Cast: Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, John Abraham , Shruti Hassan, Ankita Shrivastava, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah, Shiney Ahuja
Director: Anees Bazmee
Rating: * * *
Runtime: 152 mins
This so-dubbed sequel to the 2007 success, ‘Welcome,’ has some of it’s ageing warriors enmeshed with a new lot- but not all of them are sprightly and entertaining. While Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Paresh Rawal reprise their roles from the prequel, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah, Ankita Shrivastava, Shiney Ahuja, John Abraham and Shruti Hassan lend fresh blood to the classless enterprise.
In fact the basic plotline is a retread with a few additions and subtractions giving it a refueled appearance. Uday Shetty(Nana Patekar) and Majnu Pandey(Anil kapoor) may be the Dons of yesteryear what with their neo-avatars as peace loving businessmen operating in the UAE, but they havn’t forgotten any of their former moves even if they are couched in decency –of course for expedience. Then comes the no-brainer. Uday’s father brings forth a daughter of marriageable age, ranjhana(Shruti Hassan) from his third marriage, and hands her over to Uday to safeguard. And this when Uday and Majnu are competing rivals for the affections of a Rajkumari(Ankita Shrivastava) who, along with her conniving mother(Dimple Kapadia) , both past hands at criminality, are seeking ways to keep both die-hard friends at loggerheads emotionally in order to figure out ways to clean them out completely.
Both friends while serenading the princess are also on the active lookout for a beau for their sister. That’s where Ghunghroo(Paresh Rawal) comes in handy. His wife’s illegitimate offspring Ajju(John Abraham), a well known goon from Mumbai, is recruited as the prospective son-in-law. But before Ranjhana can meet Ajju formally, they fall in love and confuse their guardians into pissing each other off. Added to this is blind super don Wanted(Naseeruddin Shah) and his love-sick tantrum spewing son(Shiney Ahuja) who has a fantasy driven obsessive itch for the fair sister.
Granted, the complications are hopelessly contrived, there’s no semblance of a script and the storyline rehashes the same tried and tested tropes. But what entertains is the style of presentation and the punch hitting dialogues delivered with strong savoir faire by the celebrated veterans. While the original’s return cast keeps the humor bubbling over, the newbies merely warm up the entertainment. Dimple Kapadia as the hustling mom who dreams up split-second alibis for their past misdeeds, is quite a hoot. John Abraham manages his most consistent performance yet, Shiney Ahuja looks out of place, while Ankita Shrivastava and Shruti Hassan merely fill out the gaps with their pretty presence. The film in entirety wrests it’s laurels from the amazing zany chemistry between Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Paresh Rawal. Delivering much more than such an enterprise warranted- in terms of both class and surprisingly highly energised nimble footed performances, the foursome set the laughter spasms rolling and never let up till the very end.
The beautiful cars, stunning desertscapes, ostentatious lifestyles on display contrast glaringly with the contrived conservatism within a bohemianly enhanced character set-up. The-in-your-face opulence is meant to draw in the crowds who would rather live their lives vicariously. There’s absolutely no logic or any primary exposition to the set-up and nothing makes sense. But the nonsense here has a certain essence. Wild implausibility within derivative set-ups and clichéd entrapments actually stun the inquisitive mind into a kind of mindless stupor- one that induces you to laugh out loud at the incredible and totally insane shenanigans of the principle foursome engaged in fearlessly treading the fine line between spoofy rendering and clumsy stupidity. The music is lively but forgettable and does little other than punctuate the tempo. Kabir Lal’s cinematography though, adds to the validity of the visuals. Bazmee is an absurdist filmmaker who throws in every imaginable absurdity( including John Abraham running across camel humps in his effort to rescue Wanted Bhai) and milks them for a barrel full of laughs. And he scores big time with ‘Welcome Back.’ While the sequences are overstretched they never outlive their Welcome. This is by far his most fluid and zaniest laugh riot- thanks to those four stalwarts lending it their all!