Actor Naseeruddin Shah once said Bollywood “films that should never have been made are being re-made”.
David Dhawan, who directed a series of crass comedies in the 90’s probably doesn’t agree, because he’s made the same film twice. Once in 1997 with Salman Khan and 20 years later - in the Bollywood tradition of nepotism - with his own son in the lead.
To Varun Dhawan’s credit, he is the best thing about a film that simply doesn’t hold up. Twenty years ago, “Judwaa” barely passed the test of any comedy. Watch it again today and it grates on your nerves.
The director makes cosmetic attempts at keeping up with the times. The film’s location changes to London, which explains the deletion of the song “East or West, India is the best.”
In “Judwaa 2”, India is shown only in flashbacks when a smuggler kidnaps one of newborn twins to exact revenge on the father.
The family moves to London, unaware that Raja (Varun Dhawan) is alive and is being raised in a fisherman’s colony in Mumbai.
He runs away to London after an altercation with a criminal, leading to a comedy of errors. While Raja is boisterous and always ready for a fight, his twin brother Prem is meek and avoids confrontation. They both fall in love with women whose only role in the film is be arm candy.
The director milks the same joke over and over again. Prem and Raja mirror each other’s actions - so when one is kissing, so is the other; when one lands a blow, so does the other. This leads to many slapstick moments and is funny just once, after which it gets repetitive.
There is a host of ensemble actors who add nothing to the film’s humour quotient, and saunter in and out of the screen with no purpose.
“Judwaa 2” is already treading on thin ice, given it never had strong material to begin with. Thankfully, as in the original, it has a leading man with enough screen presence to manage scenes that would be too outlandish otherwise.