Good Newwz (2019) Review!!!

Synopsis – Two couples with the same surnames pursue in-vitro fertilization and wait for their upcoming babies. Trouble ensues when they find that the sperms of each couple have been mixed with each other.

My Take – While the Hindi cinema continues to plunder its quality by allowing films such as last weekend’s Dabangg 3 to release, a section of the industry, thankfully, is making a genuine effort to stand apart by venturing towards previously taboo subjects, albeit with necessary mainstream elements to cater to a larger audience.

This latest film to join the brigade also tackles a subject which is quite hush hush, yet has become very relatable in current times – the issue of non-pregnancy and how couples who are unable to naturally conceive seek the medical procedure of In-vitro fertilization (IVF). However, considering the cast and the production house involved (Karan Johar‘s Dharma Production), it was always safe to assume that despite a serious subject matter, the film would also contain commercial elements in order to ensure a good time at the cinema.

Thankfully, it delivers. With moments full of giggle, laughter and everything thing in between, the film manages to be a smooth ride and keeps the viewers enthralled till the end, all the while embracing all tropes of meaningful entertainment. The drama works primarily between its four principal characters and doesn’t rely on sub-plots or unnecessary characters to over-bloat the narrative. At the end, there’s plenty to laugh and cry about for everyone here.

The story follows a Mumbai-based couple, Varun Batra (Akshay Kumar), a successful salesman at a car showroom and Deepti Batra (Kareena Kapoor Khan), an entertainment journalist, who despite being married for seven years, have been unable to conceive. With the family pressure building on them, Deepti continues to coerce Varun in to how she desperately wants to be a mother, while Varun on the other hand remains mixed on his stand, more importantly, he is tired by the efforts being asked to put in.

Seeing how stressful their relationship has become Varun’s sister Richa (Anjana Sukhani), a newly anointed mother insists the two visit a very successful fertility clinic run by Dr. Anand Joshi (Adil Hussain) and his wife, Dr. Sandhya Joshi (Tisca Chopra). The doctors being specialists in IVF, promise to remove all their obstacles, provided they act immediately.

While they complete their procedure with big hopes in their hearts, trouble comes knocking when they are informed that their samples have been mixed with another couple bearing the same surname – Honey Batra (Diljit Dosanjh) and Monika Batra (Kiara Advani), a loud Punjabi couple from Chandigarh, who don’t hesitate to wear matching clothes and like to show off their bling.

Aghast with the fact that Honey’s goods are in Deepti’s womb and Varun being the one responsible for the swelling of Monika’s belly, the two couples, who are poles apart in personality and living style, are forced to deal with the consequences.

Once the horror of the mix-up has been absorbed, larger ideological and emotional questions confront both sets of Batras. How do you define parentage? Who has ownership of the baby when the process is anyway scientifically and artificially assisted? Can a man truly empathize with the woman’s experience?

It’s a clever premise for a comedy of errors, and it also helps that the film is grown-up and matter-of-fact about adult bodily functions and needs. Here, director Raj Mehta makes a confident debut and keeps it real when it comes to showing urban relationships i.e. daily lives of married couples, their fights, worries, wanting to have kids and careers etc. He makes sure to not cross any line keeping this restricted to unabashed entertainment.

He manages the setup extremely well ensuring gut-busting comedy with a well-connected emotional angle. While the film lacks a cohesive screenplay it works itself quite well around with its dialogues. While a film that focuses on pregnancies and sperm counts could have easily ventured into crass or distressful territory, here the film remains clean and generally funny.

Here, writer Rishabh Sharma pens hilarious dialogues which go hand-in-hand with the narrative. With Akshay Kumar‘s Varun getting the best lines and reactions to the ridiculous situations into which the two sets of Batras are forced, with the ‘high on weed’ scene remaining the best portion of the film.

While the film works great as a comedy of errors, in the second half it does dive into repetition, melodrama, manipulation and conservative viewpoints, a factor which is somewhat redeemed by a pointed and emotive monologue by Kareena‘s Deepti on a husband’s lack of understanding of pregnancy. The music also does act as a hindrance in some sequences, but the film does not do a bad job of embracing mainstream Hindi cinema tropes.

As far as performances, Akshay Kumar, who probably has the best character graph in the film, once again hits all the right spots when it comes to comic timing and drama. The narrative allows him to display his range, as he is seen laughing his guts out and crying his eyes out in two different yet key scenes of the film. And needless to say, he does both with immense conviction.

Kareena Kapoor Khan, as always, delivers yet another honest performance and lives her role with sincerity. Diljit Dosanjh gets his character of Honey tremendously well from scene one. All of his lame yet innocent jokes crack you up despite being cringe filled. Dosanjh gets as natural as the character demands to make you believe that he’s Honey in real life.

Kiara Advani too manages to leave an impression, and succeeds in looking and sounding like a Punjabi. Anjana Sukhani, Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra also add fine support. On the whole, ‘Good Newwz’ is a very enjoyable light-hearted social comedy that delivers a bit of everything.

Directed – Raj Mehta

Starring – Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 134 minutes

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