A bunch of actors get a paid vacation to London for Anees Bazmee’s Mubarakan, but only two of them really deserve the holiday. One is Anil Kapoor, looking more spry and enthusiastic than half the cast and completely at ease with the brash, loud and occasionally amusing comedy of errors that Bazmee is known for.
The other is Pavan Malhotra, who yells so loudly in every scene that he can surely be heard in outer space, but he deserves his holiday anyway because he is actually too good for this schtick.
The rest of the cast assemble and disperse when required, pull faces on demand, and try to keep up with the twists that Mubarakan’s writers conjure up at every bend because somebody on the production thought that it was a good idea to have a 156- minute movie about mixed identities.
There’s just about enough material here for a crisp comedy about twins who get engaged to each other’s girlfriends after a series of torturous events. Identical twins Karan and Charan (Arjun Kapoor) are brought up by different members of the family after their parents die in an accident. Their uncle Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor) causes further damage when he tries to ensure that Karan wins his girlfriend Sweety (Ileana D’Cruz) while Charan is married to Nafisa (Neha Sharma). When Charan falls for Binkle (Athiya Shetty), who is supposed to be engaged to Karan, Kartar has his work cut out for him.
There is little to tell the twins apart, apart from the fact that one wears a turban as per the Sikh faith and the other doesn’t. Arjun Kapoor, who proves the ancient Indian saying “Nepotism rocks”, lumbers through every one of his scenes. He is matched in his incompetence by Shetty and D’Cruz, and compared to them, Anil Kapoor looks like a thespian on loan from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Some scenes work better than others, especially the suggestion that Kartar Singh has created a mini-Punjab in London, right down to the sunflower fields. There’s also a British extra who plays one Jolly, Kartar Singh’s Punjabi-speaking house manager, who gets the laughs. It’s good of Jolly to have learnt the language that is second only to Hindi in Bollywood – this movie is actually in Punjabi, with Hindi thrown in.
The movie might have worked if it had been a non-stop comedy from start to finish, but Bazmee makes the mistake of trying to introduce sentimental scenes about family ties and estranged siblings. Anil Kapoor’s energy is almost infectious, but it doesn’t spread far enough.