Synopsis – This spoof comedy narrates the story of a cop Arjun Patiala and his sidekick Onidda Singh. Together, will they be able to accomplish their mission of a crime-free town with their goofy style of policing?
My Take – Ever since the dawn of Hindi cinema, filmmakers have portrayed policemen as some form of mythical creatures. They either hold authoritative power and use it for good use in the most loudest and property damaging way possible, or simply just represent the menace of growing corruption where they form a nexus with the criminals they are supposed to stop.
And when cast in unimportant roles, they are portrayed as simple government employees who are fashionably late and reach any crime scene only after the said hero has meted out his form of justice.
However, this film has a different approach in mind. Instead of providing yet another illusory tribute to the men in uniform, it showcases itself as a first kind of attempt to make a spoof on the larger than life cop dramas. Keeping that in mind, director Rohit Jugraj and writer Ritesh Shah have obviously thrown caution to the wind and indulged in a care-a-damn attitude. They have given absolute hoots to the critics, a fact that is blatantly spelt out by the end of the film.
Yet despite all that, this screwball comedy ends up being nothing but a big letdown. Sure, the film does have its humorous moments.
The actors are worth a watch, and the humor could have been enjoyable if it was intelligently mounted, but, unfortunately with a perfunctorily-designed plot, flippant graphics and absurd gags, the end result is nothing but disappointing.
Presented as a film within a film in which a struggling writer-director (Abhishek Banerjee) coaxes a prospective producer (Pankaj Tripathi) to back his film, by ensuring the script has all the requisite elements for a hit film. While the producer agrees, the writer insists that he is listens to his story of the matchless bravery of the police force as well.
The story follows Arjun Patiala (Diljit Dosanjh), a judo champion with a heart of gold. Following the advice of his personal hero, IPS Officer Amarjeet Singh Gill (Ronit Roy), Arjun works hard to win the judo championship, which in turn awards him with the job of a sub-inspector under the sports quota.
Posted at Ferozpur, under the behest of Amarjeet, Arjun and Onida Singh (Varun Sharma), the head constable, immediately begin working on making the district a crime free zone. Considering how legal matters can stack up against them to pursue these set of ruthless criminals including one Sakool (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), the duo decide to weed out the crime by creating situations where the criminals take on one and another, killing each other in the process. However, trouble arises when Ritu Randhawa (Kriti Sanon), a crime reporter who Arjun has fallen in love with, begins to suspect foul play.
Honestly, the film’s concept had the potential to be an absolute laugh riot. The situational comedy and dialogues work in some parts, but that is largely due to the actors and not much credit can be given to the writers here. This one is made as an attempt at subverting Bollywood’s formulaic films. It makes self-deprecating jokes, and presents a checklist of Bollywood tropes.
Even Sunny Leone is woven into the narrative when she seeks Arjun’s assistance, and he comes forward to help her. Then, all of a sudden, the director informs his producer that for absolutely for no reason, we break into an item number. However, the item song lacks gusto to breathe life into the narrative. But this parody forgets the one ingredient that makes for a successful film, i.e. the ability to keep the audience engaged. In its motive of ridiculing everything that the mainstream, commercial big-fancy cop drama or in general, any film stands for, the film stretched its seams too far and became an object of ridicule itself.
The film is poorly made in terms of writing, narrative arch and story-line, whereas, well-made as far as experimentation with form, design, music and recreations of iconic moments and some sequences here and there are concerned.
There are sub-plots about Arjun’s trigger-happy father, a corrupt MLA and Ritu’s sad past. None of these stick, and the comedy is puerile at worst, tepid at its best.
Every time a character was introduced on screen, a big yellow text appeared on the screen mentioning who he/she was. And, in moments completely unnecessary and uncalled for, the text reappeared to tell what was happening or to further the already simplified narrative.
Perhaps, the makers got carried away to an extent that they forgot that audiences do not need to be spoon-fed to such an extent; understood images and narratives need not be told, thereby striking an imbalance in the show and tell-arch of the motion picture.
In a surprising chilling scene that comes out of nowhere, Sakool, is seen bumping off a dreaded criminal jokingly. While everyone around gets scared, he coolly walks off. Though nearly most of the film is inane, it becomes therefore, difficult to know which way the film is headed at this point. Also the entire scene of a drunk Arjun talking to a dead Onida is quite over-the-top.
Performance wise, Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh is his usual pleasant self as he attempts yet again to broaden his base and convince Hindi audiences of his low-key charm. Dosanjh doesn’t set the screen on fire in his films but he never leaves it in tatters either, and here too he is likable as the titular lead. Kriti Sanon looks drop dead gorgeous and as always is a delight to watch.
Varun Sharma too continues to be a riot. Varun and Diljit‘s easy-going bromance is fun to watch and together they pull off even the silliest of dialogues with laughter. However, in supporting roles, Ronit Roy, Seema Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Biswapati Sarkar, Abhishek Banerjee, and Pankaj Tripathi have little to do. On the whole, ‘Arjun Patiala’ is a disappointing comic caper, which despite its potential, is letdown by its trite humor and a lazily-crafted plot.
Directed – Rohit Jugraj
Rated – PG
Run Time – 107 minutes