Welcome To New York review: Not worth making this arduous journey of forced laughs

Release Date: 23 Feb 2018 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 04min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The film, starring Diljit Dosanjh and Sonakshi Sinha, is a failed experiment. 

The phrase ‘experimental cinema’ is generally used, especially in the Indian scenario, to describe unconventional films with no stars or the 'entertainment factor'. Such films are suited more for film festivals. But Chakri Toleti’s experiment, Welcome To New York, has popular stars with all the entertainment factors. The only and biggest problem is that it simply doesn’t entertain. Hence, this experiment fails and that too in 3D!

Welcome To New York revolves around the IIFA Awards 2017. Garry (Boman Irani), the head of the show organizer, wants to make it a hugely successful event. His subordinate (Lara Dutta) wants to quit the organizing committee, but is forced to stay by him. Not happy with the treatment meted out to her, she decides to tarnish the image of the show.

She does so by starting a contest through which two winners would get to showcase their skills at the IIFA in New York. She purposely chooses undeserving candidates like Tejinder aka Teji (Diljit Dosanjh), a recovery agent obsessed with becoming an actor, and Jeenal (Sonakshi Sinha), an amateur fashion designer. On the other hand, a gangster Arjun (Karan Johar) wants to destroy the host Karan Johar (himself) for personal reasons.  

The plot of Lara Dutta and Boman Irani's enmity is the major conflict in the story. However, it is devoid of any sense. After all, it's not a mafia circle that you cannot leave once you're in. And her ‘plan’ is also riddled with loopholes. The other conflict is about the gangster lookalike of Karan Johar.

These two tracks run erratically through the film, while the rest of the film is just a compilation of gags that fail to tickle your funny bone on most occasions. On a serious note, you can find better, funnier acts for free online or even on actual awards shows. Why should anyone visit a theatre to watch subpar content while paying a bomb for a ticket and snacks?

The few times when you actually laugh is during scenes between Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh (although a good portion of it is already shown in the promos). Perhaps they could have concentrated purely on the kind of sarcasm and self-deprecating humour displayed by the two in the film and made a spoof of a much lesser runtime and of course without the 3D. In fact, this might be the most needless use of 3D ever. The only time the effect is seen is when water is splashed after a car zooms on a wet road. Again, that hardly lasts for a second.

Riteish Deshmukh and Karan Johar

One would expect some chaos towards the end after the confusion reaches the pinnacle. But the film ends on a seriously thanda (cold) note. A major twist does happen during the ending moments, on the lines of Farhan Akhtar’s Don (2006). But that’s too little, too late.

Welcome To New York also hangs onto the age-old stereotypes for people belonging to Punjab and Gujarat. The cliched Punabi sounds of bhangra are played almost every time Diljit Dosanjh arrives on screen with chorus singers screaming 'Punjabi'. Apart from the reference to fafda (Gujarati dish), Sonakshi Sinha keeps musing over the ‘Kuchh din toh guzaro Gujarat mein’ advertisement. Needless to say, she mentions Modi a couple of times (we're not sure if she refers to Narendra, Lalit or Nirav).

The song ‘Nain Phisal Gaye’ comes as a welcome break. Sung by Payal Dev, the track is one of the rare entertaining moments here. So, you don’t mind to see it being played twice.

The performances suffer due to the content. Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh aren’t bad. They try their best, but are also affected by the treatment. Lara Dutta goes into the skin of a negative character. The flaw in her storyline, however, doesn’t let you notice it. The rest of the actors are just playing themselves.

Karan Johar displays his excellent comic timing here and there. But he is more convincing as himself in his TV chat show. His act as Arjun also appears forced. He is surely capable of much more as we recently saw in Bombay Velvet (2015). Boman Irani is also not at his usual best.

Riteish Deshmukh is the most convincing of the lot. Salman Khan, Sushant Singh Raput, Aditya Roy Kapur, Rana Daggubati and the few other actors look completely disinterested in their cameos. You should be disinterested in this film too!