Whoa, yeh kya hua? A chihuahua – a college girl’s pet dog whom she carries quite oddly to the campus – remains silent throughout the car collisions, fusions and the mass confusion. Come to think of it, this cutie-pooh chihuahua is the only remarkably different element of this vendetta packet which also keeps breaking into flames. Do take care to carry your fire-proof jackets.
Of course, for those who may have suffered from temporary memory loss, it may be pointed out that the Sunny Deol acted-written-directed Ghayal Once Again is a belated sequel to the over-15-year-old Ghayal.
The progenitor was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, aah in peak form those days. However, the follow-up has been helmed by Deol sir who’s elected to return to the direction scene after his rom-com Dillagi (1999) turned out to be an oh-no. Plenty of baggage is lugged, then, by the second-parter which, frankly, leaves you with one helluva serious headache. Groan, grrrrrr.
At the very outset, tinted flashbacks jog your memory to the Ghayal that was. Sach, thank you very much. Next, you’re introduced to a kinky caboodle of characters: four “chhote bachche” or campus youth who’re off to a forest picnic of sorts, quickie looks are darted at their papas, mammas and a grandpa (Ramesh Deo, puckish as ever), a longish glance is lavished upon a cop who quakes on the prospect of getting corrupt (clap, clap), not to forget those extended inspections of the beastly baddies including a mean minister whose head is smoother than a helipad. Oh.
Wait, there’s more. Draw your handshake away from Mr Bansal
(Narendra Jha), a business tycoon whose freshly-ironed suits compel you to go
into a swoon but not in a nice way. And hey, there’s Tycoon Jr (Silken Hair)
who has this fetish for committing murders. Shudders.
Indeed, there’s an excessive amount of top aerial shots, special effects which make Worli look like Manhattan, plus swishes-‘n’-pans to that terrible tycoon’s so-called mansion. Too much tension. Worse, more characters keep popping out of the oakwork, like a nasty newspaper baron (Leer Leer) who maintains a harem, only to be locked up in jail pronto. You worry about the harem’s closure. Sad, really, only Pet Dog Chihuaha remains the constant.
Cor blimey but what about the invincible hero of yore? Namely the permanently wronged Ajay Mehra (Sunny Deol), who once shook you up by screaming, “Mere bhai ko maar daala!” Sure, the Injured One is very much around; only this time, he’s crying out loud, “Meri beti ko lauta do!” How’s that update from a slain brother to a captive daughter for the emotional quotient? Quite contrived, actually.
Danger: a joyless ride ahead. After some years in jail, your Ajay Mehra isn’t hearty and hale. He gets fits. A doctor of sorts (Soha Ali Khan) advises sagely, “Get over it. Or even the best neurologist in the world can’t help you.” Disturbing this doc of sorts. She also has the nerve to theorise that electric shock therapy is an ideal cure. Do wonder what psycho-analysts, psychiatrists and neurologists would have to say about this though.
Predictably whenever in distress, the wronged Ajay Mehra lambasts the system and its machinery. After all, he’s editing a nothing-but-the-truth newspaper called Satyakam (in a nod to dad Dharmendra’s outstanding performance in the Hrishida film) which believe it or faint, possesses a secret cyber den to track down miscellaneous Mogambos and Gabbars.
Currently, as it happens, the Satyakam news team is striving to save the lives of the aforedescribed “chhote bachche” who have inadvertently recorded a murder on video. Shades of Antonioni’s Blow-Up? No, no, must be a kooky coincidence.
The murder is just a part of several, it seems, committed by Terrible Tycoon and Jr.
Ensues the type of die-hard doodah which coerces you to shed salty tears into your caramel corn. All the action – on terrace tops, speeding trains and a security-devoid mall where shoppers gambol despite buckets of bloodshed -- you’ve already endured ever since you were in your diapers, haven’t you? About the only redeeming point is that the Rebooted Ghayal Ajay Mehra cries copiously, too.
Technically, the toil of the action team and the far-out set design squad is commendable. Not so, of the editing crew which at a pinch, launches into old-fashioned split screens. As for the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy music, the less heard the better.
Of the actors, the performances are a mixed bag. Narendra Jha isn’t entirely convincing as the manic tycoon. From the “chhote bachche” quartet, Shivam Patil and Neha Khan are impressive. In a rare appearance, Nadira Zaheer Babbar bedecked in an Ali Baba cave-ful of jewellery, manages to invest her sketchy part with accomplished dramatics.
And what about Sunny Deol directing himself as an actor? Regretful answer: he shouldn’t have.
Tailpiece: your heart keeps pounding and pounding for the beleaguered chihuahua. Does the cute one survive till the end? Woof, am not telling.
Thumbnail Image Source: twitter/SunnyDeol