Movie Review: 'Judwaa 2'
Opened: 29 September 2017
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Taapsee Pannu, Anupam Kher, Upasana Singh, Rajpal Yadav, Pavan Malhotra, Ali Asgar, Vivan Bhatena
Director: David Dhawan
Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala
There's a scene at the start of Judwaa 2 where the antagonist keeps muttering "You screw me, I screw you..." and I thought. F... me I'm screwed... This film is going to be agonising to sit through.
But alas, to my surprise, I sat through the nonsense and even chuckled here and there, and the credit for that lies entirely with Varun Dhawan who despite the crassness of it all, makes the film entirely palpable, with his on-point comic timing and effortless charm. Don't get me wrong... this is still the film where the heroines get accosted in shopping aisles and routinely get their posteriors slapped and where scheming mothers are out to bag rich heirs for their unsuspecting daughters – all very un PC in an era of inherent feminism but the humour works even if in fits and starts.
Unless you've been living under a rock, Judwaa 2 is a reboot of the original Judwaa from, what twenty years ago. The original was a film that sky-rocketed Salman Khan's fortunes post a series of duds, and further cemented Karisma Kapoor, as the most bankable heroine of the time. The premise here is pretty much the same, in fact it's a cut and paste job with zero surprises: Twins get separated at birth, only to reunite years later in London after a series of misunderstandings and crude gags while shaking a leg with a couple of bimbos (Jacqueline Fernandez, insufferable but pretty as a peach) and Tapsee Pannu (marginally better and leaving a mark despite her clichéd, poorly etched character), culminating in a pedestrian climax which was the norm back in the 90s, but will mostly make your stomach churn twenty years on.
Regardless, Judwaa 2 is one of David Dhawan's better works particularly without Govinda and definitely better than the father-son's previous outing together (2014's Main Tera Hero). Inevitably, it will also more than likely cast a spell on its target market, despite its misogynistic content, in that it moves at breakneck speed, and barely gives you a chance to question the film's logic (reality check; if that's what you're looking for there isn't any here), so much so that you very nearly pardon the film's shameless plot holes, or the constant jibes at ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Yes it's all very regressive and often, unbelievably offensive, but political correctness was not what I'd signed up for when I queued up to get a ticket for a David Dhawan caper, I assure you. It was sheer nostalgia. We're all suckers for it and it's been used well here especially with the rehashing of the chart-busting tunes, the odd scene and the surprise cameo that cropped up at the fag end of the film.
Whether the original needed a remake at all is open to debate especially given that our films have slowly but surely evolved, and clearly besides the protagonist, nobody's really engaged here. Whether it's Anupam Kher, Rajpal Yadav, Vivaan Bhatena, they're all mostly sub-par, which is hardly surprising that it's strictly a showcase for Varun, who as I mentioned already, doesn't disappoint in the slightest, going at it with unbridled gusto and unfailing energy. Whether it's as the street-smart, wise-cracking lout, or the gawky, nerdy sibling, there's little one can fault with his performance here, and the makers probably knew that which is why I'm guessing they didn't invest too much in any original ideas. Why they didn't get Karisma for a split second cameo is beyond me though, because rest assured she would have added way more spunk and ditzy charm than either of the other two actresses combined even today, a testament perhaps to Lolo's talent in that she found a space for herself even in nonsense like this, and a fact that we perhaps didn't appreciate about her at the time.
What then did I make of it all? Well. I guffawed at several points and didn't really realise where the time went, which for a film of this genre is something of a compliment. It ain't going to win any Oscars that's for sure and if you go in with gutter low expectations you'll more than likely be satisfied. I'm going with two stars and an extra one entirely for Varun's enthusiasm and comic chops.