Synopsis – Uday Shetty and Majnu Bhai have left the underworld, and are now big businessmen. Two women, Chandni and Maharani, enter their life. Chandni is the new love in Uday Shetty and Majnu’s life and both friends dream of tying the knot with her. However, Appa – Uday’s father, plays spoilsport by bringing in his other daughter, Ranjana. He tells Uday Shetty to get her married to someone from a good family. Maharani puts a condition that only after her sister is married, will Chandni will marry one of them. Now, a search to find a suitable husband for Ranjana starts.
My Take – For the past decade it seems like if a film becomes successful (especially box office wise) the producers think it just deserves to have a sequel, while some films like Don 2, Golmaal sequels, Singham Returns, Dhoom sequels (box office wise only) & of course the recently released Tanu Weds Manu Returns may serve as a good example, while the numerous other sequels strongly make the others case. Sadly this sequel to an eight years old film makes the other case. Frankly, I dint hate the film, It has its historical moments, when it’s funny, it is supremely funny – but only in bits. As the film drawed to its ridiculous over the top climax, it made a statement for itself on why this film should have never existed. Well of course I am not talking about sensibilities here, a film from comedy master director Anees Bazmee requires none of them! His films usually work on comic characters, witty one liners & hilarious fictional situations, in other words ‘keep your brains at home’ kind of cinema. The main reason why the 2007 film worked was that it managed to be a brainless yet a delightfully funny film which can still make us happy & laugh out loud whenever it appears on TV. Plus this sequel has no Akshay Kumar!! John Abraham has quite niche for comedy himself, but something seems a miss without the Khiladi. Somehow the lead pair of John Abraham and Shruti Haasan looks weak opposed to the highly successful Kumar and Katrina Kaif pairing back in 2007. However, he has managed to retain the majority of his motley crew and added a couple of stalwarts to the wolfgang as well. Nevertheless, the film is mounted on an enormous scale with money spent profusely on every thing possible.
The story follows Uday Bhai (Nana Patekar) and Majnu Bhai (Anil Kapoor), who after the events of the 1st film are now reformed legitimate business men, with just a desire to get married before its too late. Unfortunate for them, both the ‘bhais’ fall for the same girl again – Chandni (debutante Ankita Srivastava) who has wooed the dons, unknown to them she along with her mom Poonam (Dimple Kapadia) form a team of con artists who are out to dupe them. Out of the blue Uday’s Dad Shankar Shetty (also played by Nana Patekar) brings in another daughter Ranjana (Shruti Haasan) from his 3rd marriage and asks Uday to get her married too. Poonam grabs this opportunity to put a condition before Uday-Majnu to get his sister married before their own marriage. At the same time Dr. Ghunghroo (Paresh Rawal) comes to know that he has a step son Ajay/Ajjubhai (John Abraham), a feared local goon in Mumbai. After a few hilarious events Ajju & Ranjana fall in love. To complete the wolfpack, there is Wanted Bhai (Naseeruddin Shah), a blind Don and his drug-addict son Honey (Shiney Ahuja, making his comeback), who is also obsessed with Ranjana. What happens next forms the long-winded story. While in Welcome, Uday and Majnu clearly had the upper hand over a meek Rajiv (Akshay Kumar), here Ajju is a beast of his own kind & keeps both former gangsters on their toes. A lot of the contrivances in this sequel look like they have been made to happen to regurgitate the success of the first part. That apart, a barrage of insipid songs haunt your senses as they play out, especially a romantic number between the lead pair. In fact, their chemistry is so half-baked that you would lose interest in them right away. Unlike Welcome, there are no clear motives of characters and they are used by the screenplay (Bazmee, Rajeev Kaul, Rajan Aggarwal, Praful Parekh) to satisfy the unreal plot. But likes I said earlier, the film is not all bad. There are numerous lough out loud moments, specially abled by the chemistry provided by Patekar and Kapoor. Many a times I found myself guffawing at the punches, and very few times at the gags, specially the long gag at a graveyard in second half is hysterical. The film gasps for a story, which looks repetitive if you have enjoyed the prequel, and the small amount of humor that it does have is mindless slapstick that induce nothing more than a titter. As a result, the screenplay tries to entertain itself by allowing its characters to play antakshari in a graveyard with two fake bodies doing rounds around them.
Director Anees Bazmee tries to keep the movie pacy and interesting but the unconvincing writing makes it hard to get really involved. Also the characters of Uday-Majnu feel like helpless and powerless which does not feel right to look at. We do not mind headless comedy but it should at least make us laugh otherwise our focus tends to be on the lack of logic more than the joke. Nevertheless, the film gets boring at times, and is very entertaining at other times, but never does it get unbearable. The production values of this film are huge but still some frames suffer from bad CGI work. Kabir Lal’s cinematography is very touristy and grand, but also very tacky at times. Among the performances, Anil Kapoor is the star of the show, closely followed by Nana Patekar, who together are responsible for providing the most laughs. Kapoor looks delectable and walks through Majnu Bhai with a panache (How does Anil Kapoor manage to look as good as he does, I have no clue.) On the other hand, Nana plays Uday subtly but manages to make a significant impact. John Abraham is likable, getting stuffed between two veterans is not an easy job, but Johny boy here manages to hold his own. Shruti Haasan ludicrously runs through all her lines, a miscast. Paresh Rawal is his usual awesome self and manages to crack you up many a times. Dimple Kapadia and Shiney Ahuja seem wasted in inconsequential roles. Debutante Ankita Srivastava may look gorgeous but has a long way to go for acting skills. Veteran Naseeruddin Shah looks completely out of place as the master don and his jokes are mostly mundane. Every one else in the supporting cast are likable. On the whole, ‘Welcome Back’ is passable for a one time watch, and considering its first part was a classic, this one seems ten notches down. However, it is Uday and Majnu’s histrionics that provide a reason to watch this film. Of course it’s the kind of film where the use of one’s brain is strictly prohibited. But nothing quite prepares us for the long-drawn climax which frankly is in the realm of the bizarre. However, when Welcome Back manages to get it right – which it does in bits and pieces — it’s the hardest I have laughed in a while. If you are an ardent fan of Uday-Majnu angle from the first part, do give this one a try, else there is nothing much to rave about.
Director – Anees Bazmee
Rating – U/A
Run Time – 152 minutes