“Judwaa 2.”… A bloated, unfunny remake, barely kept afloat by its star

Posted on September 30, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

The dilemma with reviewing David Dhawan’s Judwaa 2 is this: When so little effort has been expended on the film, how much should one expend on the review? Oh, there’s a lot of logistical effort, all right — all the work it takes to make a Bollywood film big and bright and splashy. But the writing? Let me put it this way. The whole point about redoing something is to fix what didn’t work. What do you remember about the earlier Judwaa? Salman Khan’s antics or the tiresome gangster subplot? One would think this is the chance to get rid of that angle altogether, but Dhawan adds to it. This film runs some 15 minutes longer, and isn’t much better.

I wish I could say I have fond memories of Judwaa, which had a great premise — conjoined twins, with connected reflexes — and did very little with it. Dhawan’s films have never been models of great comic screenplays — they were always about a bunch of hit-or-miss gags, but at least with Govinda at the centre, we got the sense we were having more fun than we should be rightfully having. Salman Khan is a different story — less nimble, more frantic. He really needs good writing. The scene in Maine Pyar Kiya where he pretends he wants a modern wife who wears minis and midis, makes me smile more than all of Judwaa. Plus, he’s no dancer at all.

Varun Dhawan, who plays Raja and Prem here, is closer to Govinda (except that he likes to take his shirt off a lot). He’s the acting world’s answer to a sugared-up kid on a trampoline. He really sold Main Tera Hero — but he cannot save this dud, which thinks rhyming “moongphali with “Baahubali” is funny. The film crawls. We feel every second of every gag that falls flat. Half the scenes don’t even make sense. Early on, Raja is on a plane with Alishka (Jacqueline Fernandez, who, as always, smiles a lot, poses a lot; all her lines seem to be some variation of “Dear prospective director, see how good I’ll look on your poster!”). A storm hits and… we cut to a safe landing. Why introduce this development if you’re not going to milk it for either drama or comedy?

Vivan Bhatena, as a sub-villain, plays the human equivalent of the storm. One doesn’t know why he’s around except to pad out the running time. Taapsee Pannu plays (rather, gets objectified in) the Rambha role. She first seems a Sati Savitri and then, for no reason, she turns into Slutty Savitri. That was a bad, politically incorrect stab at a joke, I know — I’m just trying to mimic the tone of the dazzling wordplay here. I’m not asking for the subtle charms of an Angoor, which also dealt with twins. I’m just wondering why Dhawan, who pulled off an unexpectedly (and rowdily) entertaining redo of Chashme Buddoor, is at such a loss here. If he can update Sai Paranjpe’s sensibilities, you’d think it’d be far easier to update… David Dhawan’s.

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

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Posted in: Cinema: Hindi