Monday, July 06, 2015

Guddu Rangeela 

Khap Komedy

Trying to put forth a serious social message in action-comedy mode would take some doing—writing of the highest order and assured direction. Subhash Kapoor managed it with Jolly LLB, but in Guddu Rangeela the issue of khap panchayats is nasty and immediate, whereas the earlier film had a broader ‘law-is-an-ass’ rhetoric. There was his Phas Gaye Re Obama too, which was an outright farce. Guddu Rangeela falls between several stools.

Set in lawless Haryana—which Bollywood seems to have discovered in a big way—where a rogue like Billu (Ronit Roy) can kill with impunity under the guise of protecting tradition, petty crooks and brass band singers of the Mata ka email variety, Rangeela (Arshad Warsi) and Guddu (Amit Sadh) are small fish.

Short on funds, and harassed by cops, they take on the job offered by the shady “PR” of the underworld, Bangali (Dibyendu Bhattacharya), of kidnapping a deaf-mute young woman (Aditi Rao Hydari).  When they arrive in Shimla with her, they realize that Baby (Aditi Rao Hydari) planned the whole caper to hit out at Billu, who is her brother-in-law, and had killed her sister among others (including Rangeela’s wife).
The film starts out resembling Ishqiya (lots of Sholay references thrown in) then turns into a revenge drama. The humour is mostly crass and in a film that wants to sermonize against uber chauvinist khaps, the “degi-legi” kind of lines are doubly jarring.

Corrupt cops (Amit Sial, Rajeev Gupta), the eternal sidey Brajendra Kala appear to lend some colour to the proceedings. But the film just goes out of control after a point and never stabilizes.

Arshad Warsi keeps channeling Circuit with different partners, and it hurts to say that Jackky Bhagnani in Welcome 2 Karachi actually worked a better foil for him than the mostly insipid Amit Sadh, who lacks the requisite rusticity. Ronit Roy keeps stepping off as TV’s resident charmer to play the same snarling villain in different guises—and here with a heavy Haryanvi accent. Maybe it’s time both Warsi and Roy did something really different?


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