Mubarakan – And how Singh is still King
There’s nothing more demonic than two bored twins
– Signed Tamaki
Almost all Bollywood films revolving around identical twins take inspiration from two seminal works. Alexander Dumas’s Corsican Brothers and Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Incidentally the Bard himself had twins in real life. And be it #DilipKumar (RAM AUR SHYAM) #DevAnand (HUM DONO) #SanjeevKumar (ANGOOR) #RajeshKhanna (ARADHANA) or #AmitabhBachchan (DON) they have all done these roles. The leading ladies are not too far behind either. From #Nargis (ANHONEE) to #SharmilaTagore (MAUSAM) #HemaMalini (SEETA AUR GEETA) and #Sridevi (CHAALBAAZ) to the recent #KanganaRanaut (TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS) playing two roles is a temptation they clearly cannot resist. Films with mistaken identity as the theme are generally considered a safe bet as long as they are written well. Writer & director #AneesBazmee is another filmmaker to try his hand at this genre with his latest offering, MUBAKARAN. Will it sink or swim?
Karan & Charan (Arjun Kapoor) are twins who lose their parents at a young age. Their uncle Kartar Singh (#AnilKapoor) decides that one should grow with a sister (#RatnaPathakShah) in London while another grows in sadda Punjab with a brother (#PavanMalhotra) Don’t ask why though. Cut to when they grow old enough to be married. Their uncle messes up things (One has a pagdi and yet confusion reigns. Don’t ask how) by getting the boys engaged to the wrong girl. From which point all hell breaks loose.
SCRIPT, SCREENPLAY & DIALOGUES
Marriage is a recurring theme in all the recent films of Anees Bazmee (NO ENTRY, WELCOME, SINGH IS KING). And #Mubarakan is no exception. And if you have suffered the ignominy of watching his previous films there is actually a set formula to the madness. Though one cannot quite understand why Bazmee who is no lesser writer of slapstick himself(SHOLA AUR SHABNAM, BOL RADHA BOL, AANKHEN, RAJA BABU, DEEWANA MASTANA) has left the writing to others. Having said that relatively unknown Balwinder Singh Janjua who is credited with both the story & screenplay (23 March 1931:SHAHEED,AB TUMHARE HAWALE WATAN SATHIYO ?) and dialogue writer #RajeshChawla (DELHI HEIGHTS, WARNING, SHARAFAT GAYI TEL LENE ??) seem to work well under Bazmee’s tutelage. The scene in which all three Kapoors come together (Sanjay Kapoor as the ghost in a friendly appearance) is inspired writing. And though the film is over two and a half hours long it has enough to keep the masses entertained. There are too many songs (almost all of which are loud, garish and strictly average) and like most films of Bazmee the wheels start to come off by the time the film stumbles it’s way to a botched up climax.
Like in most slapstick comedies the music of MUBARAKAN by Amaal Malik, Rishi Rich & Gourov-Roshin is passable (but only just) The background score that goes from loud & louder to are you nuts? (Sorry Michael Jackson) can be jarring to begin with but after a while your ears gets adjusted to the noise. The DOP Himman Dhamija (I,ME AUR MAIN, CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, DAWAAT-E-ISHQ ???) does what is expected of him – make every frame as bright & larger than life as possible. Veteran editor Rameshwar Bhagat (SULTAN, BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, DHOOM 2) does a good job of keeping a tight lid on things, especially in the pre interval portions.
One thing that Bazmee knows is the value of good actors and however inane his films might be the one thing that salvages them and makes these farcical comedies bearable are the actors. MUBARAKAN is no different. Where Ratna Pathak Shah does what is expected of her as the sophisticated caretaker aunt of the London bred Arjun, Pavan Malhotra hams away to glory as the uncle bringing up the Punjabi Arjun. Rahul ‘The Body’ Dev is wasted in a silly special appearance. Of the three heroines #NehaSharma is strictly average. #AthiyaShetty clearly has inherited her father’s acting genes and is as wooden as wood itself. Ileana who has a meatier role is somewhat better.
Arjun Kapoor has already done a dud called AURANGZEB where he played two roles before. Bazmee saves him the blushes here by giving a ‘pagdi’ to one of the twins. Here is a non actor who has neither the acting chops nor the looks that his uncle had and still does. And his weight issues show that he does not have the discipline either. But hey this is Bollywood where blood is thicker than talent. As expected all the heavy lifting in MUBARAKAN is done by the ageless wonder Anil Kapoor. If you have seen him in Bazmee’s previous ventures like NO ENTRY & WELCOME you know exactly what to expect. And that is exactly what you will get in MUBARAKAN. A jhakaaass performance.
Anees Bazmee has been doing #Slapstick for so long and been making a success of it that one should probably anoint him the ‘Master of the Absurd’ To his credit he knows his audience and sticks to what he is good at. Making life very uncomplicated for himself and those watching his films. And with MUBARAKAN he again scores. The first half itself has enough punches to do the needful. Though he falters in the second half he uses his trump card (read Anil Kapoor) well to keep the viewer hooked.
MUBARAKAN is not for those who like to ask stupid questions about the absence of logic in the film. Nor is it for those who ask smart questions about the stereotyping of a race like the Punjabis. In fact MUBARAKAN is not for those who ask any questions. If you can resist the temptation to do so you might actually find yourself breaking into a smile every now & then. This one is sure to rake in the moolah and knowing Bazmee that can only mean one thing. A sequel.