Movie Review of Hungama 2: Stale wine in the old bottle with sloppy comedy

Priyadarshan was once feted for the controlled lunacy of his comedies. Here, the lunacy is intact. Control is conspicuous by its absence.

A woman with a baby in search of a father in a household lorded over by a hard taskmaster is a such a last-millennium plot device that the sorry spectacle of people going into a tizzy and running a riot as a result of the mother’s claims is more laughable than sidesplitting.

Since this is a Priyadarshan comedy, you half expect it be rounded off with a hysterical chase scene involving all the key characters. Hungama 2 proffers only a teaser of what could have been an uproarious free-for-all of the kind that we saw all those years ago in Hungama, Hulchul and Bhaagam Bhaag. It ends abruptly, leaving Rajpal Yadav hanging in mid-air in a freeze frame, before veering into a wedding where all hell does not quite break loose.

If a dangling, motionless comic actor doesn’t sum up Hungama 2, nothing will. With both its feet planted firmly in the past, the film wants to be a laugh riot. And that turns out of the biggest joke.

Colonel Kapoor is a retired jail superintendent who hasn’t yet shed his prison warden persona. His younger son Akash is all set to marry the daughter of his father’s best friend Bajaj . The preparations for the wedding are thrown into disarray when a girl named Vaani lands up at the bungalow with a pretty little daughter and claims Akash is the father of the child.

That is the loop that Hungama 2 remains trapped in for its remaining two hours. Kapoor believes the girl and puts the onus on Akash to prove that he did not go the whole hog with Vaani during their relationship in college. The dice is loaded against the guy.

At the core of the sloppy comedy is a notion that no longer holds water – when a film does not have substance, pack it with madcap characters and weird sub-plots to liven things up. Nothing can be worse news than a comedy that is need of comic relief.

Hungama 2 banks principally on Paresh Rawal to inject life into the proceedings in the guise of a lawyer who suspects his wife Anjali (Shilpa Shetty, making a big-screen comeback after a 14-year break) of having an affair with a younger man.

Do not ask what Anjali does for a living. It is suggested in passing that she is Akash Kapoor’s personal secretary but we have no way of vouching for that because neither of them is ever shown engaged in any kind of gainful, recognisable employment.

Not that Radheshyam Tiwari the advocate does anything either barring placing a spy camera at the entrance of his home in order to keep an eye on Anjali’s movements. His anger isn’t directed so much at his attractive partner as at the men he suspects. He chases them around town on his scooter. When he thinks he has caught the culprit red-handed, he sets off a chain of events that are funny for the wrong reasons.

For the key characters, nothing goes as planned. The patriarch, a stickler for form, struggles to hide Vaani from Bajaj, Akash’s would-be pa-in-law. Akash tries every trick in the book – of course, we are talking about a book that lost its relevance many years ago – to prove that he isn’t the father of Vaani’s child.

When all else fails, Akash ropes in the family factotum Nandan (Tiku Talsania) and a college canteen manager Popat (Rajpal Yadav) to help him find a way out of the mess he is in. But everything he does backfires and lands him in bigger trouble.

Hungama 2 is the sort of film that renders the performances irrelevant. This is despite the fact that the cast has several actors with proven mastery over comic timing. Suffice to say, the film itself isn’t timed right. One mustn’t expect the actors – who throw the entire caboodle into the mix, from unabashed buffoonery and hamming at one end to romance and emotions at the other – to rise above the material.

One feels sorry for the young leads. Neither Meezan Jaffrey nor Pranitha Subhash are out of their depth, but they are hopelessly hobbled by a screenplay that gives them no support at all.

Paresh Rawal plays the role of Anjali’s (Shilpa Shetty’s) suspicious husband. Ashutosh Rana is the angry young man and Meezan Jaffery tried so hard to engulf his role but has failed miserably. Pranitha plays the tormented woman with a vague story and expects everyone to believe. Rajpal Yadav and Manoj Joshi have shown good performances as usual, Tiku Talsania shockingly has mispronounced words with an unimpressive dialogue delivery.

I would rate this movie 2/5 stars for the strange performances and stale delivery of dialogue.

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