Hungama 2 is the kind of, haha, a comedy where we are supposed to laugh at a line like, “Iss Gehna ko lekar nikal Behna” and where the family cook runs around the house with a wooden ladle to remind us of his purpose in the plot. The ladle is the most wooden thing you see in Hungama 2. The actors are required to be the opposite of wooden. They are all expected to overact in every frame. Watching poor Rajpal Yadav OD-ing on verbal diarrhoea in a comic sequence specially written for him I feared for his heart. Rajpal pulls out all stops—I could just imagine Priyan screaming from behind the camera, ‘Aur acting, aur acting’—until I feared Rajpal looks like he is having a stroke.
This is a film where every character is constantly hyper about everything under the sun, from short skirts to long relationships, the former leading to a traffic snarl and the latter to a baby. Such is life in a Priyadarshan film. Tough, ticklish, turbulent….Paresh Rawal plays Tiwari the married husband of a hot-and-sex woman. Hot and sexy bole toh, Shilpa Shetty who has nothing much to do except….ummm…look hot and sexy and occasionally roll her eyes at her insufferable husband who suspects every man from age 8 to 80 to lusting after his wife. At the climax, she even slaps the obnoxious husband. Why does she bear with him? Why doesn’t she just walk out? These are questions we ask ourselves as the gags go from vaguely annoying to downright disgusting.
The jokes are sillier than kindergarten humour. Sample this: Radheshyam stops at a traffic light where an old man stares at his wife. Radheshyam loses the plot. Turns out the man staring at his wife is blind. Radheshayam’s spousal neurosis is amusing only to a point beyond, after which it becomes an exercise in tedium. The main plot is about a young heir Akaash(Meezan Jaffrey) who is called ‘Akku’ only by the hot-and-sexy Shilpa Shetty, facing a paternity claim when his former girlfriend Vaani(Pranitha Subhash, doing a poor man’s Hema Malini) lands up at his doorstep with a baby. The situation generated some laughter 50 years ago when in Ek Nari Ek Bramhachari where Mumtaz muscled into Jeetendra’s home claiming he was the father of her child.
In 2021 the paternity gimmick seems outdated. Have these people not heard of a DNA test? They have they have! But the test, you see, is proven inconclusive by the family’s cook who whips up some cock and bull about a vague doctor, his fuzzy report. Doctors, cops, and other professionals have no business in Priyadarshan’s universe. Oh yes, there is a filmmaker in the film, played by Akshaye Khanna(making an unimpressive guest appearance). Akshaye is shooting a film called Judge Bhi Kabhi Chor Tha. Hopefully, that won’t be the title of Priyan’s next comedy.
Man lives on hope. But Hungama 2 doesn’t provide much to be hopeful about. It is largely stilted in its plotting and vapid in execution. The film is formatted in large episodic chunks, the first 20 minutes shamelessly ripped off from Gulzar’s Parichay with four young brats driving their teacher Johnny Lever(yes, he’s also in this) nuts. Another 20 minutes has to do with an engagement ceremony in a temple where Akaash must avoid being seen by Vani getting betrothed to Manoj Joshi’s daughter.
Yes, the old Priyan favourite Joshi is also in this. They are all in it, accomplices in a conspiracy to fool us into believing we are amused by the proceedings. But the jokes fall flat. The humour is undone. The witticism withers into a dead end in no time at all. By the time Meezan and Shilpa hit the dancefloor with Chura ke dil mera (push-button nostalgia at it most pushy), the comedy has lost its plot. Every character says the dialogues as though someone was prompting them from behind the camera. Poor Meezan Jaffrey. He deserves better. So do we.
Directed by Priyadarshan, Hungama 2 gets 2 stars.
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