July has seen two Hindi movie releases based in London – Guest in London and now, Mubarakan – and both of them try to stick to stereotypes made prevalent by the Film Industry over the years: Punjabis, rags-to-riches-story, flashy children are just a few of them.
Producers generally invest a lot when movies are shot abroad, but with growing costs, you tend to grow suspicious if they are partaking shots from each other’s movies. Such is the similarity in the aerial shots of London in the movie. Thankfully, the plots aren’t similar.
Karan and Charan (played by Arjun Kapoor) are twins who lose their parents in a road accident and are adopted by the siblings of their father. While Karan stays with his aunt (father’s sister, played by Ratna Pathak Shah) in London, Charan stays with his uncle (father’s brother, played by Pavan Malhotra) in Chandigarh. The twins are similar, yet different; both are meek around their foster parents. Karan is trendy, boisterous and an extrovert. Charan is submissive, shy and introverted. They have love life’s that their parents are unaware of and for the exact purpose of getting their respective parents to know, they seek the help of their uncle, Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor).
Kartar Singh’s penchant for seeking the help of things around him (vegetables, shoes, whiskey, soda, ice etc) makes life difficult for the twins. How their issues are resolved is left for us to see over a couple of hours.
In a filmography with nine movies, Arjun Kapoor has played dual roles in a movie, twice. That should be a feather in most actors’ caps, but not Arjun Kapoor’s. The difference, he shows, in playing both characters is minimal. The attire is the only thing that helps us in differentiating the twins and that is not good news for Arjun Kapoor, the actor. He is one of the four actors in the movie who don’t redeem themselves with their performances; the others being Ileana, Athiya Shetty and Neha Sharma. It’s a pity then that these are lead actors of the movie. The one thing that’s good with him is the ability to merge the reel with real; remember the memes that came up during the pre-release tours of Half girlfriend? One can say he is playing along with it. If he showed the same zest for acting ….
Anil Kapoor, Rachana Pathak Shah and Pavan Malhotra trudge through their roles before all of them come into their own in the climax. How Anil Kapoor continues to act in Anees Bazmee’s movies despite the mediocre roles offered to him will remain a mystery. He plays a comic role in the movie but does everything except eliciting laughter.
Ileana said one of the main reasons for moving out of Telugu Film Industry was the lack of roles with substance and it looks like she accepted the movie whilst working in the Telugu Film Industry. The role neither has any importance, nor any substance.
Athiya Shetty has nothing much to do apart from wearing a frown on her face. Neha Sharma has a similar role, in length and expression. One has to wonder why Neha is said to have a guest appearance and Athiya is mentioned in the starring credits.
With ‘Nepotism’ being the word that’s being bandied about more frequently than movies in Hindi Film Industry in the recent past, it won’t be far-fetched to imagine that this movie was a collaborative effort of Sanjay Kapoor and Anil Kapoor to resurrect the flagging career of their nephew, Arjun Kapoor.
The movie has ‘dull’ slathered all over it. From the beginning scene you seem to guess what’s going to happen next. As a director, that can be a nightmare, but Anees Bazmee seems to have treated it as a minor impediment. His staunch desire to stick to stereotype pulls the movie down further. That a director can convince actors of the caliber of Ratna Pathak Shah and Pavan Malhotra to act in his movie and wastes the chance with brazen disregard for their acting capabilities is hard to fathom.
While certain frames do look good, it isn’t uniform throughout the movie. The writer and the director don’t seem to have invested time in this movie and it shows. Anees Bazmee, going by his filmography, is a poor man’s Srinu Vaitla. He packs his movies with characters and expects that to do the trick. But, he doesn’t have a Brahmanandam to bring back his movies from the dead. He should’ve realized it with Ready , but looks like it will take time for it to sink in. He packages his movies with a star, but in the absence of a star, his movies are hollow.
In the days to come, this movie will stand as an example for other movies. When one shoots abroad, there usually are scenes at the same place, but going for an overkill of the same place can be detrimental. Bhagam Bhag, another movie shot primarily in London does a good job of showing us the abstruse areas of London. In a wafer-thin plot, the oft-seen sights can be an eyesore.
Music in the movie is nothing to write home about. It’s as poor as the movie is. The remixed version of ‘Hawa Hawa’ has you pondering on how a good song can be destroyed. The only people to emerge from this wreckage with respect are the assistant directors. They ensure continuity and their attention to detail is the only thing that prevents this movie from being a full-blown disaster.
If they were trying to appeal to Punjabis, one wonders if it would’ve been a good movie in Punjabi. No language could’ve played host to this movie. It’s that bad.
Image courtesy: bollywoodhungama.com
An edited version of this review appeared on fullhyd.com