Remakes and sequels invariably come with a big risk of ruining experiences of cinegoers. Fortunately, Judwaa 2 doesn’t come across as one of those horrid remakes that just couldn’t live up to the original and made people wonder why the filmmakers even bothered. Instead, this remake maintains the benchmark.
Salman Khan starrer comic caper Judwa which released in 1997 was a typical David Dhawan film and was an offshoot of a celebrated form of filmmaking of that time.
After two decades, the Hindi film industry has evolved and for the better. Agreed, slapstick comedy still works, but only with original content. Honestly speaking, Judwaa 2 lacks that freshness. The film is an old wine served in an old style, just the ingredients are new, giving out the same flavour.
Raja (Varun) and Prem (Varun, again) are conjoined twins, who have similar reflexes. They are separated at birth by a smuggler, Charles (Zakir Hussain), who kidnaps Raja. The geek Prem grows up in the lap of luxury in London with his parents - the Malhotras; loud Raja finds shelter in a Mumbai's fisherman's colony. One is a 'gali ka tapori', the other praying for a miracle to save him from the college bullies. Circumstances lead to Raja's entry in London, and rest as one may say, is exactly what you saw in the original, yes, even the climax.
Talking about the performances, Varun has tried hard to fit into the shoes of Salman, however, the time fails him. He literally imitates Salman's style in certain sequences, notably when he says 'Prem Malhotra'. While Salman's antics were funny then, the same comedy and body language make you roll your eyes now.
Cinema has evolved, but David's character hasn't. Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu are just fine in their parts because the script doesn’t demand too much out of them. None of the actresses are able to strike a chemistry with their lead man.
Anupam Kher's presence feels like a warm hug because he is the only actor that actually fits in that time frame.
The slapstick comedy throughout the film is borderline offensive. While we don't expect 'woke humour' from the Dhawan camp, a little awareness and evolution in the filmmaking won't hurt anyone. What appeared funny in the 90s, is largely unrelatable, superficial and juvenile in 2017. The year when we have seen better comedies like Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan, and even Newton, this one just feels out of its place and era. Varun is the only actor expected to pull this kind of humour off, but even he needs to understand that the charm will work only to an extent as his audience wants to see his real caliber, anytime now.
There are certain references to all actors' own films written as the punch line of extremely lame jokes. To make the script trendier, writers have actually inserted WhatsApp jokes, however, credit has to be given to Varun to pull it off with at least some dignity.
So is everything in the film that depressing? Absolutely not. The film is like a colourful nostalgia and certain moments will evoke chuckles. The setting of the film is vibrant and the songs add on to the energetic vibe. All this makes it a mass-appealing film that people would prefer to watch on a festive weekend.
David has never been a critic's director. His motive has always been to make a mass entertainer and he has done the same with Judwaa 2. While the informed audience may ridicule his craft, the larger fanbase of the original 1997 hit will have an enjoyable time inside the theaters, with sequence and background score ringing in the collective nostalgia. Salman's cameo adds on to the mass-appeal of the film. It's as bizarre and illogical as the entire film but exists only for the nostalgic factor.
Judwaa 2 is a dose of nostalgia that dumbs you down. It exists because of a mass-favorite film made 20 years ago and doesn’t offer anything new to the audience. There is nothing smart about the film, and that's disappointing. We didn't go to the theatre expecting intelligent humour, but we didn't expect a crude and forced comedy either. Things could've been much better had the makers been a little awake during the transition of the film industry from 90's to the teens of the 21st century.