Cast: Arshad Warsi, Amit Sadh, Aditi Rao Hyadari, Ronit Roy
Director: Subhash Kapoor
Rating: * * ½
Subhash Kapoor managed to score big at the National Awards with his flawed comedy on the judicial system- ‘Jolly LLB’ was an unexpected high which pit him, Arshad Warsi and Saurabh Shukla to a certain level of greatness. Kapoor’s second effort, ‘Guddu Rangeela’ unfortunately, is neither original nor as entertaining as his critically and commercially celebrated sophomore one. This one prefers to dive into familiar ‘Honor killing’ territory, getting two con artists cum desi stand-up acts, Guddu (Amit Sadh) and Rangeela (Arshad Warsi)
embroiled in a Khap cum revenge drama. With so many axes to grind, it seems obvious that there would be some confusion in plotting the main thread.
The narrative starts off with a ‘Guddu Rangeela’ performance and veers off into a con, then pulls back to reveal the underlying main plot which starts off with legal recourse and when all fails ends up in a free for all slug fest between Guddu Rangeela and their supporters against the evil Khap executioner Billo (Ronit Roy) who with his murderous henchmen holds sway over three north Indian states. The women are barely in focus even though they are pivotal to the story telling. And that’s a shame because in the end when they are called on to do duty, they shine through with some crusty fights and bytes.
Subhash Kapoor proves his inventiveness yet again with visa celebration parties and dressing up his characters in an east-west confluence that is visibly quite appealing even if it doesn’t quite fit in with the milieu. He also manages to boost Arshad Warsi’s heroics up by several notches. Arshad, Amit, Ronit, Aditi put in solid performances even if their roles were quite sketchy.And Subhash looks a little more assured at the helm here. Unfortunately the script doesn’t allow for many benefits. The comedy is facile at best. A lot of screen time gets wasted establishing Guddu and Rangeela’s antics. The film has a subplot that suddenly blossoms into the main thread – based on the famous Manoj and Babli honour killings ordained by the khap panchayat (Kangaroo court). Kapoor, the winner of two national awards for his film Jolly LLB and the next director for the third sequel in the Munnabhai enterprise, multi-tasks as director, storywriter , script-writer and lyricist. He has also partnered with music director Amit Trivedi to compose interesting, immensely likeable music for the film.
The narrative is not linear and there are interesting though quite unjustified twists and turns in the scenarios. The intercutting allows for some guile and keeps interest going but it also makes you feel cheated. It’s as though Kapoor started off on one note and ended it on a completely different one altogether. The runtime is slim and befitting -so not much to complain there. Also the experience is pleasant …but not exactly perfect!