Movie Review: Slapstick porn doesn’t cut it with this sequel of Welcome

Movie Review: Slapstick porn doesn’t cut it with this sequel of Welcome

By PAYEL MAJUMDAR | | 5 September, 2015
Welcome Back | Director: Anees Bazmee | Starring: Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Shruti Hassan

This is a brief example of how dialogue and action begins in Welcome Back. Scene: Mafia dons Uday aka Nana Patekar and Majnu bhai aka Anil Kapoor are seen living it up in their fantastic Dubai hotel property. Their gangster days are behind them, and it is now their turn to become respectable businessmen. A small town goon has come to collect “hafta”,  an informal tax levied by local gangs on businessmen so they may operate in peace.

Anil Kapoor (without provocation): Chalte hue gas ke gubbare.

Nana Patekar: Chhor, yeh humaare guzare hue kal ki badsoorat parchhai hai. 

We are thus told the conflict in the film from the outset. Anil Kapoor is resentful towards the respectable life that they lead now, while his partner-in-crime, Uday Bhai, has turned over a new leaf. They have given up guns, and their colourful sidekick characters are managing the hotel for them, instead of their extortion business. Cracks in this civil code of behaviour occur at regular intervals, metaphorically portrayed as the sound of guns loading (in Patekar’s head) but, as he says, “Control!” is what keeps them in check. We can see shades of Sylvester Stallone’s mafia comedy Oscar here; gangsters trying to be civilised can potentially be very funny. 

What can be more civil and human than a marriage, becoming a family and returning to the fold? The gangsters are old now, “much past their expiry date”, and while their sidekicks go for karva chauth to their wives and have kids to blow kisses to, the empty bar where they are left echoes the emptiness of their degenerate lives. Enter Sakshi Maggo and Dimple Kapadia, the mother-daughter impersonator duo, out to loot the two men by making them both fall in love with Maggo. Simultaneously, enter Shruti Hassan, sister-from-another-mother of Uday Bhai, who must be married off because how else is a normal, respectable life in this
country achieved?

This is when Welcome Back degrades into slapstick porn, which would have been fine had the gags been funny, but no, I can think of at least five other movies this year that were funnier, while having a plot at the same time. 

Back to the meaningless mess on screen, with guns firing, people slut-shaming, women acting like the silly molls that they are supposed to be, and a lot of fake kissing, suddenly we arrive at Unwanted (Naseeruddin Shah), the blind don’s house, with his drug addled painter/lover son Honey (Shiney Ahuja). Lots of money-honey obvious innuendos are cracked (were the dialogue writers on strike?). A graveyard scene is thrown in for good measure. John Abraham thinks if he smiles at the screen with his eyes twinkling and his shirt ripped apart, people are going to forget all about the fact that he still cannot act after years in the industry. Paresh Rawal has decided he will play Babu Rao from Hera Pheri  in every comedy that he is cast in. Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor are engaging, but mostly because they are making so much noise that it is difficult to concentrate on anything else. Naseeruddin Shah is the villain who is different from the rest — the general criticism about the goons — “Haath pair chalaate hain, bandook chalaate hain, par dimaag nahi chalaate” — does not apply to him. As all parties try to hoodwink each other to get to the women, he manages to come up with the destructive master plan that leads to the climax. By this time (over two hours), we couldn’t care less for all the clowning — repetitive and no less sad than a circus clown with no new tricks. 

Most of the film has been set in Dubai’s numerous lush locations (that look nothing like Mission Impossible because of tacky art direction and cinematography) and the climax takes place in the desert, with guns raining like crackers on Diwali. The Rohit Shetty-style finale has everything from an orange helicopter and exploding drones to an army of camels of the loose, to try and distract the audience from a wafer thin script.  It works for exactly
10 seconds.  

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