Anees Bazmee’s Welcome Back aspires to be nothing more “timepass”, that untranslatable Indianism that makers of comedy films believe is greater praise than a five-star review.

The film doesn’t let you forget that it is a sequel to the 2007 hit Welcome – flashbacks re-run the best gags from the original, and cue the back stories of the key characters. As if to add to the sequel’s cheerful acknowledgement of its own anything-goes messiness, there are flashbacks to events that took place only a few minutes ago.

Partly inspired by the Hollywood film Mickey Blue Eyes, the original Welcome saw Dubai gangster Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) and his henchman and best friend Majnu (Anil Kapoor) tie themselves into knots while trying to marry off Uday’s step-sister to the only decent bloke in the entire city.

Many of the characters from Welcome have returned, as has the director’s penchant for lining up more sub-plots than the screenplay can handle. Welcome Back sees Uday and Majnu losing their hearts to seductress Chandni (Ankita Srivastava), whose tiny clothes and ample make-up signal this movie’s old-fashioned disregard for political correctness. 

Meanwhile, Uday discovers that he has yet another step-sister, Ranjana (Shruti Haasan), who is in love with Mumbai’s most feared gangster Ajju (John Abraham). Ajju is the step-son of Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal), whose hapless antics provided the original with many of its laughs. Dubai’s most feared gangster Wanted (Naseeruddin Shah) has a junkie son (Shiney Ahuja) who is obsessed with Ranjana. There’s also Chandni’s mother (Dimple Kapadia), who is hatching her own plan to diddle Uday and Majnu out of their wealth.

The screenplay is neatly diced and sliced into scenes that can be plucked out of context and run independently of each other. Raaj Shandilya’s street-level dialogue has the potential to be the stuff of WhatsApp forwards for many weeks to come, while Patekar, Kapoor and Rawal ham loudly and happily to hilarious effect. In his effort to stretch the plot, Bazmee exploits the hospitality of the Dubai government to the maximum and lines up a glorious collection of garish mansions and villas.

Some of it is knee-slapping fun, some of it tedious, and much of it disposable. Uday Shetty sums up the movie’s intent perfectly in the climactic sequence: as if we haven’t had enough, we have to now to endure a storm. Fortunately at this point, somebody on the production ran out of money and patience.