Anees Bazmee’s Welcome is one of the most underrated comedies of recent times. However, over the years, it has become one of the most watched films on TV.
In fact, its situational comedy is a lesson in comic timing and how to carry off a slapstick humour. This amazingly funny film revolves around an eligible bachelor who falls in love with a gangster’s sister, and how he creates confusion to have his way. Since then, Bazmee has directed Singh Is Kinng, No Problem, Thank You, Ready and Welcome Back. All these films had the theme of marriage at the centre.
Bazmee’s latest Mubarakan follows a similar trajectory, with a double-role angle. Separated in childhood, twins, Karan and Charan (both played by Arjun Kapoor) are expected to marry as per their guardians’ wishes, but they are already in love with Sweety (Ileana D’Cruz) and Nafisa (Neha Sharma).
Things get complicated when Charan gets engaged to a another girl, Binkal (Athiya Shetty) in London. The shy guy couldn’t gather the courage to tell his parents about his love life and that leads to a big-intra family feud that ends when Charan’s uncle swears to marry him off in exactly one month.
However, Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor) is yet to arrive and add more confusion to the already-messed up affair.
Mubarakan is a typical Bazmee film which starts with loud background music and solid bass. The hero walks in slow motion and dances to peppy tunes, but shows a docile attitude in front of the heroine. Arjun Kapoor takes a cue from Akshay Kumar in Welcome and jumps into this mad-caper wholeheartedly. It’s just that Anil Kapoor is a pro at it and steals all the limelight from him.
His character drives a vehicle that has slogans like ‘Buri nazar wale tera muh gora’ and ‘You are chasing a Punjabi’ written all over it. He then employs an English man who mouths dialogues like ‘Baadshaho tussi lassi pio’ and ‘Meri pagar padhao.’
Most of us don’t expect any sort of explanations from such a film, so it keeps moving from Chandigarh to London in a jiffy with songs thrown in occasionally. They’re anyway needed to hold attention in this 156-minute film.
You also find dialogues like, “Ye zaroor druggie hai? Ye Punjab se aaya hai.” Then somebody casually mentions, “Udta Punjab,” and everybody starts laughing.
Anil Kapoor, however, tries his best to hold the family and the story together. As someone who unknowingly keeps creating chaos, he has been rightly given a good screen time. The only actor who outperforms in a couple of scenes is Pavan Malhotra. As an always angry hotelier who hates to be seen down upon, he is hilarious.
Mubarakan shows some witty character sketches before losing its charm in the later half. The indecisive Arjun Kapoor and self-musing Anil Kapoor successfully establish a mood where you don’t mind dialogues like, “Iss baar Christmas 25 ko hai?” or, “Ye mooli, maamooli nahi hai.” In fact, you laugh when somebody falls off a window while trying to find the mobile network. Well, I did.
Unfortunately, such moments keep getting fewer in number in the second half as the film gets totally centred on Anil Kapoor and his antics. Unlike Welcome, he doesn’t get much support from his co-actors and gigs become repetitive in nature.
Some of Priyadarshan’s most likeable comedies also deal with an army of actors and a confusing thread in the climax, but he doesn’t waste much time in clearing the confusion. Bazmee takes time here as some of his characters go for long monologues. This slows down the pace and gives the audience a chance to realise the loopholes in the otherwise over-simplified story.
Mubarakan is designed as a family film where comedy is generated through quarrelling relatives. This works initially but goes out of control later.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t be entertained. You’ll be occasionally laughing, but probably won’t be leaving the theatre with a big smile on your face.