Arjun Patiala has some good jokes – but half of them were in the trailer.

What’s left? Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh is his usual pleasant self as he attempts yet again to broaden his base and convince Hindi audiences of his low-key charm. Dosanjh doesn’t set the screen on fire in his films but he never leaves it in tatters either. He is nicely cast as the titular hero, who dreams of joining the Punjab Police and manages to get in on a sports quota.

There’s little else to recommend in Rohit Jugraj’s film, written by Ritesh Shah and Sandeep Leyzell. Varun Sharma’s comic timing is spot-on but overly familiar. Take him out of this movie and put him in another and you wouldn’t get anything different. Meanwhile, the other prominent cast members, Ronit Roy, Seema Pahwa, and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, have little to do.

Arjun isn’t a real person, nor is Sharma’s Onidda (named after the television model) or Kriti Sanon’s investigative journalist Ritu (the movie’s biggest joke). They are characters in a film within the film that is being narrated by an aspiring director to a producer. Why bother telling me about the script, asks the producer, played by Pankaj Tripathi. I have been making films for three generations and have never once heard a script. Finally, a good joke that isn’t in the trailer.

After all has been done, and Dosanjh’s Arjun Patiala has cleansed his precinct of criminals by setting them up against each other and waltzed off into a paratha-shaped sunset with Sanon’s Ritu, the producer’s assistant asks, will it work? Not on the strength of the humour, of which there isn’t enough for even a 106-minute movie. In trying to send up Bollywood cliches, Arjun Patiala becomes yet another Bollywood cliche itself.

Arjun Patiala (2019).