Judwaa 2 Review

Suitably “adapted” to today’s times, "Judwaa 2" still tells the story with the sincerity of the quintessential classic Hindi film of earlier times. (photo provided)

Fox Star Studios & Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment present “Judwaa 2”

Produced by: Sajid Nadiadwala

Directed by: David Dhawan

Written by: E.V.V. Satyanarayana, Yunus Sajawal, & Farhad-Sajid

Music: Anu Malik, Sajid-Wajid, Sandeep Shirodkar & Meet Bros.

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Taapsee Pannu, Anupam Kher,

Rajpal Yadav, Zakir Hussain, Pawan Malhotra, Vivan Bhatena, Sachin Khedekar,

Prachi Shah Pandya, Ali Asgar, Upasana Singh, Manoj Joshi, Manoj Pahwa, Rajat Rawail, Farhad, Atul Parachure, Vikas Verma, Kushaal Pawaar & Sp. App. : Salman Khan & Johny Lever

The classic masala genre centering around the lost-and-found drama (that peaked with Manmohan Desai’s cinema in the ‘70s and ‘80s) began with the 1943 blockbuster “Kismet” and continued until well into the ‘90s. David Dhawan, who considers Desai, his guru, is a well-known adherent of this school of entertainment.

Farah Khan (“Main Hoon Na”), Prabhudheva (“Wanted”) and some others also made films of this genre, which Varun Dhawan, the hero of this film, rightly said is an INDIAN genre when the overall format is considered and needs to be watched by the current generation hooked to various noir and other alien genres.

Add the double-role mistaken identity formula to the lost-and-found, and we boost the entertainment as well as a potential emotional manifold. This, too, was seen in “Kismet” and so many more films with all kinds of story formats. And in 1997, David Dhawan directed one of the iconic films in this mixed genre – “Judwaa.”

In that sense, “Judwaa 2” is a misnomer, simply because it is NOT a sequel but a reboot of the earlier film. The producer and director felt that the story must be told again and the genre must be revamped for GenY audiences. Suitably “adapted” to today’s times, it still tells the story with the sincerity of the quintessential classic Hindi film of those times.

The larger-than-life canvas would have little meaning if logic were the key pivot. This is one film you visit for a blast of entertainment, never mind if you always wonder with the same (dispensable for the sacred cause of value for money fare) logic how the world is so small in every way, including in London. So please watch how the world has shrunk, and not from the technological point of view! We will NOT reveal the many examples!

Business tycoon Rajiv Malhotra (Sachin Khedekar) and wife (Prachi Shah Pandya) get conjoint twins, and criminal Charles (Zakir Hussain) runs away with one of the boys and later makes the couple believe he is dead. Charles is sentenced to 22 years and swears revenge. Prem (Varun Dhawan) is the weaker of the twins, a simple and talented student of music staying with his parents in London.

Samara (Taapsee Pannu), the daughter of a rather libidinous Gujarati widow (Upasana Singh, in many ways reprising her character on the old Kapil Sharma show), falls for him.

Meanwhile, the other twin Raja has been raised in the slums of Mumbai and has grown up into a rough and tough street-smart boy. Raja beats up a rich brat Alex (who for some mysterious reason arrives to pay a visit to a lower class community Ganesh Festival, a Hindu celebration!) when he insults his bosom friend Nandu (Rajpal Yadav) who lisps. As Alex leads a vicious gang, Raja and Nandu are told to run away. Through a sob story told to a passport agent (Johny Lever) who is in the business of such fake documents, Raja and Nandu make their way to London!

In-flight, Raja strikes up a friendship with Alishka (Jacqueline Fernandez), only daughter of a fatheaded tycoon Bakshi (Anupam Kher). But there is a catch. The doctor had told the Malhotras that their twins were rare: if one were hit, the other would feel the pain, and if one of twin hit someone, so would the other within the radius of an average city! And now that Raja and Prem are in the same city, we can imagine what will happen.

Of course, when the time is ripe, the doppelgangers meet, Lord Ganesh does his bit for the good men, and the villain Charles and his son Alex (who else would he be?) are vanquished. The family is reunited with Raja, and the twins get their girls.

Dhawan himself has been in reboot mode since “Chashme Baddoor” (another remake) in 2013 and his first film with son Varun (“Main Tera Hero”/2014) regarding his content and sensibilities and continues in that fashion. Nitpickers and nostalgic buffs will claim that “Judwaa 2” is no patch on the classic, but the standout factor is that this film also lacks the crudity that was (oftener than not) Dhawan’s signature as well as Achilles Heel in those days.

Yes, the songs are not a patch here (the best songs are the recycled “Oonchi Hai Building” and “Tan Tana Tan” from the original film), but otherwise, even some identical sequences are dealt with greater finesse, like the bathroom sequence.

The major change in the remake here is that Dhawan transfers the ‘tapori’ Raja to London, whereas in the earlier film, the story was completely based in Mumbai. This ensures a scaling up of the grandeur and some superb locations and camerawork (Ayananka Bose) and production design (Rajat Poddar). Dhawan makes sure to maintain the emotional high voltage even as the screenplay is a breeze and the dialogues (Farhad-Sajid back in form) often hilarious and witty.

The tributes to innumerable old Hindi films, lines and songs will strike a huge chord with the masses and a lot of the classes. For Farhad-Sajid here, Shah Rukh Khan seems a special favorite! However, the crass touch of Bakshi dancing with his maid, daughter and boyfriend Raja, while Prem also kisses his girl’s mother could well bring down the appeal of the film enough to compromise the business, just like similar flaws in “Mubarakan.”

The script brings in an assortment of characters of all hues and most of the actors fit the bill. Special mention must be made of the quiet dignity of Prachi Shah Pandya as the twins’ mother, Rajat Rawail and Farhad himself as the people in the jewelry shop, Johny Lever as Pappu Passport and of course Anupam Kher, Zakir Hussain and Rajpal Yadav.

Taapsee Pannu makes the best of the limited role she has and looks good in general, which is mostly all she has to do. Jacqueline Fernandez, however, dances like a dream and matches up to top mainstream heroines in her spontaneous and livewire act as Alishka.

Varun Dhawan is, of course, the lifeline of the film. He is himself as Raja, but as the meek Prem, he steals the show. Effortless, energetic and thoroughly lovable, he is the spine of the film and kudos to his dad and his team for making the best of his star charisma. However, one cannot say that for the forced goodwill cameo of Salman Khan (and Salman Khan) as the “original” Judwaa’s. This gimmick should have been either completely avoided or done very wittily anytime after the twins meet and realize who they are.

After eons comes a Hindi film that relooks at hallowed time-tested genres that gave Hindi cinema some of its biggest classics. Let us hope that today’s audiences, who think it unfashionable to patronize such fare, make an exception here. “Judwaa 2” is masala entertainment, unapologetic, undiluted and, of course, as unique for today’s times.

Rating: ***1/2

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