Producer: Firoz A. Nadiadwala
Director: Aneez Bazmee
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Feroz Khan, Paresh Rawal, Katrina Kaif, Nana Patekar and Mallika Sherawat
Like bubble-gum, it’s fruity, a bit juicy now, a bit endless and then by the end, tasteless. Like bubble-gum, it’s okay time-pass.
Bollywood has yet to perfect the art of matching its films to their promos. Slick, smart and spicy trailers have become the alluring mistress that promise a lot and deliver a little less than that. The reality of Welcome is a bit like that seduction.
Welcome, is a characteristic Anees Bazmee comedy of errors fare which revolves around the attempts of Don Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) to marry off his sister Sanjana (Katrina) and Dr. Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) to marry off his nephew Rajeev (Akshay Kumar). The movie spins around the now-on-now-off status of the alliance and the ensuing comedy that continually throws everyone included in a tizzy.
The film brings together a terrific casting in interesting characters. Nana Patekar as the feared Don who has a secret ambition for acting and a secret fear of horses, Anil Kapoor, as the maverick ‘bhai’ always holding people to gun-point at the slightest provocation, Feroze Khan as ‘RDX’, the underworld kingpin who just refuses to die, aren’t characters Bollywood produces everyday. The seasoned actors bring a varied amount of flavour to the table within the scope of their roles along with ensuring that the entertainment mercury doesn’t drop. The writing, direction and the acting comes together to sustain the gratifying quotient of the film.
Yet, a certain amount of flair seems to be missing in the portrayal as well as the proceedings. The one-liners that Anil Kapoor gets to deliver are cool but somehow do not have the same effect had Govinda, for instance, delivered them. The flair is missing.
The movie was an ideal ground for another Hera Pheri whereas it has been treated as a mere Partner and hence wasted a good amount of imagination, a precious rarity in Bollywood. Fancy locations, showy production values and the glitzy song-dance routines, partly add the flavour but make it look a bit more cosmetic than necessary. They add the visual flamboyance but the experience doesn’t match up.
One of the culprits is a patchy screenplay. Too many twists, too many characters and too many events that do not flow seamlessly, undo an otherwise meaty film. Meaty because it ably explores the various comic threads that a particular twist gives the possibility for. Patchy because events do not lead into each other, rather situations look more episodic than incidental.
The other guilty party is the direction. The director treats the subject and the world of the characters with a certain amount of lightness. This reflects in the sum total of rib-tickling moments the film evokes despite trying hard. The film has a number of moments that look effortless but it has equal number of moments that look tired and tiring. The comedy is good in bits but timing, wit and even the sparkle in the slapstick is missing. Anees Bazmee, brand slapstick, carries the vaudeville to a high but fails to give it a crescendo.
The actors do their bit to keep the laughs rolling but lack a rock solid chemistry, especially Anil and Nana without which the comic premise of their characters and the film falters. Similarly, Akshay, Paresh, Feroze Khan and Mallika Sherawat do justice to their roles evoking their share of laughter but none stand out in the crowded film. The long-legged beauty, Katrina needs to pay some more attention to her acting and make-up.
If it is a Sanjay F.Gupta film then it is but unusual to find it technically weak. Aerial shots of the resplendent Dubai and other such style statements give the film the lavishness it flaunts. The music seems to be a mixed bag with some harsh and some catchy tunes thrown in as a buy-one(like-one)-get-one-free(compromise, it’s free) offer. Editing doesn’t seem to help the patchiness of the screenplay or the length of the film and its gags.
An average rib-tickler, Welcome, delivers a few hours respite from the humdrum of life. Its only problem is it promises too much. It is definitely watchable but how repeatable is the experience depends on how seriously one takes the business of being funny.