Whether you laugh at his jokes or not, or whether you acknowledge his meteoric rise through the ranks or not, the fact is that TV’s funnyman Kapil Sharma has gone on to become one of the most followed/admired entertainers in the last 2 years or so. Therefore, when the man who gave us the iconic “Babaji Ka Thullu” goes on to make his Bollywood debut, you are both skeptical and excited. Is it prudent of Kapil to keep his kingship of TV aside and try to make it big in the big, bad Bollywood? Does Bollywood of today have space for a comedian-hero or did that craft die as soon as Govinda started to age?
May be it’s difficult to straightaway find answers to the questions raised above, but it is quite safe and sound to declare a fact right at the beginning – Kapil Sharma has chosen a very smart and safe vehicle of launch in Bollywood and believe it or not, he does a pretty neat job of the challenge thrown at him. The 34-year old comedian with conventional, common man looks carries Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon well on his shoulders and displays some obvious signs of possessing real acting chops. The fact that the film is helmed by the seasoned duo of Abbas Mustan is a big plus as the directors manage to build a decent product using an old, dated formula; something which might have proven detrimental if not handled with precision.
Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon’s plot is a throwback to the 90s when Govinda kind of made polygamy cool with the 1996 David Dhawan Super-Hit Saajan Chale Sasural. Kapil Sharma plays Shiv Ram Kishan who ends up marrying thrice (with three different women – Manjari Phadnis, Amrita Puri and Simran Kaur Mundi) due to a series of outlandish and bizarre ‘accidents’. Not just that, he also has a smoldering girlfriend in form a beautiful Elli Avaram who obviously does not know that her boyfriend is already married to three women. Helping him deal with this tetra trouble in life is his friend cum lawyer Varun Sharma. Did you spot the similarities and differences between Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon and Saajan Chale Sasural yet? The ultimate alpha male Govinda romanced two women (Tabu and Karisma Kapoor) while our Kapil goes two steps further and has 4 ladies by his sides, front and back. Wah!
Let’s get it clear that Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon is a low-brow comedy but is not exactly ‘mindless’. The film knows what it is and never really tries to be something that it cannot be. There are no sermons or judgements passed on merits/demerits of polygamy, there are no outright insulting jokes, either on wives/women or on the audiences for that matter. Abbas Mustan do a good job of working within themselves and Kapil Sharma manages to underplay himself beautifully at times.
In fact, apart from his trademark quirky humor, Kapil Sharma surprises us in typical Bollywood emotional scenes and comes out triumphant when the camera goes up, close and personal with his face. Special mention should be made of a ‘drinking scene’ right before the interval, where the two Sharmas, Kapil and Varun, are bonding over a few drinks and former is sharing the woes of his ultra-blessed marital life. Kapil makes full use of the drunken opportunity and shows some definite acting sparks.
Ably supporting and sometimes outclassing Kapil, is Varun ‘Choocha’ Sharma. The Fukrey lad displays impeccable comic timing and you will find yourself laughing out loud on several occasions when the talented actor is in the frame, especially when he dishes out his ‘scientific’ explanations to save his friend’s day. Also in the fray is the dependable Arbaaz Khan as a bhai of one of the Kapil’s wives. He plays a deaf don with utmost ease and looks very comfortable in the comic space, something which we have seen him doing of late. Adding further meat to an impressive support cast are Manoj Joshi, Supriya Pathak and Sharat Saxena, who ensure that the film never really goes down on the overall comic quotient. Some of the scenes in the film are uproarious, especially one in a mall and another one featuring a detailed analysis of Kapil’s underwear!
The four ladies – Manjari Phadnis, Simran Kaur Mundi, Elle Avaram and Amrita Puri put up decent performances and do not ever let the script acquire misogynistic proportions. The film’s script, although predictable, dated and formulaic, does have some novel situational comic scenes and plenty of typical Kapil-style dry, sarcastic humor. The first half is quite breezy and enjoyable, unlike the second half which gets a little stretched towards the end. The film’s climax is somewhat clichéd and unbelievable at the same time, but one cannot really complain much on its merit given the fact that the plot itself is nothing revolutionary.
Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon’s soundtrack is strictly average with a couple of songs too many to deal with. Two songs that register some space in your mind are ‘Bam’, which has the film’s leading man crooning rather impressively, and a romantic track titled ‘Samandar.
Overall, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon is a better bet than those ‘mindless comedies’ featuring big stars or those lavish launch vehicles that star kids manage to get for themselves in a platter. It is a clean, entertaining film whose plot may be dated but the humor on offering is genuine and harmless.
Go, watch Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, you might find yourself celebrating the success of a self-made man.
I didn’t have much expectations from Katti Batti. The trailers looked somewhat drab, the music – a vital ingredient of any worthwhile Hindi rom-com – was uninspiring, and most annoyingly Kangana Ranaut looked like stretching her ‘Tanu spirit’ beyond the thresholds of predictability and well into the zone of annoyance.
15 minutes into watching the film, almost all of my aforementioned fears came true. One by one. Even though director Nikhil Advani, who seemed to be meandering for over 2 hours, suddenly jumped on to a tragic track towards the end trying to salvage some pride, but alas, it was well and truly late by then. I had already proclaimed ‘Katti’ with Katti Batti.
Nikhil Advani, a man who started his career with the remarkable Kal Ho Na Ho (and continues to live in the shadow of that iconic film), but has gone on to direct duds like Salaam-e-Ishq, Patiala House and most recently Hero, further prolongs his bad run through Katti Batti. The film neither manages to garner the goodwill of a typical rom-com nor does it make you pull out tissue papers through its belated tragic twist. Not just that, Katti Batti also lacks conviction, originality and a proper execution of ideas and ends up being an outright boring film.
Madhav Kabra aka Maddy (Imran Khan) is an architect who is in love with Payal (Kangana Ranaut) from the moment he saw her for the first time in college. The two do not hit it off instantly, largely thanks to Madhav’s creepy, ‘chipku’behavior, but eventually end up being in a live-in relationship for good 5 years. Things change when Payal walks out of relationship one fine day, leaving behind a whining, sobbing Maddy. The entire film revolves around Maddy’s desperate bid to get Payal back into his life while she shrugs off his advances rather heartlessly. A tiny Kal Ho Na Ho meets The Fault in Our Stars kind of twist in the end tells us that Payal does all of this knowingly; deliberately trying to push Maddy out of her life. Why? Because, she has, wait for it, cancer! Sob. Yawn. Sob. Yawn.
Katti Batti suffers from severe identity crisis. It does not know whether it is trying to be a treatise on break-ups and relationship issues, or it is trying to be a cute, little tear-jerker. Needless to say that while trying to be too many things at a time, it ends up being almost nothing. Consider these – the tongue-in-cheek humor and LOLworthy moments, of which we got a glimpse in the trailers, are as scarce in the film as rains are in Rajasthan. Call it smart trailer cutting or a bluff on the part of the makers, Katti Batti does not have humor, light-heartedness that it shamelessly promised. Also, rhe film never really builds up the romance between its lead pair – there is no breezy college dating like 2 States or a cool live-in relationship drama like Salaam Namaste. We are repeatedly told that Maddy and Payal were ‘living together for 5 years’, but we are shown no glimpses of their love, chemistry and camaraderie. As a result, it hardly bothers you when Payal leaves Maddy, or you are further disinterested when you see the later chasing the former to get things back on the track! Phew!
Similarly, the film is also not a definitive take on relationships and strings attached to it. In fact, it ends up projecting its male lead as a sheer loser who runs after the car of his ex-girlfriend like a dog and its female lead as a cruel, chaalu girl who treats men like doormats. Through the film, you feel sorry for the characters as they are poorly written and are projected in an even worse light. By the time the director tries to turn the tables by coming up with the big revelation, you are both fed up and tired by the entire sham of a rom-com that’s dished out in front of you. Maddy and Payal are simply poorly sketched out characters that fail to find any resonance with its audience.
But there are a few bright spots in Katti Batti. And surprisingly, it’s Imran Khan who is shiniest of them all. The actor, who is coming back to the silver screen after a hiatus, is affable and somewhat convincing as Madhav. He does well in the ‘crying scenes’ and you do feel for the poor guy at times, especially that dog-chasing-the-car kind of sequence. Puns and taunts aside, this character lay within the strengths of an actor like Imran Khan, and he does try hard, but is undone by a shoddy script and an even shoddier direction.
On the other hand, Kangana Ranaut replicates her Tanu act (just replace mostly Indian dresses of TWM and TWMR with some weird western outfits) through most of the film. She is predictably ‘free-spirited’, believes in ‘time-pass’ and flashes a packet of condom to a complete stranger. And not to forget, there are some trademark not-so-funny one-liners that ‘establish’ her as a ‘free woman’. But sadly, these repeated theatrics seem as fake as those feminist posts shared by thousands on Facebook every day.
Katti Batti is also let down by a below par support cast that does not have even one actor of caliber. Similarly, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is also very average with only ‘Sau Aasoon’ getting registered in your memory. The film’s cinematography is effective while the makers could have definitely chosen a better costume designer for its lead pair.
By the time Katti Batti nears its conclusion, there are some touching scenes of Imran taking care of a cancer-afflicted Kangana, but it comes too late in the day. You feel bored, cheated and tired by then and you simply want to curse Nikhil Advani for making a mess of a film. Yet again. Stay away.
Rating: *1/2 (Poor)
P.S. – Want to know what could be your expression if you still choose to watch this film? Check out Imran Khan’s expressions in the last image of this post.
Let me start this review by making a candid confession. I liked Anees Bazmee’s 2007 Blockbuster 'Welcome' to a great extent. The gangster duo Uday Shetty and Majnu bhai, played by a remarkable Nana Patekar and an ever-dramatic Anil Kapoor respectively, were etched in my mind for long. Add to it Akshay Kumar’s gifted sense of humor, Paresh Rawal’s impeccable comic timing and the iconic “Aloo Lelo, Kanda Lelo” sequence – Welcome had some genuinely uproarious moments. No wonder, the film was not just a huge box office success but also went on to become one of the most loved films on television that continues to garner great TRPs till date.
Eight years later, Bazmee comes with an absolute charade in the name of a sequel. There seems to be no genuine creative impetus or even an honest motive behind making Welcome Back, apart from the obvious urge for financial windfalls. Welcome Back has a plot that is so hackneyed, loop-ridden and even ridiculous at places that it makes a motley bunch of talented actors look like buffoons. Imagine yourself silently cursing Naseeruddin Shah towards the end because he and his uninspiring portrayal of ‘Wanted Bhai’ does nothing apart from stretching an already dreadfully boring film. Ditto for someone like Dimple Kapadia who does not know what she is supposed to do or the poor comeback man Shiney Ahuja who is put into a predictable and pointless role.
Poor Story, Screenplay and Direction:
The film’s story itself is a spin-off from its prequel’s plot with a couple of inexplicable son and daughter discoveries being used to repackage the old, worn-out drama. This time around Uday and Majnu bhai (Nana Patekar and Anil reprising their roles) take up the task of marrying off their yet another sister (Shruti Hassan) to a seedha and shareef man as the gangsters themselves have become good guys and settled down in Dubai. In their quest for a perfect groom, they yet again cross paths with Dr Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) who has his own ‘son discovery’ to deal with. Ajju Bhai or Ajay (John Abraham) is Dr. Ghungroo’s step-son and a dreaded Mumbai gangster. Uday and Majnu themselves are in awe of a petite young thug (debutante Ankita Shrivastava) who along with her mother (Dimple Kapadia) pose as princess and queen of Najafgarh.
Welcome Back’s screenplay is over-complicated and overcrowded to a point that it annoys you. There are too many worthless sub-plots in the film and actors come into and go out of the frame on their will (you can’t imagine what they do with Rajpal Yadav’s character). Anees Bazmee is not an auteur in the genre of comedy but Welcome Back definitely pitches him at par with someone like Sajid Khan and his brand of intelligence-insulting humor. I am all game for lowbrow and leave-your-mind-at-home kind of comedy but a film like Welcome Back takes the audiences for granted and only tries to cash in (and eventually destroys) the existing goodwill for its prequel.
Wasted Ensemble Cast:
The biggest disservice by Anees Bazmee is probably how he assembles such fine actors and lets that advantage fritter away. Not just that, he replaces the very likeable lead pair of Akshay-Katrina from the prequel with an odd and insipid Jodi of John Abraham and Shruti Hassan. John Abraham tries to bulldoze his Shootout at Wadala act here but fails miserably. His contributions to the film end with his 10 packs, a good-looking face and a new found, weird baritone during dialogue delivery. Shruti Hassan, on the other hand, delivers such an amateurish performance that you wonder why is she in the film, or worse why is she into acting.
Ankita Shrivastava, the debutante who is there in the film to wear skimpy clothes and deliver dialogues like a 10-year old, is a bizarre choice for the role of a temptress. She tries too hard but does not achieve an iota of what Mallika Sherawat did effortlessly in Welcome. And also, the girl is way too young to be singing tacky songs with Nana and Anil who look like her granddads. Dimple Kapadia is cast in a role that gives her no scope whatsoever. Shiney Ahuja makes an entrance post interval and does a few predictable screechy scenes before falling in line with the film’s overall tediousness. Naseeruddin Shah fails to be a worthy replacement for the Late Firoz Khan and I will not mince words in saying that he is plain bad in the film. He might be a great actor otherwise but there is no harm in calling a spade a spade when there is a need.
Nana and Anil Salvage Some Pride:
Welcome Back’s only saving grace is the delectable duo of Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor. The two veterans are in the same old form and try hard to salvage the pride despite being handicapped by poorly-written dialogues (Raj Shandaliya). Despite all the lacuna, there’s a memorable sequence in a graveyard where Nana and Anil play Antakshari with the ghosts. This one scene underscores the incredible chemistry that the two share as affable goons and makes you wonder how a good script would have allowed these two to come into their elements. It’s a shame that Anees Bazemee wastes the potential of two fine characters and two great actors by making what is easily a lesser of sequel. Similarly, Paresh Rawal, who sparkled as Dr. Ghungroo in the previous installment, is undone by sheer lack of witty one-liners that were a trademark of his character.
Outrageous Music and Tacky VFX:
Welcome Back perhaps features the most outrageous songs that I have had the misfortune of hearing to in recent times. Songs pop out of nowhere through the film and they are resplendent with horrible lyrics (Band kamre mein 20-20 hua!), suggestive dance moves and horrendous choreography. You would want to close your eyes and ears in disgust while these songs are bombarded on you without any prior warning. Do I need to say more?
As if the entire, almost 3-hour long film was not torturous enough, Welcome Back also has an inexplicable climax featuring hordes of camels, choppers, dessert gypsies, aircraft bombs and a sandstorm. The CGI of the sandstorm is a throwback to the 80s and it makes the special effects of a film like Hisss look good.
Welcome Back is an unbearable film that mocks your intelligence, breaches all the thresholds of stupidity and redefines the contempt with which many mainstream filmmakers treat their audiences these days. Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor try hard but fail to save this sinking ship and you dearly miss the good old Akhsay Kumar who was the rock-solid anchor of Welcome.
Do yourself a favor and do not watch Welcome Back. You, I and all of us deserve much better.