Synopsis – A quasi sequel of the 2003 film Hungama.
My Take – Though filmmaker Priyadarshan was already a well-established filmmaker in Malayalam cinema for over two decades, with occasional dabs at Tamil and Telugu films, and found critical and commercial success with his Hindi ventures like Gardish (1993) and Virasat (1997), it wasn’t until the release of rib tickling Hera Pheri (2000), a remake of the 1989 Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking, that Priyadarshan set his mark in the minds of the Hindi speaking audience.
And by further following it up with remakes in the form of Hungama (2003), Hulchul (2004), Garam Masala (2005), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Malamaal Weekly (2006), Chup Chup Ke (2006), Dhol (2007), among others, Priyadarshan became a household name associated with Bollywood comedy. Films that are cherished till date.
But with his style of comedy drying out as the years passed, with his last comedy being the underwhelming Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal (2012), and his branching out efforts to take on dramatic material like Kyon Ki (2005), Billu (2009), and Bumm Bumm Bole (2010), and action affair like Aakrosh (2010), Tezz (2012) and Rangrezz (2013) also seeing failed results, Priyadarshan returned to helming Malayalam (like the superb 2016 thriller Oppam) and Tamil films.
Now returning after a gap of eight years, with a remake of his own 1993 Malayalam original, Minnaram, Priyadarshan had a lot to deliver considering the film’s Hindi title attached itself as the next installment to the much beloved 2003 film. Plus, given the director’s signature style of conjuring up confusion to evoke laughter, one is mentally prepared to suspend belief and take in the high-pitched slapstick comedy without asking too many questions.
Unfortunately, one could not have expected how excruciating the experience was going to be.
While the supposed sequel is nowhere close to the original, it even fails to work as an independent comedy. With a few laughs here and there, dialogues that border on cringe and a story line that spins out of control in the first act itself, director Priyadarshan’s latest feature is run-of-the-mill and stale that leaves you completely disinterested for 156 minutes.
Sure, like any filmmaker Priyadarshan too has delivered quite a few duds over his prolific career, but the depths to this one plumbs sure is going to be hard to beat, as hands down this is his worst film yet.
The story follows Aakash “Akku” Kapoor (Meezaan Jaffrey), the youngest son of Colonel Gobind Kapoor (Ashutosh Rana), who is all set to get married to Simran, the daughter of Manasvit G. Bajaj (Manoj Joshi), a business tycoon and his father’s friend. However, his simple life comes to screeching halt when his former girlfriend Vaani (Pranitha Subhash) unexpectedly arrives at his home with a three year old daughter in hand and loads of love letters, claiming that Akash impregnated her while they were dating back in college, and skipped town.
While Aakash is absolute that Vaani is lying and has a hidden agenda in play, he seeks the help of his colleague, Anjali (Shilpa Shetty), to prove his innocence, despite all the evidence against him. To make matters worse, Radhe (Paresh Rawal), Anjali’s suspicious lawyer-husband, overhears one of her conversations with the Kapoors and assumes that his wife and Aakash are having an affair and decides to end matters on his own terms. What follows next is a series of misunderstandings that barely tickle your funny bone.
Considering this is a Priyadarshan film, it sure does possess an interesting plot in hand, with ample situations to elevate the confusion with gags, it seemed to be holding back from doing so, resulting in a film devoid of any form of laughter. For some reason, instead of going all out with the comedy, here, director Priyadarshan tries to balance the film with drama and emotions in the style of a 90s potboiler, minus entertainment. And the subplots just add to the confusion and boredom.
More than the story, it is the jaded execution that is the problem. For over two hours and thirty six minutes, Priyadarshan, and his writers Yunus Sajawal, Manisha Korde and Anukalp Goswami, work hard on drawing out laughs, yet none of them land the way they are meant to.
Mainly as the writing seemed out of touch, with only two exact scenes making me laugh, while the rest being unfunny and depending on hugely objectionable references to marital rape and to inflicting physical punishment on children. Even the trademark chaotic climax of a Priyadarshan film is a letdown barring a tiny bit.
Even the performance suffer due to the poor writing. Though Meezaan Jaffri (son of veteran comic actor Javed Jaaferi), showed promise in his debut in the damp squib, Malaal (2019), here he isn’t backed by an effective script or direction to bring out his comic chops. The same goes for Pranitha Subhash, an established young actress in the Kannada, Tamil and Telugu industry, who in her Hindi debut is allowed to hold the reins of the narrative.
Other than proving that she still has good screen presence especially in the revamped version of ‘Chura Ke Dil Mera’ song, Shilpa Shetty, who returns on the big screen after 14 years, has little to nothing to do in the film, other than being eye candy. Even Paresh Rawal, who is undoubtedly a master of terrific comic timing, is saddled with a character that simply comes across as obnoxious and makes you cringe mostly.
Surprisingly it is Ashutosh Rana who actually carries the whole film, with his character being the least sufferable, and with the best punch lines. Even Tiku Talsania and Rajpal Yadav bring some heart to the film. While Manoj Joshi and Johnny Lever barely gets a chance to showcase their funny side. Akshaye Khanna‘s cameo is among the film’s very few high points. On the whole, ‘Hungama 2’ is an uninspired and disappointing comedy that is probably going to be ranked as one of the worst films of the year.
Directed – Priyadarshan
Rated – PG
Run Time – 156 minutes