It’s always tricky to make a sequel of an original film that tied up neatly and Rani Mukerji’s irreverent 2005 comic blockbuster ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ belonged to that distinguished category.
The whacky comic caper about a wicked and endearing con couple who outcons the system and the law enforcement was satisfying and gave its fans adequate closure. In such a scenario, a sequel has to be spectacularly worthy and stupendously entertaining for it to outdo the original.
So the big question remains if ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, which takes off from where the first part left off, matches the sparkle and sass of its first instalment.
The answer? Yes and no. Ok, it’s complicated.
There’s no denying that it was heartening and enormously satisfying to watch seasoned actors such as Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan (who steps into the shoes of actor Abhishek Bachchan from the original) play the retired con-couple being strangled by soulless suburbia. They have left the world of crime and grime, and are trying to be ordinary and honest civilians. But what’s more painful and hurtful than a couple who can scam people for a living? A retired and formerly distinguished con couple who pretend to be happy and scam themselves about being content.
This is precisely where Vimmy and Rakesh Trivedi are in their soul-destroyingly middling lives. Khan, who plays the emasculated husband with a straight-laced job as a railway ticket checker, is effective and efficient in most parts but takes time to warm up to his role. Initially, the scenes which underline his repressed-but-honest existence seem impossibly contrived. But the parts where he switches gears and assumes a suave and borderline slimy tycoon seems more up his street.
But Mukerji doesn’t seem to have that problem. From the word go, the effervescent talent is at home as the colourful and flamboyant Vimmy. She’s loud and fabulous and makes crass look almost classy. But actors and their chemistry can only elevate a film if it’s backed by a solid script. These seasoned actors are not magicians. Unfortunately, the twists and plot points in ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ aren’t as arresting or riveting as it should be. While Khan and Mukerji had a tendency to ham their way out of certain funny situations, they can’t be blamed for ludicrous twists in a film.
In the original, the con games by this notorious couple was spot-on and diabolical but the second installment doesn’t deliver on that front. The scams that play out aren’t entirely convincing. But the same cannot be said about the new entrants to this franchise. Both Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari are in good form in this film. Chaturvedi has immense recall value, but he’s on call to make some unconvincing parts of the story convincing. Sharvari holds her own too. It’s this fabulous quartet that makes this comedy watchable and engaging for most parts.
Actor Pankaj Tripathi as the clever cop is on fire in this inconsistent comedy. But their collective talents aren’t complemented by a pitch-perfect storyline. The scenes set in Abu Dhabi – where the old-timers take on the younger and bolder con-couple in foreign soil – are relatively enjoyable. But the improbability of the situations that these hustlers /swindlers land themselves stand in the way of having a thoroughly satisfying viewing.
The second part may not hold a candle to the original, but the earnestness of all the actors ensures that they don’t cheat their fans of doling out a film that’s serviceable as a one-time watch.
Director: Varun Sharma
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Sharvari
Stars: 2.5 out of 5