Monday, May 07, 2012

A Botched-Up Tragicomedy

(Published in The New Sunday Express, on 6 May 2012, retrieved from http://expressbuzz.com/entertainment/reviews/jannat-2/388872.html)





Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda, Esha Gupta, Manish Chaudhary, Brijendra Kala
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Rating: 1 star
The opening of Jannat 2 sets the tone for the rest of the film – a chase, a face-off, and a con, at the rate of forty swearwords a minute. There’s promise in the montage that follows, with saucy camera angles and trendy artwork, but sadly, the story fails to deliver. Sonu Dilli (Emraan Hashmi) has a lengthy soliloquy, in the course of which he boasts about his “degree” KKC – kutti kameeni cheez. Worse, he has a simpleton bachpan ka dost who pipes up on the rare occasion Sonu Dilli plays modest. An illegal gun seller with a chamcha. Great.
Just when you’re about to yawn, cool cop Pratap Raghuvanshi (Randeep Hooda) makes one of the best entries I’ve seen in recent times. Hooda lifts the film for a good bit, with his hard-ass manner, motor-mouth and been-there-done-that attitude. However, the moviemakers decide to reinforce the B-gradeness of the film by supplying Raghuvanshi with a heartrending back-story, crazed obsession, ill temper and alcohol dependence. He’s in that special division of the police force that dispenses with uniforms and chats up informers, and travels with an entourage even when he’s suspended. Part of this train is Brijendra Kala, who turned in such a convincing performance as the journalist in Paan Singh Tomar. In this film, he’s consigned to the role of a caring auntyji type.
Which brings me to one of the film’s biggest let-downs – the characters are all staples, from the small-time gun dealers who run little shops in Delhi’s Muslim ghettos, to the Hindu fanatic who actually controls the trade. And our introduction to big boss Mangal Singh Tomar (Manish Chaudhary) leaves us counting the clichés – the aarti before Ma Durga, the random act of brutish cruelty, the intense staring into the camera.
Sonu’s love interest Dr. Jaanvi (Esha Gupta) seems to have been written in as an afterthought. As if to make up, she’s OTT. What can you say about a doctor who flips for a man who slashes his palm upon falling in love at first sight? Who begins to fall for him when he drops a bundle of ill-begotten cash into her hand after learning she’s scouting for funding to keep her hospital alive? Who fantasises about him, and dresses like a drag queen as often as the plethora of song sequences will allow? Who’s fought with her rich Daddy, though her actions lead us to assume it was his money that got her the medical degree her brains couldn’t have earned? Who goes from laundiya to bhabhi in five minutes?
The film kills its own potential, and a cast that could have carried a thriller is left floundering. The twists are predictable because of early giveaways. However, there’s one sequence where Randeep Hooda’s evil grin and Emraan Hashmi’s horrified face make one laugh with the film. But for this scene, you’ll only crack up if you’re the kind that cackles at cuss words. Or when the temperamental cop turns sentimental friend.
The Verdict: The film has the right ingredients in the wrong proportions. As it stands, you’ll have to depend on hecklers for entertainment.

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