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Movie review 'Guddu Rangeela': A jugalbandi that’s out of sync

Published Jul 4, 2015, 6:33 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 4:16 pm IST
Guddu Rangeela is neither rangeela, nor very guddu-guddu

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Amit Sadh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Ronit Roy, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Amit Sial, Brijendra Kala, Rajiv Gupta

Director: Subhash Kapoor

Rating: 2 stars


Guddu Rangeela, through its title, cast, poster, songs and marketing, has been promising a fun ride even if that assurance is overcast by the 2013 outing of director Subhash Kapoor and Arshad Warsi, Jolly LLB.

But, thankfully, Guddu Rangeela begins well — with a boisterous jugalbandi between Guddu (Amit Sadh) and Rangeela (Arshad Warsi). It’s the sort we’ve enjoyed since and before Prakash Mehra’s 1976 Hera Pheri. G & R are conmen who stage cultural-religious evenings. The one we land into is in Mirpur, Haryana, their area of operation, where a stage show is underway to celebrate a village boy getting Kenya’s visa. It’s a funny scene, even if it has been done before and better (Fukrey, etc.). Bollywood has only recently cottoned on to the comic potential of Vishal Bhagwati Jagrans, several years after Gulshan Kumar began to “modernise” bhakti songs, and most Bollywood directors now seem to want a piece of it.

So, after G has told a joke and built-up his senior, R arrives and launches into a song, Mata ka email. The absurdity of the lyrics and music are not new, but they are superfun. Matching the goofiness of the song is their getup. G & R wear cheap and gaudy clothes that show off their main trait: They are harmless, funny guys. Ha Ha. While Rangeela is singing, Guddu does a round of the house with an aarti thali in hand and a condom in his back-pocket. These are devices to help him accomplish his main task: recce the house for how much money, jewels and arms its holds. This information is later passed on to the local pandit for a cut, who then, with his football-playing sadhus, plans a dacoity.

The local thanedar is paid off regularly, and all is going well till he gets transferred and the new one summons G & R and asks for Rs 10 lakh. Else, he’ll open their 16 cases. Mirpur, according to the film, is also ground-zero of khap panchayats where verdicts are pronounced and carried out on eloping couples. Billu Pehalwan (Ronit Roy), the local MLA and bahubali, is their poster boy. We meet him in circumstances that are conjured up to be dramatic and he menacing. That these tangents — goodhearted conmen and an evil man symbolising a social villainy — will intersect is the film’s main calling.

It’s via Gora Bengali (Dibyendu Bhattacharya), a card-carrying PR for the underworld, that G & R come upon the goongi, behri Baby (Aditi Rao Hydari). The plan is to kidnap her from Chandigarh and collect Rs 2 crore. But she’s neither goongi nor behri, and the kidnapping is not what it’s made out to be. As the plot twists, past stories, grudges and unsettled scores are revealed, hustling us to a climax so stupid and screechy and stale that I was hoping Arshad Warsi would get thrashed by the villain rather than the other way round.

Director Subhash Kapoor’s Jolly LLB took a real life case and said, rather emphatically, that truth always triumphs in our courts. Nothing could be more delusional or dangerous than that. Though offensive in its beliefs, it was a more accomplished film. Here the politics is palatable, but the film’s focus on honour killings is tackily self-serving. Though GR makes many statements about how brazenly the bad boys of khap panchayats bump off boys and girls, firm in their belief that the bloodletting is their duty to keep the bloodline clean, honour killings are used like Bollywood has used bad things that bad men do to the family/wife/sister of the hero: it exists only to yield a revenge path upon which the hero must embark.

Subhash Kapoor has written the film’s script, screenplay and dialogue, and till interval his film is tight and fun and its dialogue rather nice. But, after interval, he doesn’t want to complicate things and simply wants to get to the climax. So his characters, who start off as distinct, quirky and complicated, are all creatures belonging to either of the two homogenous groups after interval: the good guys and the bad guys. I’m, like, bored already.

What’s worse, a lady from the past arrives, grabs a mike, and begins haranguing all about gangrapes, female foeticide, dowry This leads to a third-rate end to a film that held some promise. After much tain-tain, it’s totally phiss. What stays with you is Amit Sadh’s Guddu. As a slightly crass but cute guy, Guddu looks and feels like a needy Lhasa Apso — tongue out, yelping for attention. Sadh is good, on target.

His tongue hangs out for Baby. Aditi Rao Hydari is beautiful, but here she’s also boring. There are long spells when the camera is focused on her, but she does nothing except let us admire her rosy cheeks, dewy lips and eyes so limpid. Ronit Roy’s Billo Pehalwan is the repository of all that’s wrong with this strutting, macho world. Roy is a good actor but he has played this clenched-jaw alpha male too often to excite us anymore. He tries, though.

Arshad Warsi doesn’t even try. He’s just obliging us with his presence and quick delivery of cheepad dialogue. He does that well, but it’s simply not enough. Not when he neither looks the part nor plays it beyond delivering dialogue.

A review of Guddu Rangeela in its own tone and style would simply say, with a smilie: GR is neither rangeela, nor very guddu-guddu. And for this the satisfied team of Subhash Kapoor and Arshad Warsi are to blame.



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