Film: "Judwaa 2"; Director: David Dhawan; Cast: Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Tapsee Pannu, Vivan Bhatena, Sachin Khedekar, Zakir Husain, Rajpal Yadav, Anupam Kher and Upasana Singh; Rating: **1/2
Coming from the stable of the gifted director David Dhawan, known for his comic entertainers, his latest film "Judwaa 2" seems like a rehash of other films and his earlier gags and funnies.
In this edition, the tale of the identical twins continues. It shares the same premise as the 1997 Salman Khan blockbuster, but unlike its previous edition, this one is shallow and lacklustre.
David Dhawan soft-pedals the main theme of the film with a revenge drama, where Rajiv Malhotra the father of the twins, gets Charles a smuggler arrested. He is imprisoned for 22 years, but before going to jail, Charles swears to return and take revenge.
Comedy usually twists the norm and sprinkles it with irony, but here, there is no irony; just twisting. The twins, Prem and Raja are separated at birth, initiated by Charles of course. But just before their separation, we are told that the duo share unique dynamics; "If one is hurt, the other can feel the pain. If one finds something funny, the other too will start laughing. Theirs is a one in an eight million case."
With this as the base, one expects to have a roller-coaster ride in "Judwaa 2". But unfortunately, the film tries hard to play off the rules of comedy.
Prem, the timid one, is inclined towards music and is brought up by his parents in London. And, Raja the boisterous one with no real agenda in life, is brought up by a foster mother Kashibai -- a fisherwoman from Versova, Mumbai.
The narrative takes a leap, 22 years after the separation. The twins' paths merge when Raja moves to London along with his bestie Nandu, after hitting Alex - a dreaded goon. How they unite in the end forms the crux of the tale.
The plot, more often than not, focuses on Prem and Raja's relationship with Samara (Tapsee Pannu) and Alisha (Jacqueline Fernandez) and not between the two brothers who have contrasting personalities.
Raja seeks nothing, except minor cheap thrills in the moment. Beyond that, he is a meandering hot ball, who flexes his muscles through crisis. On the other hand, Prem has a genuinely tender side that contrasts his brother's nature. But somehow together, they don't seem to ignite their relationship on-screen and hence, make the plot seem heavily manipulated.
Varun Dhawan slips into his roles effortlessly. With precise comic timing, he does not falter in either his Prem or Raja avatar. Taapsee and Jacqueline are earnest and are pure arm candy for their respective partners.
Pavan Malhotra as Inspector Dhillon is reduced to a side-kick just like Rajpal Yadav who plays Nandu with a lisp.
The others in the cast who have their on screen moments are Anupam Kher as Alisha's father Balraj Bakshi, Ali Asghar as the psychiatrist Dr. Lulla, Upasna Singh as Samara's mother and Vivan Bhatena as Charles' son Alex.
On the production front, the film is well-mounted. The dialogues too like the music, have references to other Hindi films. And you are expected to laugh at the few lines that rhyme like; "Mat ro, mat ro, tujhe bhej doonga Heathrow," or "Yeh ambulance to turbulence bol rahi hai".
The surprise element at the extreme end of film, which is supposed to add punch to the viewing experience, in reality is quite drab.
Overall, "Judwaa 2" is not a great comedy but it is an engaging entertainer with some laughs and a sort of warm goofiness.