David Dhawan can be credited with elevating the irreverent and guileless streetsmart Mumbai layabout to Hindi film hero status. While angry and intense young men continued to be cast as heroes in the 1990s, Dhawan, along with the support of the genius Govinda, gave us another option – the unapologetically silly and always-ready-to-burst-into-a-jig leading man who fought and romanced passionately without taking himself seriously.
Judwaa 2, starring Varun Dhawan in a double role, continues the tradition.
One of a pair of identical male twins born to the Malhotras (Sachin Khedekar and Prachi Shah) is kidnapped from his hospital crib. Prem (Varun Dhawan) is brought up in London by his parents, while Raja (Dhawan again) is raised by a fisherwoman in Mumbai.
Prem grows up to be a timid musician, while Raja is an outrageous flirt. Prem is paired with Samara (Taapsee Pannu) while Raja bumps into Alishka (Jacqueline Fernandez) on a flight. The men are twinned by reflexes, meaning that when one performs an action, the other does so too, leading to loads of confusion and giving the script the required meat. (The plot borrows many of its basic ideas from the 1992 Jackie Chan comedy Twin Dragons).
If you discount the costumes and the slick production design and camerawork, the movie offers absolutely no novelty. The story and treatment are still stuck in the 1990s, when the original film Judwaa (starring Salman Khan and released in 1997) was made. The screenplay doesn’t allow itself to venture too far away from the original, as though worried it won’t find its way back. Even two of Anu Malik’s foot-tapping hits from the original, Aati Hai Kya Nau Se Baarah and Lift Teri Band Hai have been remixed for the new version.
Even so, Judwaa 2 keeps you entertained. Sajid-Farhad, master writers in the silly dialogue department, come up with numerous chuckle-worthy gags. One won’t be surprised if lines such as “Dua me aur muah me yaad rakhna” survive long after the movie has disappeared from the theatres.
The film is intended for and belongs to Varun Dhawan. He clearly enjoys what he is doing and shines in both the roles. He has clearly worked hard at keeping the characters different from each other. However, the heroines are ornamental and embarrassingly tolerant of the blatant sexism by the men they adore. Both Pannu and Fernandez look gorgeous, wear teensy-weensy clothes, giggle a lot and serve their intended purpose. The film has too many characters floating around without justifying their presence. Johnny Lever, Anupam Kher, Pawan Malhotra, and Manoj Joshi are largely wasted.