Brainlessly entertaining

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jul 2017 09:49:05


By Farina Salim Quraishi

“Purani whiskey acchi lagti hai, baatein nahi…” Anil Kapoor says at one point of time in Mubarakan. And after sitting through long minutes of insipid gags and a dozen song-and-dance routines, we can only say, “Old wine rocks, stale comedy… well, not so much!” Comedy of clones pulling punches in a confusion of errors has been done to death already in scores of films, yet director Anees Bazmee - with Mubarakan- revisits all the old jokes in the Bollywood book, with the cheer firmly in place leaving us a little amused but mostly bemused.

The film about two weddings and a wrangle is set in motion two decades back, when identical twin brothers Karan and Charan Singh (Arjun Kapoor) are separated by an accident. The boys, put into the foster care of their Chacha and Bua - in India and England respectively- by their guardian Chacha Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor), grow up as cousin brothers. Diametrically dissimilar in attitude as much as they are similar in appearance, both the boys are in love but refuse to be men about it.

While Charan, brought up by his dominating Chacha Baldev (Pavan Malhotra), is in love with Nafisa Qureshi (Neha Sharma); London-based Karan is dating fiery Sweety (Ileana D’Cruz). Incidentally, Sweety is on the hate list of Karan’s foster mother Jeeto (Ratna Pathak) after a not-so-sweet-run-in with her in a London mall. On the other hand, Baldev Singh detests all things Mughal, including Mughlai food (there is no demarcation really)!

With both Karan and Charan keeping mum about their love lives, the elders of the family make plans to settle the boys. Trouble spills over after Binkle (Athiya Shetty) is chosen as a bride for Charan by Jeeto. In order to scuttle the alliance, Charan stages an elaborate drug drama with Kartar Singh, unaware of his whimsical heart. Courtesy the charade, Jeeto and Baldev get into a war of words vowing never to speak again; prompting an enraged Baldev to swear to solemnise Charan’s wedding the very next month -with Sweety! How then the comedy of confusion plays out with Kartar Singh making it worse with his  ingenious ideas forms much of the movie thereon.

Mubarakan is as massy as a Bollywood film can get and doesn’t take itself seriously. The movie jumps from London to Punjab and back again, for no rhyme or reason other than to just make way to the endless song and dance routines. The songs which are unhummable to say the least. There is no room for logic in the 156-minute film, which is overflowing with long drawn out scenes, heavy dialogue-baazi, emotional monologues, overacting and dramatic showdowns. Crammed with cliches, the film unabashedly goes through each and every stereotype against Sikhs, Shaadis and Sambhandis to the hilt. Also, the film wades into the patriarchal and regressive zone with disconcerting ease, making you squirm at the blatant idiocrasy of it all. But to his credit, the director doesn’t resort to vulgar gestures and double-meaning jokes. Situational comedy, some clever punchlines and cross-references bring on the laughs in this one, albeit intermittently. Though rip-roaring scenes and solid comic punches are few and far between, Mubarakan is a feel good film.

At the helm of things, Anil Kapoor is in jhakass form as the unwitting creator of chaos. Right from driving a car which says, ‘Buri nazar wale tera muh gora’, to getting the accent spot-on, Kapoor is the scene-stealer in the film, giving all the young stars a run for their money. It’s little wonder then that Anil Kapoor and his antics dominate the film, despite Arjun Kapoor having a dual appearance. Though Arjun puts his best funny foot forward, he is no match for the incredible comic timing of the elder Kapoor. Also, despite this being his second twin role after Aurangzeb, there is little to tell Charan and Karan apart, save for the turban! The camaraderie of the real-life uncle and nephew is nevertheless heartwarming.

Ileana D’Cruz as the spirited girl of Karan’s life has a meaty part. She sinks her teeth into it and comes up trump. Both Neha Sharma and Athiya Shetty have badly etched roles and have little to do other than being bright decorative pieces. However, it is Ratna Pathak Shah and Pavan Malhotra, who shine strong with their nuanced performance. Both the stars lend a semblance of sanity to the otherwise implausible film.  With a strong work for your patience and too little for your grey cells, Mubarakan can be just a weekend watch, provided you don’t expect much from it.

The Hitavada Rating: O O