Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

March 28, 2014

No, Prime Minister!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:35 pm

March 28, 2014

Cast: Jackky Bhagnani, Neha Sharma, Farooque Shaikh, Boman Irani, Mita Vasisht

Director: Syed Ahmad Afzal

Youngistaan starts off promisingly as a fish-out-of-water comedy about a carefree, 28-year-old who is thrown into the messy world of politics when, after the death of his father, he’s roped in to replace him as Prime Minister. Giving up his relaxed life in Tokyo, Abhimanyu (Jackky Bhagnani) reluctantly moves to Delhi and steps into his dad’s shoes, initially fumbling his way through protocol. But it’s his live-in girlfriend Anwita (Neha Sharma) who’s having a harder time adjusting to the changes.

The film cuts between the young couple’s relationship as it’s tested by Abhimanyu’s new position, and his determined resolve to make a positive difference as a leader while nevertheless facing resistance within his own party. Some of these ideas might have worked if the writing wasn’t so surface-level, and if the two main leads could act. But Jackky Bhagnani, despite his sincerity, has precisely two expressions, and Neha Sharma’s character comes off as a whining, selfish nag. Only the late Farooque Shaikh, playing Abhimanyu’s sympathetic PA, and a sort of surrogate parent, leaves an impression.

By the end, Youngistaan spirals into an abyss of predictable plotting, as Abhimanyu learns the tricks of how to succeed in politics. It’s all unnecessarily stretched out, and co-writer/director Syed Ahmad Afzal brings nothing by way of original treatment or even radical resolution.

I’m going with two out of five. There was potential here, but it’s wasted.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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