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

December 21, 2007

Enter the madhouse

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:25 pm

December 21, 2007

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Feroz Khan, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Mallika Sherawat

Director: Anees Bazmee

Now, just in case you’d forgotten what it’s like to have someone slowly drill a nail into your head for three long hours, director Anees Bazmee’s Welcome checks into the cinemas to remind you. Let me start by telling you I have no problem with comedy. I thought Jab We Met had some sparkling humour, and I even enjoyed bits of Partner to be quite honest.

But I do have a problem with stupidity, which isn’t the same thing as funny in my book. The problem withWelcome is that it’s highly idiotic, it’s not particularly well-written, and most of all, it’s a film that completely disregards one’s intelligence.

Don’t give me April Fool jokes that my three-year-old nephew can see through, and really what do you expect to make of a film whose very first scene is a cheap sex joke? Loosely inspired by the Hugh Grant hit Mickey Blue Eyes, Anees Bazmee’s latest is a film involving a much-in-love couple, a triumvirate of underworld dons and a gaggle of random family members and side-players.

It’s futile to even attempt to explain the plot, and you can’t really blame me, considering even the director hasn’t been able to do that in his film.

Welcome, if you ask me, is a series of not-very-funny scenes strung together rather than a cohesive, coherent story. The screenplay – or rather the lack of it – can be blamed for the complete failure of this enterprise, which is amateurishly directed and for the most part, indifferently performed.

For some strange reason the “screwball comedy” genre ends up being misunderstood for “brainless entertainment”. Screwball comedy would mean films like It’s a Mad Mad Mad World which is slapstick yes, but well-written nonetheless.

Welcome is just brainless because nobody associated with the film seems to have used judgement, intelligence or even basic common sense while working on this picture.

As Uday Shetty, the underworld don with acting ambitions, Nana Patekar manages to raise a few laughs, but that’s mostly because he’s a terrific actor who can pull off poker-faced humour like few others can. Watch him in that scene in which he ends up doing over 50 takes for a horse-riding scene, or then that one in which he meets the heroine of his film for the first time – they’re two genuinely hilarious scenes, perhaps the only ones in this film.

Despite an ensemble cast that includes Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Mallika Sherawat, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Feroz Khan and Paresh Rawal. Welcome doesn’t have very much going for it because the gags have been done to death, and the actors don’t seem particularly inspired either. Very often, even an average comedy works because watching one with a group of friends turns out to be an enjoyable shared experience.

The same sadly cannot be said of Welcome – the only thing you share with your friends is disappointment because so many talented actors have been wasted in this film that doesn’t even have its basic plot in place.

Barring a few laughs here and there – most involving Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor’s characters – there’s little to appreciate in Welcome, not least that ridiculous climax in which some 20 characters are stuck in a house that’s tipping off a mountain. I wasn’t a big fan of the director’s last blockbuster comedyNo Entry, but even I have to admit that was marginally better than this one.

For the few stray moments of humour in this otherwise banal film, I’ll go with one out of five and a thumbs down for Anees Bazmee’s Welcome, there’s absolutely no reason you should torture yourself through this one. If you do end up enjoying it, I’ll pay your psychiatrist’s bill.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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