Pagalpanti: Takes audience for granted

Aneez Bazmee has given us many enjoyable comic capers over the years like No Entry, Welcome and Singh is Kinng. Even his previous release Mubarakan was passable. The basic rule while watching mindless comedies is the clichéd, ‘keep your brains at home’. This genre works as an escapist fare, a comic relief from the everyday tensions that life is bound to give us. Bazmee’s latest venture in slapstick comedy is Pagalpanti, which as the name suggests, (an attempt at making) a madcap comedy.

Raj (John Abraham) is touted to be a person who brings bad luck on everyone and everything around him. To prove the case in point, the PNB bank where he finds work gets bankrupt on the very first day due to a scam by businessman Niraj Modi. Sounds familiar? Raj then goes to London to meet up with his friends Chandu (Arshad Warsi) and Chunky (Pulkit Samrat).

Out of cash and pretty much jobless, the three friends then get hired by a couple of wacky goons, Raja (Saurabh Shukla) and WiFi Bhai (Anil Kapoor) who are Jija-Saala (brother-in-laws) by relation. Things go from bad to worse with a series of loony sequences and then we get to see Niraj Modi in action. Amidst all this mess, the film also has its three lead heroines decking up as eye candy and then uttering some of the worst dialogues that you can think of in the modern era.

It’s alright for Bazmee to expect the audience to not use their brains while watching such a film, given that it’s only intended to be a mindless entertainer. The problem is that Bazmee and his co-writers overdo this theory and take the audience for granted.

Nothing about Pagalpanti works. The basic premise had some scope for situational humor but the comedy scenes look extremely forced and the jokes are quite outdated. There is a reasonable ensemble in the film’s cast including Anil Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla, both of whom are renowned for acing this genre. However, such is the shoddy nature of the script and dialogues that even the duo can’t do much.

As for the protagonists, John Abraham clearly looks out-of-place in a comedy as he tries just too hard. Pulkit Samrat has a boyish charm and does seem to fit in the madness but has an under-written role that doesn’t demand much of him. It’s the seasoned Arshad Warsi who is comparatively better but like the other senior artistes in the film, his impact is also nullified due to the poor script.

If the male actors themselves look downright silly in such a film, can we expect the actresses to be any better? After all, such out-and-out commercial films don’t usually have well fleshed out roles for heroines. Of the three lead actresses, Ileana still has something to do but she along with Kriti Kharbanda and Urvashi Rautela have poorly sketched characters that utter cringe-worthy dialogues. While hearing some of them, I was wondering if they didn’t try hearing themselves speak before delivering those lines.

Bazmee’s films hardly have a storyline but they are known to be engaging and entertaining. Pagalpanti is neither, and ends up as a major disappointment. The film does have some good, hummable music though.

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