Mumbai, 24 Nov 2017 20:32 IST
Pahlaj Nihalani's return to the world of Hindi cinema turns out to be unintentionally hilarious.
Pahlaj Nihalani produced quite a few duds in the 1990s and early 2000s. Aag Ka Gola (1990), Andaz (1994), Bhai Bhai (1997) and Talaash: The Hunt Begins (2003) were some of them. With Julie 2, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) ex-chairman returns to Hindi cinema as 'presenter'. But, to put it simply, the Deepak Shivdasani directorial, the Hindi launch pad for Southern actress Raai Laxmi, makes those Nihalani duds look like gems.
Julie 2 revolves around Julie (Raai Laxmi), a young woman who lives with her single mother and dreams of becoming a top actress. Given the industry's reputation and the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she is asked to 'compromise'. She manages to get a break without doing so. But circumstances conspire to ultimately make her a victim of the infamous casting couch.
Julie becomes a big star. Then, one day, as she enters a jewellery store, she gets shot in a robbery.
Julie (2004) was about a prostitute who falls in love but whose boyfriend and his family are unaware of her profession. Julie 2 is more in the Madhur Bhandarkar zone with a young woman being forced to compromise to rise in the world of glamour. Such tales have been explored innumerable times in films. That is not the problem. The issue is writer-director Shivdasani’s strict adherence to silliness while narrating the story.
Julie’s life is full of tragedy but, as the audience, we feel not an iota of sympathy for her. The initial atrocity she faces is presented in an immature manner. Later, when she is forced to compromise, there is no focus on the emotional impact on her.
To make matters worse,the film is riddled with childish and unintentionally funny sequences that speak volumes for the content. Here are some of them:
- In her entry scene, Julie wakes up in the morning and straightaway exclaims, “I am the best!” Seriously?
- Normally, in a jewellery store robbery sequence, the culprits hold the owners and staff at gunpoint and gather stuff. Here, they just fire hundreds of rounds indiscriminately. And the police officer handling the case does not find it odd.
- The officer is played by Aditya Srivastava, popular as Abhijeet in the long-running TV series CID. He has a more substantial role than Laxmi in the film, but he just repeats his TV act.
- One of his dialogues is: “Yeh dhai kilo ka nahin dhai foot ka haath hai.” Eh?
- To solve the case, the officer makes his caretaker narrate Julie's life story. The things writers do to forcibly bring in a flashback.
- The shocking news of a top-ranking actress being shot is presented by a news anchor in the most casual manner.
- It is so easy to walk into the ICU of a five-star hospital where a patient lies in critical condition and fool around with her oxygen mask.
- Three men enter Julie’s life at different points and vanish soon after. This has hardly anything to do with the main story.
To be fair, Raai Laxmi possesses acting chops and looks pretty. If only she had chosen a better script for her Hindi film debut.
Pankaj Tripathi, who has been in terrific form this year, is the best of the lot. But you do wonder how he ended up in this disaster.
The veteran Rati Agnihotri overdoes her part. Nishikant Kamat looks awkward as Laxmi’s love interest. Ravi Kishan is miscast as a South star.