Monday, September 07, 2015

Welcome Back 

Why Bother?

It’s been eight years since Welcome; if a poll were to be conducted, the makers of Welcome Back would not be able to find a single person (outside of the unit that is), who would say, they were missing the old movie, so why not make a sequel?

It’s true that there are people who go to watch a film just to pass the time, and are quite happy if they get a mix of comedy, stunts, glamour and picturesque locations.  So Welcome Back is a package, not a film. The same old characters and situations dusted off and rehashed, with some new actors and glittering UAE locations.

When Welcome was released, the review stated, “Our mainstream filmmakers never believed in brevity being the soul of wit; in fact any subtle humour is thrown overboard, and a loud, hit-on-the head approach easily adopted.   Leave your brains at home is the dictum – as if brains come in the way of enjoying comedy…The formula is the same, pick up a Hollywood (Mickey Blue Eyes) or regional film, add some extra masala, line up a star cast, and the entertainment-seeking masses will be beating a path to the ticket window!”

 So it’s same old, same old-- Majnu (Anil Kapoor), Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) and Dr Ghunghroo (Paresh Rawal) return. This time they are trying to pair up a half sister Ranjana (Shruti Haasan) with the doctor’s stepson, Ajjubhai (John Abraham), who substitute for Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar. How did a half sister turn up? Apparenly Shetty Sr. married thrice. He is told, by his rueful son, “Yahan bachche bhookhe baithe hain aur baap teen baar lunch kar chuka hai.”

Instead of Feroz Khan’s stylish RDX, is Naseeruddin Shah playing Wantedbhai with a junkie son Honey (Shiney Ahuja). Meanwhile Majnu and Uday have been targeted by a pair of con women (Dimple Kapadia and Ankita Shrivastava) who pretend to be the queen and princess of Nazamgarh. (Really, in this net-connected age, such a worn out con!)

It’s funny in bits, not because of stream of laugh-out-loud gags, but weird dialogue. Like Paresh Rawal discovering a stepson and wailing, “Jab mane chunav mein vote nahin daala, mera mukhya mantri kaise ho gaya?”

Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal are such fine comics, they manage to keep the film afloat. About John Abraham’s Ajju, Majnu says, “Lagta hai yeh gym mein hi paida hua tha."

When there’s all this mayhem on in the desert, one thinks of the best thing about Welcome Back… it makes some people nostalgic for Welcome.


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