Deepika Padukone), and they come close.
In an attempt to get the families together, the quadruple is faced by visits of Batuk Patel and Krishna Rao in London. What follows is a series of plotted mistaken identities, bunch of lies and the havoc that is created by all these efforts…
With Sajid Khan in the driver’s seat, you can be rest assured of over the top slapstick, abusive and impulsive comic gags. To his advantage, in his life Sajid has watched infinite number of all breeds of bollywood and overseas cinema, and is now trying to creatively using that experience in assembling the (lifted) scenes together to create the scenario, and that is where the problem is. The storyline though had potential of a great masala entertainer; it doesn’t translate into one such scenario. Many a time, the unevenness of the screenplay allows the narrative to fall flat. One of the reasons being Sajid’s inability to write and handle emotional scenes, which was the problem with “Heyy Baby” as well.
In a time where general people laugh at and applaud lines like “Teri Maa Ka Sakinaka” sitting in their drawing room watching the circus of comedy, this film might be a boon for them. For the rest, it is a bit overdone. A few examples: from Arush’s introduction scene till he visits London, he shows all signs of Panauti but nothing happens to anybody after that. The kid abducted to show to Batuk Patel is taken back by his mother the same day who never returns, but no questions asked by Patel. Naming the dark colored infant as “daamar” is in bad taste, and no one should forget the uproar caused in the UK desi fraternity when a certain RR owner (now role changed as brand ambassador) was called as Ms Poppadom by a local celebrity, and which eventually caused her to win the title there. Lie detection sequences are unimpressive. And tops it all is the grand finale with Santa Banta with their N2O cylinders pumped inside the Buckingham Palace where dummies of the British royal family are giving away the prizes and then laughing and speaking in Marathi. That’s simply atrocious.
On the upside, there are genuine sequences – Arush’s introduction with Hetal, the Prada replacement process, Samtani’s Hindi speech to the Brits, the lavish Italian outdoors and beach locales, Patel’s voicemail message, the serial widow Zulekha and cameo by “Aakhri Pasta”, all those which alleviate the movie to a high. And finally the movie may end the flop streak of Akshay Kumar, which will be welcome, “jaise taise” bhi aaye.
Performances: Akshay does well in the role of a frustrated character and Ritesh also compliments him well. Both don’t give any breakthrough performance, that’s another story. Arjun Rampal looked good and does alright in his role. Randhir Kapoor is good in the few scenes he got and so was Chunkey Pandey. Lara Dutta has done many comic roles in past five years, and her performance shows the easiness by which she delivered here. Deepika’s appearance and the long and deep fine legs do wonders, but were used better in KCK a couple of months ago. Unfortunately here she doesn’t get much support from the writing. Neither she nor Arjun were comfortable in talking Telugu, nor was Lara in Gujarati. Jiah was the one who took away all the accolades for her beach appearances and the seduction song, but sadly her role didn’t last more than fifteen odd minutes. Boman Irani and Lillete Dubey have given the best performances amongst all. Suresh Menon and Manoj Pahwa were as agonizing as the real Santa and Banta. And finally, without an item number, Malaika Arora looks pretty uncomfortable.
Music: Once again a foot tapping score by S-E-L. With “Oh Girl!”, “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” fame Tarun Sagar gets a great breakthrough chartbuster song; though he rendered his lines in his typical jagrata style. And Loy Mendonca’s humming “Oh Girl, You’re Mine” sounds suspiciously rhyming with “One Love, Dhadkan Teri” from “Rakht”. The vintage Shabbir Kumar returns with “I don’t know what to do”, and does a good job there. Theme song “Such Panauti” has interesting lyrics and vocals by Amitabh Bhattacharya along with Vivenne Pocha. The remixed and recreated “Apni To Jaise Taise” is a major letdown with very ordinary choreography by Farah Khan (Now a stay has been put on it by Calcutta high court, that’s another story).