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Welcome Back review: Anil Kapoor and John Abraham are fun to watch in this silly film

Uday and Majnu are, as someone points out in Welcome Back, the Laurel and Hardy of goondas. They are, to again quote the film, “khule saand“: foolish, stubborn, ridiculous and flatter than cardboard cutouts. But here’s what may come as a surprise: they and Welcome Back are also really, truly funny.

Welcome Back is a straightforward, unabashed copy of Welcome and like the first film, this one wears its stupidity proudly on its sleeve. Just like in Welcome, Uday (Nana Patekar) again discovers he has another half-sister, Ranjana (Shruti Haasan). Majnu (Anil Kapoor) embraces her because any sister of Uday’s is a sister of his and within minutes, circumstances demand that Uday and Majnu organise a wedding for Ranjana. The reformed gangsters want her to marry a good lad from a respectable family.

Of course, nothing is simple in director Anees Bazmee’s world. As a result, Dr Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) returns, offspring pop out of the woodwork, John Abraham loses his shirt, a mother-daughter duo of con artistes target Uday and Majnu, Shiney Ahuja suffers the ignominy of wearing a candy-pink blazer and Rajpal Yadav protects his and our modesty by wearing nothing but a transistor a la PK. Does any of Welcome Back make sense? Absolutely not. Is any of it realistic or credible? Only if you’re on a diet of nothing but hallucinogens. But who cares as long as Uday, Majnu and Ghungroo are being idiotic on screen?

Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal, Anil Kapoor and John Abraham in Welcome Back. Image Courtesy: Facebook

Most of the film is so predictable — particularly if you’ve seen Welcome — that there’s no point recounting the plot of Welcome Back. In a nutshell: dons face dons, lovers are kept apart, cons are hatched, and hilarity ensues.

Abraham plays Ajju, a don from Mumbai. He is easy on the eye and inoffensive. Abraham doesn’t have much to do other than look good and flex his muscles from time to time so that at a critical point, Majnu can say of Ajju, “Lagta hai yeh gym mein hi paida hua tha.” (“It’s like he was born in a gym.”) Haasan, Dimple and Ankita Shrivastava all have significant roles in which they’re both flashy and forgettable.

Despite Bazmee sticking to his tried-and-tested formula, there are surprises in Welcome Back. However, fortunately, there aren’t any spoilers because no one knows what happens in the last few seconds of the film. The ending is somewhat literally up in the air.

But here are a few of the doozies that Welcome Back does serve us. Did you think there would be a situation in which you’d watch Naseeruddin Shah on screen and wish he could act more like Feroz Khan? Bazmee also throws in a scene in which Abraham gives a whole new meaning to the term “dry humping” when he leaps from camel hump to camel hump. No one could have seen that coming.

There’s a lot to love in Welcome Back if you don’t expect intelligence from the film. Like a sequence in which Uday and Majnu play antakshari with ‘ghosts’ in a graveyard (with neon tombstones, no less). You get to hear Kapoor singing “My name is Lakhan” after 26 years. There’s also a don named Wanted Bhai who gets a operatic chorus sing “Wanted Bhaaai” each time he makes an entrance. Just to bring this character home, his son’s name is Honey (played by Shiney Ahuja, which makes this role a double whammy of unfortunate names). And let’s not forget the desert chase that involves hovercrafts, skydivers, four-wheel drives, helicopters as well as a random train of camels.

Welcome Back a film that is completely aware of how stupid it is and delights in its idiocy. Bazmee also tucks in funny details for the keen-eyed, like Majnu’s art which is absolutely spectacular. We’re particularly fond of two of his paintings. One shows a horse on top of another (take that MF Husain) and the other is of the Dubai skyline.

Patekar is wonderful as the prone-to-rage Uday. He dances gleefully, packs many punches in his lines and is superb with the slapstick antics that Bazmee demands of him. Giving Patekar company are Kapoor and Rawal. What Kapoor lacks in the calibre department, the age-defying actor makes up for with energy and enthusiasm. As Majnu, Kapoor is dressed as flashily as ever (although Dimple Kapadia’s wardrobe in this film makes Majnu’s Technicolor velvet jackets seem almost sober). He doesn’t make much of an impression when he’s trying to be the menacing bhai, but he’s an excellent foil for Patekar. Rawal pops up intermittently and establishes yet again that he’s one of our most versatile comic actors.

These men are the stars of Welcome Back, but what makes them shine are the dialogues written by Raaj Shaandilyaa. This is Shaandilyaa’s first film and he makes sure everyone in Welcome Back, including extras, get lines that will bring them laughs. Some actors do justice to Shaandilyaa’s writing comedy and maintain an impressively silly tone, while some struggle. Regardless, the lines are funny enough to work despite the actors.

For instance, when a blind man gets a knock on his head and is suddenly able to see again, Uday tells Majnu that it’s pretty impressive how powerful Santoshi Maa is even in the deserts of Dubai. It helps that Patekar is the one entrusted with this line, but it would be funny no matter who said it. At another point, a gangster gives the girl he’s romancing a peck on the cheek and gets slapped. His minions explain to him, “Bhabhi ne aapko Emraan Hashmi samjha aur aap Amol Palekar nikley.” (“She expected you to be Emraan Hashmi and you ended up being Amol Palekar.”)

Unsurprisingly, after intermission, Welcome Back loses some of its steam. This is partly because Bazmee struggles to bring the film to a close and also because the director shifts focus from dialogue to stunts. The action sequences are outlandish in Welcome Back and boast of some of the worst CGI seen in recent times. It’s obvious that Bazmee has ensured the special effects are deliberately awful in the hope that they will draw laughs, but in terms of humour, they don’t hold a candle to the dialogues.

At 153 minutes, Welcome Back is just a shade too long and the ending is a sandstorm of stupidity. But you’ll forgive Bazmee and gang because for at least 120 minutes, this comedy keeps you in splits. Welcome Back might be 2015’s silliest film and this is the best reason to watch it. After all, when was the last time you came out of the cinema giggling?

Welcome Back review: It’s utter nonsense but this Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar film is good fun

There are bhais and there are bhais. The first belong to the underworld and the other, to sisters at large. Uday (Nana Patekar) and Majnu (Anil Kapoor) belong to both categories. In Welcome Back, a sequel to Welcome by the same director, we meet Uday and Majnu, miserable in their decent man acts and gentlemen suits, which, incidentally, make for quite an eye-catching wardrobe.

Eight years after Welcome, Uday and Majnu have stayed away from don-hood in Dubai, having promised their sister’s uncle-in-law, Dr Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) that they will walk the straight and narrow. Now, as Dubai businessmen in Welcome Back, Uday and Majnu find respectability comes with baggage, sisters and con artistes.

Welcome-back_380

This time, the duo find themselves saddled with one more sister — Ranjana (Shruti Hassan), daughter to Uday’s wife-hopping father (Patekar in a small double role appearance).

So Majnu struts around, shoulders tilted, wearing silver or black jackets and his trademark blue shades. Uday glares and glowers at goons while muttering “control” to himself while in his head, guns lock and load each time anyone does anything to annoy him.

In Welcome Back, Uday and Majnu’s woe is that they’re single. Even their henchmen have families, but our winsome twosome don’t have wives who will gaze at them on Karva Chauth nights. Then, both of them land up in love with the same girl, Princess Chandni (Ankita Srivastava), daughter of Maharani Padmavati (Dimple Kapadia).

However, this is no real love story. Padmavati is a con artiste who works with her daughter to snag rich men and weasel money out of them.

In case you thought this was a spoiler, all this happens within the first 40 minutes of Welcome Back, which is proof that plot is the least of Bazmee’s concerns in this film.

When 50-something and fitter-than-ever Kapoor and Patekar begin their screen time dancing to “Meet Me Daily Baby” and spend the rest of the film going round in circles, you know you are in for director Anees Bazmee’s brand of slapstick comedy.

Matching them gun for a gun, skip for a skip, silly words for sillier one, and crow for a pigeon is John Abraham as Ajju bhai. While romancing Ranjana, he does some surprisingly good jumps and moves of his own to outwit Uday and Majnu.

Our first encounter with him has him thrusting body parts to the tune of “Main Babli hui, Tu Bunty hua/ Bandh kamre mein 20-20 hua”. A rival don (a cameo by Ranjeet) says, “Yeh 20-20 khel rehein hain, inke body ka 50-50 kar do.” There follows the inevitable fight in which more of the inevitable follows — small-time baddies go flying in different directions and Ajju takes off his shirt to display a huge, sinewed back and several packs of abs.

But he’s not all muscle and no masti. Ajju has some romance scenes, in which he’s the ingenue opposite Ranjana, which suits Abraham just fine too. Haasan is a better and refreshingly sweet replacement for Katrina Kaif from Welcome.

And if that wasn’t enough, two more characters (Naseeruddin Shah and Shiney Ahuja) fly in with choppers to add to the chaos created by Hop Patekar, Skip Kapoor and Jump Abraham.

Shah is Wanted Bhai, a blind daddy of all dons who will, of course, kill for his druggie son, Honey (Ahuja). A fine mess is created with Honey being in love with Ranjana while Ranjana wants to marry Ajju while her ‘brothers’, Uday and Majnu, want Ajju dead. Oh, and Ajju happens to be Dr Ghungroo’s wife’s illegitimate son. This causes Ghungroo to call his wife “boycut hulkut” (she has short hair) and come up with devious schemes of his own.

Welcome Back gallops along, powered by lines like “Logon ki ma-behen hoti hain, aapki baap-behen ho gayi” and “Mobile uski, sim apun ka, tu beech mein missed call dene waala kaun?” A long graveyard scene is thrown in, with Kapoor breaking into his fantastic “Ae ji O ji” number, with his never tiring, super-enthusiastic grin. Thankfully, the film moves on to a quick climax point with all the actors running across sand dunes of Dubai, chased by camels.

Welcome Back kicks up a storm of utter nonsense thanks to terrific comic timing by Patekar and Kapoor. And it happens to be a welcome break from 24/7 coverage of murder, financial crashes and other serious news — purely because of the two talented actors who hop, skip, dance and fool around with complete conviction.

Welcome Back review: A perfect storm of utter nonsense with Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor and John Abraham

There are bhais and there are bhais. The first belong to the underworld and the other, to sisters at large. Uday (Nana Patekar) and Majnu (Anil Kapoor) belong to both categories. In Welcome Back, a sequel to Welcome by the same director, we meet Uday and Majnu, miserable in their decent man acts and gentlemen suits, which, incidentally, make for quite an eye-catching wardrobe.

Eight years after Welcome, Uday and Majnu have stayed away from don-hood in Dubai, having promised their sister’s uncle-in-law, Dr Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) that they will walk the straight and narrow. Now, as Dubai businessmen in Welcome Back, Uday and Majnu find respectability comes with baggage, sisters and con artistes.

Welcome-back_380

This time, the duo find themselves saddled with one more sister — Ranjana (Shruti Hassan), daughter to Uday’s wife-hopping father (Patekar in a small double role appearance).

So Majnu struts around, shoulders tilted, wearing silver or black jackets and his trademark blue shades. Uday glares and glowers at goons while muttering “control” to himself while in his head, guns lock and load each time anyone does anything to annoy him.

In Welcome Back, Uday and Majnu’s woe is that they’re single. Even their henchmen have families, but our winsome twosome don’t have wives who will gaze at them on Karva Chauth nights. Then, both of them land up in love with the same girl, Princess Chandni (Ankita Srivastava), daughter of Maharani Padmavati (Dimple Kapadia).

However, this is no real love story. Padmavati is a con artiste who works with her daughter to snag rich men and weasel money out of them.

In case you thought this was a spoiler, all this happens within the first 40 minutes of Welcome Back, which is proof that plot is the least of Bazmee’s concerns in this film.

When 50-something and fitter-than-ever Kapoor and Patekar begin their screen time dancing to “Meet Me Daily Baby” and spend the rest of the film going round in circles, you know you are in for director Anees Bazmee’s brand of slapstick comedy.

Matching them gun for a gun, skip for a skip, silly words for sillier one, and crow for a pigeon is John Abraham as Ajju bhai. While romancing Ranjana, he does some surprisingly good jumps and moves of his own to outwit Uday and Majnu.

Our first encounter with him has him thrusting body parts to the tune of “Main Babli hui, Tu Bunty hua/ Bandh kamre mein 20-20 hua”. A rival don (a cameo by Ranjeet) says, “Yeh 20-20 khel rehein hain, inke body ka 50-50 kar do.” There follows the inevitable fight in which more of the inevitable follows — small-time baddies go flying in different directions and Ajju takes off his shirt to display a huge, sinewed back and several packs of abs.

But he’s not all muscle and no masti. Ajju has some romance scenes, in which he’s the ingenue opposite Ranjana, which suits Abraham just fine too. Haasan is a better and refreshingly sweet replacement for Katrina Kaif from Welcome.

And if that wasn’t enough, two more characters (Naseeruddin Shah and Shiney Ahuja) fly in with choppers to add to the chaos created by Hop Patekar, Skip Kapoor and Jump Abraham.

Shah is Wanted Bhai, a blind daddy of all dons who will, of course, kill for his druggie son, Honey (Ahuja). A fine mess is created with Honey being in love with Ranjana while Ranjana wants to marry Ajju while her ‘brothers’, Uday and Majnu, want Ajju dead. Oh, and Ajju happens to be Dr Ghungroo’s wife’s illegitimate son. This causes Ghungroo to call his wife “boycut hulkut” (she has short hair) and come up with devious schemes of his own.

Welcome Back gallops along, powered by lines like “Logon ki ma-behen hoti hain, aapki baap-behen ho gayi” and “Mobile uski, sim apun ka, tu beech mein missed call dene waala kaun?” A long graveyard scene is thrown in, with Kapoor breaking into his fantastic “Ae ji O ji” number, with his never tiring, super-enthusiastic grin. Thankfully, the film moves on to a quick climax point with all the actors running across sand dunes of Dubai, chased by camels.

Welcome Back kicks up a storm of utter nonsense thanks to terrific comic timing by Patekar and Kapoor. And it happens to be a welcome break from 24/7 coverage of murder, financial crashes and other serious news — purely because of the two talented actors who hop, skip, dance and fool around with complete conviction.