Ashwni Dhir’s sequel to the hit comedy Athithi Tum Kab Jaaoge? (2010) has an extra ‘I’ in the title for luck. The movie needs a lot of it.
In Guest Iin London, Aryan (Karthik Aaryan) and Anaya (Kirti Kharbanda) are about to enter a marriage of convenience that will allow Aryan to stay on in the United Kingdom. The unexpected arrival of the tenants of a relative threatens to imperil the arrangement until the couple realises that it might work in their favour to have Gangaram (Paresh Rawal) and Guddi (Tanvi Azmi) as their house guests.
Paresh Rawal plays a Punjabi version of his Teflon-coated moocher from Athithi Tum Kab Jaaoge? Unable to take a hint or resist airing his opinions without need or provocation, Gangaram is the nightmare visitor that everybody has endured – the proverbial camel’s nose. Gangaram and Guddi take over the couple’s kitchen, bedroom and garden and befriend their Pakistani neighbour Habib (Sanjay Mishra) – a heavily stereotyped character who is an excuse to make anti-Pakistani jokes.
Before long, Gangaram is giving Aryan and the British-bred Anaya lessons in Indian culture, clothing, cuisine and digestive practices. When a movie uses flatulence for humour, it is clear that the bar is set very low.
This is the kind of movie that seems to be playing out in Ludhiana rather than London. Vast portions of the dialogue are in Punjabi. Wherever the characters turn, they run into other Indians. Hindi cinema is overpopulated with Indians who embarrass fellow citizens by behaving badly in public places, and Guest Iin London should serve as a warning to visa departments the world over.
The loud humour and acting spare nobody, not even Habib’s baby from his inter-racial marriage, which is given an oil massage by Guddi so that it can become fair-skinned. Dhir’s screenplay is blind to its egregiousness, just like Gangaram and Guddi are unable to see that rather than being a pushy yet old-fashioned and ultimately loving couple, they are merely painful pile-ons.
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