“Mubarakan”… A bearable comedy (but nothing more)

Posted on July 30, 2017


Spoilers ahead…

Had Mubarakan just been about the characters played by its senior cast, we’d have had a family melodrama of a bachelor brother (Anil Kapoor’s Kartar Singh) torn between his warring siblings: Jeeto (Ratna Pathak) and Baljeet (Pavan Malhotra). But the film wants to be an Anees Bazmee comedy as well, the kind where we’re supposed to erupt into laughter because the kulfi-wala passes by with a cart carrying the name Izzat Ka Falooda. So we have to rely on the junior cast, headed by Arjun Kapoor playing twins (Karan, Charan). Looking at the actor trying valiantly to… act, you know why Bazmee made the family Sikh. Charan wears a turban. Karan doesn’t. Otherwise, you couldn’t tell them apart.

The story begins in 1990, when, as babies, Karan and Charan are orphaned. Bazmee then uses a family tree to show how Charan and Karan ended up so different – and the scene isn’t half-bad. Given Bazmee’s earlier work, the film itself isn’t half-bad. To see why, just recall the scene in No Problem where Paresh Rawal says “I hate black” (he’s talking about the paint Akshaye Khanna has unknowingly applied all over his face), and finds himself surrounded by irate black people, one of whom screams, “Obama is the President of America and you still hate us?” And then it turned out, worse was in store. At least Mubarakan doesn’t subject us to a gorilla passing gas and blowing someone off the frame.

A comedy lives and dies on the strength of its bits, and Mubarakan has a few. Charan is in love with a Muslim (Nafisa, played by Neha Sharma), so Urdu creeps into his speech. (You can only imagine where a genuinely funny actor would have taken this.) There’s a Britisher who’s so Punjabi-fied that he calls everyone paaji. But it isn’t enough. The film is way too long, and because it keeps veering into drama, there are major pacing issues. And it’s distasteful that Karan and Charan keep treating the heroines – Nafisa, Binkle (Athiya Shetty), Sweety (Ileana D’Cruz) – like ping-pong balls.  To have three women fighting over Arjun Kapoor, we’ve passed the realms of comedy and drama and slipped into sci-fi fantasy.

Copyright ©2017 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi