By Hindustan Times
Direction: Kunal Deshmukh
Actors: Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda, Esha Gupta
Jannat 2 begins with a bang. In the narrow gullies of Old Delhi (point to ponder: when did ‘Dilli’ become Bollywood’s main muse?), a man is holding a gun to the head of Sonu Dilli KKC, short for kutti kameeni cheez. Sonu, played by Emraan Hashmi, is a small-time hood who deals in guns. But before the man can shoot him, Sonu gives him a crash course on why the gun in his hand is unworthy and why he needs to buy a new one, from Sonu naturally. It’s a clever scene that clearly establishes Sonu Dilli as a lethal mix of street-smarts, criminality and charm.
Sonu’s carefree life takes a hit when he falls in love with a doctor, Jhanvi, played by the pretty but banal Esha Gupta. Now he wants to become a ‘shareef, seedha, gharelu aadmi’. To accomplish this, he becomes a police informer for a scowling, alcoholic cop, ACP Pratap Raghuvanshi, played by Randeep Hooda. Pratap’s wife was killed in an armed robbery so now he’s on a murderous rampage to destroy the gun mafia. Apparently, Pratap still has a bullet lodged in his brain from the said robbery, which doesn’t let him sleep. So he spends a lot of time drinking and phoning home so he can hear his dead wife’s voice on the answering machine — I know this is meant to be moving but I found it unintentionally hilarious.
The most interesting thing about Jannat 2 is Sonu’s thorny relationship with Pratap. The two dislike each other but they need each other and eventually develop mutual respect and affection. Director Kunal Deshmukh and his writers Sanjay Masoom and Shagufta Rafique make this the centrepiece of this largely predictable film. But in doing so, they totally ignore what is supposed to be the plot driver — the love story. Sonu’s grand passion for Jhanvi is reduced to a few songs and the requisite kissing scenes. Of course you also have to ask how it is that a doctor who runs a charity hospital never figures out what her man actually does.
Logic isn’t a priority here. Deshmukh is creating an old-school Bollywood film with high drama, punchy dialogue, thunderous background music and villains who glare and maim with aplomb. Some sequences are nicely done, including a chase sequence in a dargah. Emraan Hashmi and Randeep Hooda are also extremely watchable. But there are no surprises here and by the second half, Jannat 2 starts to feel like an endurance test with your head being bludgeoned by the violence and incessant Hindi swear words.
After a while, I had to ask: Why am I spending so much time with these unpleasant people? In case you’re wondering, no, this film’s story has no connection with the first Jannat. It’s called Jannat 2 because, I think, the first was a success. To underline the connection, characters repeat the word jannat often. As they do the other signature phrase: kutti kamini cheez.