Golmaal Again: Tabu, Parineeti Chopra drive the narrative of this oft cliched horror-comedy
The team of Rohit Shetty's comedy franchise Golmaal is back after the seven year itch to tickle our funny bones this Diwali.
The fourth installment, Golmaal Again, carries an extra burden of being grander and madder than the previous parts. With horror elements incorporated into the storyline and new characters of Tabu and Parineeti Chopra introduced, it seems to be on the right track.
The film starts with Tabu who is established as someone who can see and talk to spirits. Her philanthropy extends from humans to troubled spirits. Her narration sets the tone for a film that is unlike any Golmaal we have seen in the past.
But soon, her narration leads to a flashback that describes when she encountered the Golmaal gang. She reveals that all of them grew up in an orphanage where she used to work. Then the film gives way to Ajay Devgn's high-octane action sequences, designed by Rohit Shetty, and Sanjay Mishra's undeniably lame jokes. Kunal Kemmu, Tusshar Kapoor and Arshad Warsi also jump into the fray soon thereafter.
Years after abandoning the orphanage, the gang reunites at the funeral ceremony of the owner of the orphanage. Multiple forces, both earthly and unearthly, conspire to compel the gang to live in the neighbouring house.
Tabu and Parineeti Chopra are already living in that house and a large chunk of their time goes into making the gang, who are at odds with each other, co-exist peacefully in the house. Soon they start witnessing supernatural elements. One of them gets possessed by a lurking spirit which leads to loads of slapstick comedy.
The horror-comedy genre lends a fresh appeal to the genre, as everything from the acting style to the background music has been tuned as per the hybrid genre.
Ajay Devgn, whose role was limited to breaking fingers pointed at him in the previous parts, is also seen at his vulnerable best in this part. He is scared of ghosts and darkness which he establishes through his loud yet effective expressions.
Kunal Kemmu, Tusshar, Arshad and Shreyas provide doses of slapstick comedy, swearing by their respective character traits.
Tabu and Parineeti Chopra have been cast appropriately and it is a wise and welcome move on Rohit Shetty's part to cast as per the age of the characters which justifies the age gap between Devgn and Parineeti as well as Tabu and the rest of them.
Both characters have a sense of intrigue attached to them. Parineeti provides the much needed restraint in this comedy that is all over the place. Her aqua contact lenses and the tattoo on Tabu's wrist proves Rohit's eye for details. The female characters also serve as the method in this madness.
While the sets appear synthetic, some of the special effects are good. Nana Patekar has dubbed for the ghost and he is spot on in his signature delivery.
The sequence leading to the interval point is done well and it is then that the plot reveals itself to be beyond horror comedy. It turns out to be as much of a suspense drama.
The second half introduces you to the antagonists Prakash Raj and Neil Nitin Mukesh. Mukesh seems to be in Saaho mode as he has only been doing negative roles since last year. Wazir and Indu Sarkar are case in point. Though his character is merciless, it does not come across because of the lame surround sound.
Once the plot starts unraveling, the film turns into a quagmire of cliches and a turmoil of slapstick comedy.
Apart from the occasional laughs provided by Johnny Lever, Sanjay Mishra's and Nana Patekar, the comedy is blase.
What works for this film is the strong female characters. Unlike the previous parts where Rimi Sen and Kareena Kapoor were merely objects of desire, Tabu and Parineeti play a crucial role in the film's narrative. In fact, they drive the narrative and the gang is only a means to the end.
But if the means are not as solid as the end, the film seems stretched. This is what Golmaal Again suffers from. While this is a Dilwale-like experiment on part of Rohit Shetty to venture outside his comfort zone, given the fate of that film, it is a brave move, even if the output could have been far better.