By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Welcome to the crazy, mad, funny, outlandish, outrageous, zany world of WELCOME, directed by Anees Bazmee, who gave us the rib-tickling NO ENTRY. Bazmee is a veteran when it comes to leave-your-brains-at-home comic capers, having penned and helmed non-stop laughathons in the past.
The question is, does WELCOME make you break into guffaws? The question is, does WELCOME measure up to the mammoth expectations surrounding it? The question is, will WELCOME be as big a hit as NO ENTRY?
WELCOME follows the same path as David Dhawan and Priyadarshan movies. The mantra is simple: Lock your brains at home, throw your worries out of the window for the next 2 hours and get ready to embrace a world where logic and sense have no place… In short, WELCOME remains faithful to the genre from start to end. Bazmee borrows a bit from the likable Hugh Grant starrer MICKEY BLUE EYES [also bears an uncanny resemblance to SHAADI SE PEHLE] and adds loads of Indian masala to make the proceedings spicy and tangy. Lo and behold! WELCOME succeeds in tickling your funny bone at most places. The humour is basic and even absurd, but it works well in a film like this.
To cut a long story short, WELCOME is one of those entertainers that deliver what it promises: Funny sequences, super performances and loads and loads of laughter. Without doubt, WELCOME will be welcomed with open arms by the aam junta!
Uday Shetty [Nana Patekar], Majnu [Anil Kapoor] and their boss, Sikander [Feroz Khan], are basically three Hong Kong-based serio-comic mobsters, who are keen to get Uday’s sister Sanjana [Katrina Kaif] married into a respectable family.
Uday, who accidentally meets the handsome bachelor Rajiv [Akshay Kumar], gets convinced that the latter would be an appropriate match for Sanjana. Meanwhile, Sanjana, who is totally unaware of her brother’s plans, also meets Rajiv separately and they fall in love. She has the acceptance of Dr. Ghunghroo [Paresh Rawal], Rajiv’s uncle, who is unaware of the fact that she is Uday’s sister.
When Dr. Ghunghroo realizes his faux pas, he decides against the marriage. The entire plot takes a U-turn when a stunning bombshell [Mallika Sherawat] arrives on the scene and claims to be Rajiv’s wedded wife, which only adds to the hullabaloo and chaos.
You realize you won’t need your thinking caps at the very outset. Note the introductory sequences of Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal and Anil Kapoor. They set the mood of the film. Also, the first hour has several humorous moments and you enjoy the one-liners that the characters keep delivering every now and then.
The director makes sure to open three more surprises in the post-interval hour -- Feroz Khan, Mallika Sherawat and Vijay Raaz, who is introduced in the first half, but gets scope only in the second half. The sequences between Nana and Mallika and also between Anil and Mallika are truly funny. Also, the marathon portion at the funeral is sure to bring the house down.
Of course, there’re loose ends. The pace dips in the second hour, a few jokes seem repetitive and therefore, don’t evoke the required mirth. Also, the music could’ve been better. Only two songs come easy on your lip [the ones that are promoted], but the chartbusting quality is missing.
Bazmee’s direction does justice to the material. The director and his team of writers [Rajiv Kaul, Praful Parekh] don’t deviate from the core issue and pack the script with inane stuff, but the impact is so funny that you break into a hysterical laughter at places. The Kaul and Parekh jodi, known for writing a number of David Dhawan and Indra Kumar films in the past, are back in true form after a long time.
As mentioned earlier, the music is a mixed bag. ‘Uncha Lamba Kadh’ and ‘Tera Sarafa’ [Anand Raaj Anand] are the best tracks of the enterprise and the choreography of these numbers take them further, but the remaining songs are below average. Dialogues are laced with wit and enjoyable, especially those delivered by Nana, Paresh and Anil. Sanjay F. Gupta’s cinematography is striking. The locales of Dubai and South Africa give the film a grandiose look. The effects [especially in the climax -- the house collapse sequence] are tacky.
Although WELCOME boasts of a formidable star cast and every actor handles his/her part with effortless ease, the one who registers the maximum impact is Nana Patekar. Nana is in terrific form, the real scene-stealer. It’s a treat to watch this accomplished actor essay a role that’s in stark contrast to the ones he’s known for [intense, hard-hitting characters]. His comic timing is fantastic!
Akshay is equally competent. He looks every inch the seedha-saadha guy, who is torn between his lady love on one hand and the two factions [Paresh versus Nana, Anil & Co.] on the other. This film should find a prominent place in his repertoire.
Anil Kapoor comes up with yet another dhamaka. The actor compliments Nana beautifully and handles his role with precision. Paresh Rawal is superb yet again. He continues to make people laugh, even though he has consistently starred in umpteen funny movies.
Although the meatier scenes are reserved for the men, there’s no denying that Katrina gives her role the freshness that it demands. Also, she looks bewitching. Mallika Sherawat is electrifying. Although she makes an appearance in the second half, the confidence with which she carries her part is what works in her favour.
Feroz Khan is in form. Vijay Raaz is first-rate yet again. Supriya Karnik, Snehal Dhabi, Adi Irani, Mushtaq Khan and Sherveer Vakil are adequate. Suniel Shetty is there for a scene only; he’s okay.
On the whole, WELCOME is a fun ride all the way. The tremendous hype for the film has resulted in a tremendous start at the ticket window and the 5-day weekend as also the lack of biggies in the subsequent weeks will help WELCOME reach the ‘Smash Hit’ status in days to come.