Five minutes into David Dhawan’s “new age” version of his 1997 comedy of errors – of twins separated at birth – the audience watch a small boy’s hand moving vigorously. Dressed in jeans with his shirt done like a local rowdy, the little boy slams his hand on a lady’s butt and says: “Ey chalti hai kya?” [Will you come or not?]
Instead of gasps and shock, the audience erupt with laughter. The boy’s foster mother, who then appears on screen, does the traditional ‘nazar na lage‘ action to her little boy. Needless to say, he grows up and continues to indulge in all forms of harassment which would, in real life, land him in jail.
There isn’t any originality in this film, which is all about belittling women, illogical plot devices, and characters that deserve to be a part of police records under ‘Frequent Sexual Offenders’.
Judwaa 2 is about how Prem Malhotra and Raja from Versova (both Varun Dhawan) meet years later only to realise that they are twin brothers who were separated at birth, thanks to a villain called Charles.
Prem is a soft-spoken, well-mannered, meek guy brought up in London, who often gets bullied for reasons unknown. He’s also from a really rich family. He meets Samaara (Taapsee Pannu), a Gujarati girl who studies in his college. But after Prem inadvertently molests Samaara several times, she somehow falls in love with him – ironically after he beats up a bunch of guys who try to molest her.
Only, it isn’t Prem but his twin brother Raja.
Having grown up in Mumbai, he is the typical tapori who dresses up flamboyantly, spouts double entendres, and has no idea what consent even is. Also, he refers to women as “items”, and says he only respects two ‘things’ – his mother and food. He moves to London after breaking a coconut on a bad guy’s head. He meets Alishka (Jacqueline Fernandez), whom we know nothing about except that she’s always giggling, and who is surprisingly unaffected by inappropriate touching and kissing, and is also the daughter of a weird, rich man (Anupam Kher).
While the story essentially wants to focus on how the two brothers meet and exact revenge on those who separated them, the film takes detour after detour, and settles down to focus on the twins bumbling around in UK, wreaking havoc in peoples’ lives.
Back in the 90s, the film had Salman Khan thrusting his hips, following women, talking in rhymes, and indulging in humour that worked. Judwaa 2, however, manages to have a 2017 setting with humour as stale as a week-old fries. David Dhawan incorporates jokes and stereotypes from a bygone era, and manages to offend women, people with speech defects, mental illness, doctors, villains (because real-life villains don’t really use air quotes like Joey from Friends), and the entire concept of humour.
Taapsee Pannu is a good actress without a doubt. Having proved her mettle in films like Pink and Naam Shabana, one would expect her to practice what she preaches. But it’s baffling to watch her character fall in love with the man who kisses her without consent, kisses her mother without consent, and pretty much lies to her, all under the garb of humour.
The other lead, Jacqueline Fernandez, isn’t different from the usual pretty girl she’s plays on screen, where her words are replaced with giggles, and the camera is mostly fixed on her legs. She’s gorgeous, but it’s almost troubling to call it romance when her character falls in love with a man who harasses her throughout the film. For Jacqueline, sadly, it’s the type of role she’s probably gotten used to.
Varun Dhawan, who is present in almost every scene thanks to his double act, tries really, really hard to emulate Salman Khan. He’s got the body and speech spot on, but that doesn’t really help his character or his father’s film.
Sure, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s hailed as the new age Salman Khan, but for the Varun who was a part of films like Badlapur, Judwaa 2 would just end up being a blip in his career.
It’s clearly been a bad year for Hindi films story-wise, especially the mega-budgeted ones. Biopics and sequels seem to be the flavour of the season. Minus a handful of good ones this year, several Hindi films have resorted to lazy writing, half-baked characters, and a general lack of creativity.
Bearing this in mind, Judwaa 2 doesn’t stand a chance next to its original 1997 film. But given the responses I witness at a usually quiet theatre in Chennai, the film might actually make more money than it deserves.
To those genuinely offended by the humour, be prepared for questioning yourself for choosing this as a weekend watch. It’s long, it drags, and there are many auto-tuned remixed versions of what were actually fun songs.
To David Dhawan, what’s with crass jokes and not keeping up with the times?
The Judwaa 2 review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.