Review

Guest iin London review: Paresh Rawal, Kartik Aaryan's comedy is a whole lot of gas

Release Date: 07 Jul 2017 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 18min


Cinestaan Rating

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Shriram Iyengar

Ashwni Dhir's film is riddled with poor screenplay, poor fart jokes, and an erratic storyline that stretches beyond purpose.

There is a very thin line when it comes to jokes in cinema about intestinal gas emissions, and few have managed to walk it successfully. Ashwni Dhir's Guest iin London breaks any and all previous mores and ventures further into fart territory than its unrelated Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? (2010). Sadly, just as the makers had claimed, the two films are miles apart.

The film begins with Aryan (Kartik Aaryan) getting into a fake marriage with cab-driver Anaya (Kriti Kharbanda) to get residency in the United Kingdom. Their only trouble — a nosey Pakistan-born cop (Sanjay Mishra), who also happens to be their neighbour. While they are looking for a way out while keeping up appearances, there arrive the mysterious neighbours of their uncle from Punjab, Chacha and Chachi (Paresh Rawal and Tanvi Azmi). As the bard said, therein lies the rub.

Paresh Rawal as the loudmouthed, fart-happy (not like the first film?) Punjabi is hilarious in parts. The actor's unfamiliarity with the Punjabi accent and style shows, but he still manages to evoke some laughs. Not just him, even the usually perfect Tanvi Azmi looks out of place as the demure but spunky Punjabi Chachi. Sanjay Mishra bears the brunt of all 'Pakistani' jokes in the film, including a terrible accent. Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Kharbanda are decent but lack the charm or the ability to deliver the emotional parts in the latter half of the movie.

The film does have its moments. Some of the one-liners are worth a couple of chuckles. However, Ashwni Dhir and Robin Bhatt's screenplay tends to overuse them and stretch them beyond bearable limits. The plot itself is riddled with loopholes. How a struggling IT professional and a cabbie manage to rent a two-bed cottage in quite a posh neighbourhood is a miracle. The other miracle is love. The sudden denouement from faking a marriage to going along with the newly arrived guests to create a traditional Indian wedding, on the scale of a Karan Johar film, is baffling.

The marriage also suddenly turns Kharbanda's independent, cab-driving, drinking girl in London into an 'adarsh' bahu who takes off her drunk husband's shoes, cooks kheer to get some shagun, and visits the gurdwara. Harry Potter's transformation after the Polyjuice potion took more time! Even more miraculous is the couple's sudden distaste of the new relatives, whom they have come to accept as quasi-parents, to the extent of abandoning them.

While the scenes are interspersed with some hilarious accidents that try to pass on some message on Indian 'sanskar', the film's length (138 minutes) is far too long to bear the weight of its dead jokes. Not even the 'surprise' appearance of Ajay Devgn (still not connected to the first film?) at the end is no reprieve.

The jokes, meanwhile, are another misery to bear. While the film starts with the usual comedy of an Indian middle-aged couple struggling to adjust to the ways of 'phoren', they get too stale too quickly. Somehow, no amount of insults to Pakistan can amount to being 'offensive', simply because it is Pakistan. Speaking of offence, may the writer who came up with the idea of a ghazal written on farts, using it as an analogy to embroider everything from sexism, racism, and even war, be visited by the angry ghosts of Faiz, Ghalib and Iqbal.

As if that weren't enough, there is the embarrassment of the big emotional moment in the film's climax comparing human love to 'Tommy' love. The least they could have done was remained human in their analogies.

In all, Ashwni Dhir's film, like its guests, overstays its welcome. It has enough quips to make an average 30-minute comic skit. But stretched over a period of two hours, it becomes tedious. As for the review, the latest Nobel laureate for Literature once wrote 'The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.'