Well, I saw Mubarakan. And I thought, “should I stay up super late and write a review to go up at midnight? Naaaaaaaah!” So hopefully no one was staying up desperately refreshing my site waiting for it to post.
Well, this was a movie that happened! The biggest thing about it is that it was definitely A Movie. Not A Film with deep thoughts and high aspirations. And not a movie lowercase, which never really went over the top or tried to entertain you. No, it was something super bright and loud and big to watch on the big screen. And it’s been a while since we had something like that!
Jagga Jasoos-A Film
Tubelight-a movie (lower case, the songs and the colors and everything just wasn’t big enough)
Munna Michael-a 3 hour audition tape
But this, this was A Movie! I’m not saying it was a good movie, definitely not that. But if you have been wanting something with great costumes and over the top acting and lots of songs and a ridiculous plot and huge houses, then this is the one for you!
It definitely could have been better. I don’t want it to be a different thing than it was, I’m not going to say “oh the plot was ridiculous, the people were too rich, the acting was over the top”. Because this is an Anees Bazmee movie, it’s supposed to have a ridiculous plot and rich people and over the top acting. To say it should be otherwise would be like wanting a dog to turn into a cat. I just want it to be the best possible version of an Anees Bazmee movie. And it wasn’t quite there.
Arjun, for one thing. He was okay, but he was also supposed to be the main character, the one who was onscreen almost all the time, and he just wasn’t entertaining enough for that. I needed him to go bigger and bigger and bigger. And he kept his performance kind of small. If this had been, say, 2 States, he would have been perfect. Micro-facial expressions in indicate emotions, hesitant line delivery when he was nervous, a shy smile, delightful! But it isn’t 2 States, it’s a big dumb comedy, I need him jumping off the wall and leaping over furniture and sobbing hysterically.
The cast as a whole was uneven like that. Anil was great (obviously, he is always great), perfectly over the top and amusing. Pavan Malhotra was the other stand out for me. Really good at the small comic touches, the way he tilted his head, or used his hand would suddenly turn a line from so-so to hilarious. Ratna Pathak was perhaps taking this role a little too seriously. Great line deliveries and all (duh, it’s Ratna Pathak!) but not quite funny enough. Kirron Kher might have done it better.
The surprise stand out for me was Ileana d’Cruz! I am liking her more and more. She had several scenes toe to toe with Ratna and was able to make an impression, even be funnier than her. And she was definitely funnier and better onscreen than Arjun. Very confident performance, every line almost made me laugh.
Our other heroine, Athiya Shetty, not so much. And they must have known that, so they split her role, sort of. There is a third heroine I don’t remember seeing promoted that much, Neha Sharma. She gets all the big funny angry scenes in the Arjun 2 storyline, while Athiya can just sort of stand there.
The plot is the plot, as crazy as you would expect from this kind of comedy. The one tiny flaw is that the obvious solution is one we, in the audience, had come up with by about an hour in and were waiting for the characters to figure out because it was the only possible finale. But otherwise, it’s the plot you would expect. Lots of misunderstandings and confusion and schemes that fail.
One thing I always really like about Anees Bazmee movies is that everyone is doing things with the best intentions. Versus, say, Sajid Khan movies where there is a trickster trying to con money or get out of responsibilities or something like that. No, in these movies, it is a couple in love and their relatives who want them to be happy, and then complications ensue. For instance, in this one an engagement is broken by the girl’s family not because of an insult towards them or anything but because “this is our daughter, we can’t give her to someone we don’t trust”. Anil Kapoor is trying to maintain the peace and keep everyone happy because he loves them all and wants them to be happy, not to trick them out of an inheritance or something. And the whole cousin-twin thing is a complication simply because they have so many relatives who all love them so much and they are torn between those responsibilities. It’s just nice, these are nice nice people.
Oh, and also it’s Christmas. This isn’t related to anything in the movie, they just happened to film at Christmas time in England. Which is smart, Christmas is a really pretty time to film, lots of lights and decorations in the background and all of that. Just made me want peppermint spice lattes and coats, and then I walked out of the theater into the blazing July heat.