Rohit Shetty has been making his comedy of errors for a long time, but this time, the director who introduced us to a new Golmaal gets inspired by Shakespeare’s epic play and dusts off Gulzar’s Angoor (1982) to create a faded copy that is absolutely dull and listless. It is surprising because it is headlined by a live wire of actor Ranveer Singh in a double role and is surrounded by Rohit’s trusted tag team of comedians who excel in buffoonery.
The film promises many amperes of comic current but it hardly passes through its body of writing. In fact, the makers literally empower the star to charge us and there is even an item song featuring Deepika Padukone to underline the claim. But the jokes cannot light up the celluloid, leaving us cold. Over the years, Priyadarshan has used livewires with much better comic wattage. Evidently, the only portions of situational humour that work are directly drawn from Gulzar’s screenplay. The rest, written by three writers, reels out like a loosely-written skit from Comedy Circus, of which Rohit was once a ringmaster.
Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Varun Sharma, Pooja Hegde and Jacqueline Fernandez
Runtime: 139 minutes
Storyline: Chaos ensues when two sets of identical twins, who got separated at birth, end up at a hill station at the same time
Those who know Angoor would recall that it is about two sets of identical twins separated at birth. Years later, when they — identically named Roy (Ranveer) and Joy (Varun Sharma) — end up in Ooty at the same time, the misunderstandings lead to confusion and chaos.
Murali Sharma, the doctor who changes the twins at the time of their birth, to further his dated nature vs. nurture experiment, is the voice of the writer who breaks the fourth wall to share the curiosity of the audience at the implausibility of the situation. But he does it so repetitively that the device soon loses its value.
It is a script that is perhaps more suited for laidback situational humour, perked up by music and performances, than Rohit Shetty’s style of overwrought slapstick. We know Rohit takes slapstick literally but he often impregnates it with relentless scatological humour that makes us surrender disbelief and logic. Here, we get only get a series of predictable slaps that make more sound than comic sense. Sanjay Mishra tries hard to eke out laughs but it increasingly becomes a laboured attempt with only two or three laugh-out-loud moments. So does Johnny Lever’s entry scene that fizzles out after promising a riot. Siddharth Jadhav has a better arc but nothing as hair-raising as his coiffure.
From Kali pahadi to Rai Sahib, Rohit evokes multiple Bollywood cliches to generate guffaws, but unfortunately, the gags don’t really land. Ranveer is surprisingly off-colour and Varun as his sidekick brother is consistently bland. Jacqueline Fernandez and Pooja Hegde as the love interests of the identical twins are there just for ornamental value very much like the gleaming sets that shine a lot but hardly add any substance to the buffoonery on display. Even the circus backdrop has not been exploited properly to keep the kids interested.
At one point, running out of alliterations, Mishra describes the proceedings as Ooty ki ootpatang. That is what Cirkus is; a reckless ruckus in Ooty. Unless someone else is paying for the ticket, it is better to get into a quilt and catch up with the exploits of Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma on television once more.
Cirkus is currently running in theatres