One of the most worrying things in Mumbai this week is the billboard cluster of six (or is it eight?)Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 posters on Bandra’s Turner Road. Double the madness, it insists. Double the hotness, double the action, double the fun.
Considering they’re drawing comparisons with the first Yamla Pagla Deewana (2011), this is not saying very much. To say I don’t remember YPD would be misleading. The truth is that I walked out seven minutes into the film. It was unbearable. Almost equally unbearable was having to later discover that it was something of a hit at the box office.
But I’d barely given the first film a chance. Maybe I’d missed something? So I forced myself to keep an open mind as I eenie-meenie-mynie-moh’ed myself into a seat at the empty cinema hall for the sequel to the “Deol funfest”.
Blade and wrist? Brain and hammer? Fire and skin? Pen and eyeball? Rat poison and aaloo samosa? Whichever combination seems to your mind the quickest and least painful way to go, take it. And go. Not to the cinema, but out of it.
Directed by Sangeeth Sivan, YPD2 brings back all the Deols — Dharam (Dharmendra), Paramveer (Sunny Deol) and Gajodhar (Bobby Deol). Why is anybody's guess.
This time the money-hungry Dharam and his conman son Gajodhar leave Benares for the UK, to visit their straight-as-an-arrow son and brother Paramveer, who is a highly annoying, turbaned do-gooder. He is so earnest and try-hard that it makes your brain bleed out of your nose.
There is another agenda, of course. For Gajodhar – of the fictitious Oberoi Oberoi and Oberoi Industries fame – to marry Suman (Neha Sharma), daughter of assumed billionaire Sir Yograj (Annu Kapoor) for money. Except, it turns out she's not his daughter, but *like* his daughter. Semantics, semantics. His real daughter is Reet (Kristina Akheeva), who very quickly becomes the apple of Param's needy eyes.
Trying very hard (but mostly failing) to add comedy to the film is good old Johnny Lever, first talking like Shah Rukh K-k-k-Khan, then ‘disguised’ as a sardar (Bunty Singh), then a Chinese man named Bunty Chong, then a Japanese fellow named Bunty Hiroshima. One scene has him introducing himself as Bunty Hiroshima and his partner Babli Nagasaki, and they’ve come “to report ke plan bomb ho gaya”.
Oh wait. The movie also stars Anupam Kher in a long-haired blond wig and astronaut costume. His name is Joginder Armstrong (if I didn’t hear it wrong, people call him Dude-ji). At one point he declares that his life’s mission is to erect the eighth wonder of the world: a gravity-defying mall. But I have no idea what he’s doing in the film in the first place. This could be because I walked out at the interval, though I seriously doubt he finds any defining purpose in the second half of the film.
Actually, this is one of the major flaws of YPD2: too many unnecessary characters. They don’t add to the comedy, just your migraine. What is the need to force-fit a woman who talks like a cat, or a flatulent Sumo wrestler, or an orang-utan who gets as much screen time as the three Deols? Ok, the orang-utan makes sense: he fits so seamlessly into the Deol family. But whoever thought it would be hilarious if Bobby Deol's character mistook MF Husain for Zakir Hussain, and Leonardo da Vinci for Leonardo DiCaprio, go back to whence you came.
Through the 140-minute runtime, not one character is allowed to miss their chance to spoof another Bollywood film or actor. From Salman Khan’s most famous dialogues, to the world famous Shah Rukh K-k-k-Khan stammer (WHY ARE WE NOT DONE WITH THIS ALREADY?), to the ’70s formula of saving a girl from goons and winning her heart.
They’ve got 100 tricks up their sleeves, but not one works. In fact, all they do is distract you from an already-messy storyline, so by the end of it, you have absolutely no idea what’s going on. My suggestion is that if you’re at the movies and YPD2 is one of the options, take it off the list. Head straight to the next theatre. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.