Mubarakan (2017) Review!!

Synopsis – Identical twin brothers turn to their eccentric uncle for help to make sure that they each marry the woman they love.

My Take – I think by now we all know how Bollywood comedies operate, right? No, I am not complaining, mainly as the amidst the usual story-lines revolving around a wrongful love or some form of confusion, we have often witnessed the mixture to result in mindless yet enjoyable laugh riots, with films like No Entry & Welcome being perfect examples. Both directed by Anees Bazmee, who now appears to be getting his mojo back after disappointing with films like Ready & Welcome Back, has also managed to pull a casting coup by bringing together real-life uncle and nephew, Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor as uncle and nephew on screen for the first time. I know, as soon as you know this is a film by director Anees Bazmee you begin to make certain – and not entirely inaccurate – assumptions, like there will be a case of mistaken identity, there will be meddling men, there will be an ear-drum shattering decibel level to the background music, there will be ensemble songs and a complicated climax where all the confusion gets cleared. His latest family dramedy is no different, however it has what it takes to tickle the funny bone as well keep you entertained throughout its rather overlong 170-minute run time and that’s saying a lot for a film that is basically recycling old ideas with the narrow focus of being a clean, all-out entertainer.

The story follows twin brothers; Karan and Charan (both played by Arjun Kapoor), who lose their parents in an accident at an early age. After initial adopting them, their bachelor uncle Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor) decides to separate them by sending Karan to London to his older sister Jeeto (Ratna Pathak Shah) & Charan to Punjab to be raised by his other brother Baldev (Pavan Malhotra). Growing up in different backgrounds, the two have opposite identities, yet a common problem – the both lack the guts to inform their adoptive parents the presence of girl friends in their lives. Charan is in love with Nafisa (Neha Sharma), a lawyer who comes from a very good Muslim family but lacks the guts to tell his old-fashioned father, who will only accept a Sikh daughter in law, while Karan is in love with the hot-headed Sweetie (Ileana D’Cruz) but also lacks the gumption to tell the ever dotting Jeeto. To make it worse, Jitto and Sweetie have a rather distasteful first encounter at a London mall, where neither knows who the other is! Things complicate further, when Jeeto sets up Karan’s marriage with Binkle (Athiya Shetty), daughter of her & husband’s very rich mentor, Mr. Sandhu (Rahul Dev). In order to avoid a wedding fiasco, Karan traps the innocent Charan and convinces his family that his younger brother-by-five minutes will be perfect for Binkle, and the family agrees. In the process to avoid hurting the family or rather bearing the wrath of the over-excited and diamond-clad Punjabi family, Karan and Charan continue to lie. Yet, in order to foil the alliance, the two call upon their uncle Kartar’s help who despite over the years gaining a status for his out of the box plans ends up making matters worse. The rest of the film is about how the two brothers, along with their uncle Kartar solve their problems, confusion and all the madness that surrounds the family. First and foremost, we have a classic Hindi family entertainer san any message coming up after almost two years, after “Welcome Back” (by Bazmee again). This famine has led to a whetted appetite among film buffs to watch a film where we can go with elders and friends and watch sans cringing or embarrassment thanks to the clean humor, the film remains wholesome and hilarious. But in case you still didn’t realize it from the trailers, this is a comedy film that demands that you leave your brains at home. There’s nothing refreshing or exciting about this film but the manner in which it’s presented and the contained expressiveness of its cast of actors make it seem much more than another fruitless masala flick. Of course, Bazmee’s directorial vigor must be commended too. He is, after all, a past master at this game (No Entry, Singh is Kinng) and has had more than his fair share of Box Office successes. The element of confusion, meddling people, a clarification in the most awkward situation are left intact, which means that director Bazmee has stayed true to his type of films. The first half provides way too many laughs as compared to the second half where it bends towards family drama. As expected, the premise is quite sloppy, but that’s never a problem, as evident from previous Bazmee films, these characters thrive well in confusion.

Surprisingly the confusion in the plot does not revolve around the twins since one is without headgear and the other wears a turban. They also dress unlike each other, though both have questionable fashion sense. The madness pivots around marriages being arranged for the brothers. This is one of those films that entertains from start to finish, a ‘paisa vasool’ entertainer of a dysfunctional Punjabi family. It doesn’t get into slapstick zone; the funny scenes haven’t been forced into the screenplay to make the audience laugh. Instead, what we get is a bunch of actors who excel with their comic timing and situations that will have the audience in splits. Fortunately, the standard of jokes in this situational comedy does not fall down to where they shouldn’t be, so it remains to stay true to the family entertainment genre which manages to crackle up the auditorium, courtesy Anil Kapoor. I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone who finds it hard to keep their sense of logic at bay. Mostly the film is outright laugh-out-loud, as there are some genuinely stupid, yet fun moments, like good old school family comedies used to be. But director Bazmee dishes out with a judicious dollop of emotional sequences, which partially dilute the effect considerably. The drama remains silly and unsupportable but Bazmee is unapologetic about it. He pulls out every twist in the book to make it all seem too complicated and knotty- eventually easing it all out towards the climax where the two warring siblings are forced to come together, shed their egos to make their foster sons lives a happily ever after. Nevertheless, despite the resemblance in tenor to the infuriating Ready in the theme (warring families and their climactic reunion), Bazmee and his writers succeed in the small nuances that are classic Bazmee, like the mannequin under the car parked in a No Parking zone, the mix of comedy and emotions, quite a few Anil Kapoor one-liners and so on. But Bazmee must stay away from David Dhawan terrain (the overdose of slaps) and similar, especially when that director is getting more polished in the last few years. And still, the film is worth a watch. It’s one of those songs and dance, sometimes annoying, but largely a fun film which has become such a rarity in Bollywood. At the risk of sounding highly prudish, it’s nice to watch humorous films once in a while, which doesn’t have one of those outrageous Masti series or those Tushar Kapoor starring sex comedies kind of jokes. However, the film has its share of negatives which somehow can’t be overlooked, for example, the angle of Nafisa is rather too conveniently disposed of. If she was to be discarded, it should have been done in a far more convincing way, for example, director Bazmee could have reworked the plot to send a message on communal harmony through humor and the right punches. Plus, the climax is also needlessly stretched by at least 10 minutes. Except for the “Hawa Hawa” song, the music is a letdown. The sad song picturized on Arjun & Athiya is a sore point and a speed-breaker to the proceedings. One thing that really seems to have worked in favor of the film is the ensemble cast. Arjun Kapoor, excels in the double role. What stands out is the amount of shared screen-time that both characters have, it would’ve been incredibly difficult for one actor to make two characters look completely different & Arjun succeeds. Pavan Malhotra owns being a sardar and excels at every opportunity. Ileana D’Cruz looks stunning and carries her role confidently, while Athiya Shetty with her lesser screen time is just about okay. Neha Sharma has a small role & yet does well. Ratna Pathak Shah, in a slightly layered role, is amazing as always. However, its Anil Kapoor who manages to steal the show from everyone. He is a hoot to watch, and is clearly having a blast whilst doing the mindless stuff he is getting to do. With a dozen of films with Bazmee, Anil knows the space through and through, thus, never hitting a single false note. On the whole, ‘Mubarakan’ is an enjoyable family entertainer that offers a great blend of clean, situational and slapstick humor.

Directed – Anees Bazmee

Starring – Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz

Rated – G

Run Time – 170 minutes

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