By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Thursday 20 December 2007
Feroz Khan, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif
There are some films where you know exactly what to expect?this one gives you nothing more and nothing less. It?s one of those films where underworld bhais are cuter than bunnies, and about as harmless, where there are about a hundred excuses for a song, glam unlimited in the form of the pretty heroine, and where the goofy gags make you laugh despite yourself.
They are not asking you to expect a plot and depth in the film, so you?d be foolish to demand plausibility in the plot. Also would be silly to object to the glorification of crime, and to the strange old-world system where marriages are fixed without even informing the potential bride and groom.
The story is such: Rajeev is a perfect marriage material bachelor, the kind who is well mannered and has a way with kids. Rajeev?s uncle Dr. Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal, dependably competent) wants him to get married to a family with an impeccable sharafat track record, and is finding it impossible to find such a doodh-ka-dhula-hua family. As irony would have it, Rajeev ends up being saved from a massive fire by Katrina Kaif?s Sanjana (a favourite on-screen name these days), the sister of the city?s most feared don Uday Shetty. Unknowingly, he falls in love even faster than his burns heal. They have freak meetings, you know, where coincidence and a weak script keeps bringing them together. And the story progresses with a million other tiny ones hovering about the main plot, one involving a fake film shoot and a Godfather-type RDX?s (Feroze Khan, apt) loony son. The stretched climax of the film is a roller-coaster ride, going a bit too fast. You?re so busy catching your breath, you just can?t stop to have fun.
Welcome is a victim of too many sub-plots suffocating the wacky, simple story, that otherwise had immense potential to be fleshed out for laughs. But for some reason, out mainstream comedy filmmakers believe that unless you stuff the audience with as many gags as you can fit and some more, the film won?t be found funny enough.
The storytelling technique is archaic, where each character is literally introduced to the viewer ? example, ?Yeh Hai Uday Shetty, Sanjana Ke Bhai?, as the voiceover goes on to explain how the don is actually a closet actor, etc. You remember this technique from the David Dhawan films and one hoped this boring, over-simplistic storytelling style was done away with. Dialogue ranges from the above average to the superb. There are some truly witty lines in the film, that won?t just make you laugh, but you?ll remember them as well.
Technically, the film is a letdown, and again a bit outdated. Welcome lacks the finesse of our films today, where even if the story disappoints, the cinematography, sync sound, editing and stylistic narration are superlative. Here, the film is dubbed, and done in the old school way. The film is punctuated by boring songs that are just there, not justified. One song, by Himesh Reshammiya, even has unpolished computer graphics of fire popping up all around (they met in a fire, remember?). Then there?s the other yawning clich? of a beach song, where the protagonists are singing some inane Hindi lyrics, with lots of foreigners in bikinis forming the background. Music directors Sajid-Wajid, Himesh Reshammiya and Anand Raj Anand haven?t been able to whip up anything memorable save the title track. The film is set in Dubai, by the way, like producer Nadiadwala?s several films in the past, and the location has been unimaginatively shot.
What works for the film is simple?its sparkling, superb cast. Nana Patekar as Don Uday Shetty is a laugh-riot as is Anil Kapoor as Don Majnu. Cast together for the first time since Parinda, their comic timing complements each other perfectly, and together, they?re an incredible treat to watch. Truly, these two talent powerhouses hold the film on their able shoulders. Even the supporting cast, comprising talented, known faces, like Vijay Raaz is superb. Akshay Kumar is likeable, but is clearly overshadowed. Katrina suits the role and sports her uniform look of short skirts, cascading long hair and blinding lip-gloss. Mallika Sherawat does well in her short screen time, though her character is an interesting one.
So at the end of it all, is Welcome funny? Yes, and it encapsulates all kinds of humour, from the objectionable, cheesy derogatory gay jokes, to genuinely funny one-liners. Not as blas? as director Anees Bazmee?s No Entry, this one?s an attempt at slightly more refined humour.
You?re welcome to watch the film (excuse the obvious pun), if you can ignore some of the implausible, impossible situations, and choose to concentrate on Nana-Anil?s crackling comic chemistry.
2 1/2 stars (essentially for Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor)