Ab Tak Chhappan 2 review: Nana Patekar, the Dabangg version, is terribly boring
Now, who is willing to give Nana Patekar the place most humans reserve in their lives for the appreciation of a spectacular abdomen, a Fawad Khan-ish face or Salman Khan's punches?
If your aesthetics are indeed that austere, then Ab Tak Chhappan 2 should be pleasantly entertaining.
But if Nana Patekar in Lennon goggles isn't a thing of beauty that makes you breathless with admiration, then Aejaz Gulab's Ab Tak Chhappan 2 is a tedious film. You will have to sit through it reminiscing about the actor, like you mope about Chitrahar, Gold Spot and Sridevi minus botox.
Ab Tak Chhappan, which released in 2004 and directed by Shimit Amin, did indulge in the excesses of Bollywood necessary to make Sadhu Agashe played by Patekar a riveting, awe-inspiring character. But it didn't lose sight of the fact that a film is primarily held up by a story.
Ab Tak Chhappan 2, however, hopes that we have inspiring memories of Sadhu Agashe from 11 years back and would simply be thrilled to see him back on screen. Basically, the makers of Ab Tak Chappan 2 asks you to treat Sadhu Agashe as Harry Potter, the mere mention of who should make us all sing 'Mera Piya Ghar Aaya, O Ramji' in our heads with glee.
That is perhaps the biggest flaw in the endeavour that is Ab Tak Chappan 2.
The film begins with telling you how Mumbai is infested with crooks and killers and the 'system' has pretty much failed to do anything to keep them in check. Annaji, a skinny man with sad eyes and a squeaky voice, is the Gandhian chief minister of the state.
Like his namesake in real life, he is basically inconsequential and just a cute, old man whose every word wants to make you go 'awww' and pull his cheeks for how much he daydreams. Annaji realises that his Gandhi-esque mush won't scare the baddies and summons home minister Jagirdar to put things in order. Jagirdar is a plump man in tinted aviators - the badass to Annaji's cute. He wants the defunct encounter squad to be reinstated so that the dons and killers of Mumbai are cleansed from the city.
Miles away in a small village. former encounter cop Sadhu Agashe, who has several cases pending against him, spends the most awesome life ever. He lives by a river, has fresh fried fish for lunch, goes boating all day and has a son who plays the piano at home. Former police chief Pradhan (Mohan Agashe) tries to cajole him into joining the police force back.
However, it is a soliloquy from his young son which convinces Agashe to get back into the force. So he moves to Mumbai, buys a pair of sunglasses and starts off by killing a few men. Guess where he finds them? At brothels and docks, like you always find them in Ram Gopal Verma-type films. Just when you have started to think why you should be paying to watch something that shows the government on a pest control drive, comes a twist. Actually, it's not much of a twist if you have watched Ab Tak Chhappan. The 'sequel' is mere the first film minus it's wit and gut, with just different people getting bumped off the same way, for the same reasons.
In fact, this one too has Ashutosh Rana playing a jealous junior Suryakant Thorat, much like Imtiyaz played by Yashpal Sharma in the first installment. It's easy to imagine Shimit Amin spilling his tub of popcorn, yelling 'copy cat' while watching the film.
The cinematography of the film, perhaps an ode to technology from ten years ago, is grainy and patchy. The camera angles are odd and some of the frames look like photos cropped by a Photoshop amateur.
In a fleeting 30-second sequence, where Nana Patekar is shown crying and grappling with tragedy, his face contorted in shock and grief, the film actually shows you what it didn't bother to exploit. It's criminal when you ignore the potential for brilliant acting that Patekar offers.
Gulab wants you to forget everything else for Sadhu Agashe. And then he does nothing to make us engage with his protagonist. Are we supposed to like him because he can jump halfway up in the air and kick a man on his back? Salman Khan will drop from the sky and kick a man. Are we supposed to like him because he can raze a man's nose with a punch? Ajay Devgn does that too, making funnier, hence more entertaining (even if unintentionally) faces.
Where is the conflict that drives Sadhu Agashe? Why is he obsessed with squeaky Annaji? Why does his son speak in the Dalai Lama language? Why is Gul Panag even there in the film? If the director had bothered to answer these questions, he would have probably made a far better film.
But then he seems to have decided, let's make a realistic Chulbul Pandey. And ended up turning Sadhu Agashe into a bigger caricature.
Updated Date: Feb 28, 2015 10:49:49 IST