Director: Mrighdeep Singh Lamba
Cast: Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Manjot Singh, Ali Fazal, Richa Chadha
In the 2013 release, Fukrey, Varun Sharma’s Chucha was forced to sleep so that he wakes up with a lottery-winning dream. In its sequel, directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, Chucha is made to stay up to utilize his gift and premonition up another lottery-winning sequence. And that perhaps is the only new thing in the film apart from a couple of insignificant details.
If a sequel is produced after a gap of 4 years, one expects some sort of growth- in both characters and the story; but alas. The film continues to drag on its familiarity and stales what came as a breath of fresh air the first time. Fukrey Returns tries to sell itself on the recall factor and while it works and tickles the funny bone sometimes, it loses out on an opportunity to present something fresh. The plot and trajectory of the story-line is all too familiar for the ones who have seen the previous film.
All characters reprise their roles and the film kicks off a year later from where it ended the last time. But not much has changed in the year it seems. Pulkit Samrat is the same old confident Hunny, Varun Sharma is the innocently dumb entertainer Chucha, Manjot Singh is the fearful business-boy Lali and Ali Fazal is Zafar bhai, the wisest of them all. Pankaj Tripathi takes on the baton as the witty Pandit Ji who continues to swear by the idea of ‘jugaad’.
All is well until Richa Chadha’s Bholi Punjaban makes a comeback. She is all set on a revenge after her release from the prison. Joining her in the mission are her two faithful African servants and ‘mantri ji’, whom she had vehemently put down in the earlier film. The characters remain same and so do their love stories. Hunny is as awkwardly in love with Priya (Priya Anand), Zafar is singing to the tunes of Neetu (Vishakha Singh) and so is Lali (even though silently). Meanwhile, Chucha is still planning his future with Bholi Punjaban.
Fukrey primarily worked because it got hold of the most little things and presented in a relatable format. Like the youth’s aspiration to make quick money or the Hunny-Chucha bond that worked as a reflection of real life bro-code or the Hunny-Priya ‘french-kiss’ conversations, or the beggar that turned out to be the richest character in the film or the ‘quintessential Dilli’ things including the mata ki chowki scene.
The sequel, however, fails to live up to the expectations as it only refurbishes the main points in a different packaging. One can also trace back the order of sequences in a blink of an eye. While the first half still works on the recall factor, the second is a mix-up of too many ideas and that makes the film feel like a stretched saga of unnecessary details. Even the jibes that crack you up in the beginning, lose the potential to get you laughing after a point. The film lacks a vision and that perhaps is an aftermath of the success the makers tasted with the 2013 film. It has its moments, but the moments are only stolen and recreated from the first film.
The cast, which was impeccable in the previous venture, is led down by a sluggish narrative this time around. More so, Richa’s Bholi Punjaban loses the spunk- partly because of her character detailing and partly because she tries too hard. While Chucha is the star character, Hunny, Zafar and Lali, too, deliver a decent performance. But it’s Pankaj Tripathi, whose wit and comic timing never tires and he manages to make you giggle even when you find yourself disappointed by the plot.
Watch Fukrey Returns if you like but don’t expect the spark of the original. Plus, the giggles are more like a reminder of the original Fukrey and nothing more.