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Judwaa 2

Rating: 2

September 29, 2017

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Tapsee Pannu, Rajpal Yadav, Vivaan Bhatena, Upasana Singh, Anupam Kher, Sachin Khedekar, Manoj Pahwa

Director: David Dhawan

Judwaa 2 starring Varun Dhawan is a remake of the Salman Khan hit Judwaa from 1997, which itself was a remake of the Telugu film Hello Brother starring Nagarjuna from 1994, which incidentally, was inspired by the Jackie Chan film Twin Dragons from 1992. So it’s a story that’s been in circulation for nearly 25 years, and I’m afraid it hasn’t aged very well.

There was an innocence and naivete that Salman Khan and director David Dhawan brought to the admittedly pedestrian plot involving a pair of lookalike twins separated at birth. But the same ideas feel jaded now. David, who has directed the new film too, does a mostly copy-paste job without making allowances for changing times and tastes.

Varun plays Prem, the mild-mannered, straitlaced one raised in London, and also Raja, the tapori from a fishing colony in Mumbai, whose fists fly as fast as his tongue. Varun’s got terrific timing, but his crotch-adjusting Raja, frankly a pervert if he can’t walk away from the sight of a woman’s butt without slapping it, belongs in the 90s and should’ve stayed there.

There are other things too that are decidedly out of place in 2017. The sexist portrayal of the film’s female characters for one. Jacqueline Fernandez and Tapsee Pannu show up strictly to giggle, shake a leg when required, and to be forcibly kissed by the hero. Tapsee still does the best she can with the part, but there’s just so little to work with. Equally troubling is Upasana Singh’s character, the sort of mother that’s basically pimping her daughter to the rich, eligible bachelor. She’s routinely referred to as ‘buddhi’, ‘khatara gaadi’ and other such ageist names.

Everything about Judwaa 2 – from the treatment to the one-liners – has a distinctly outdated feel to it. But it’s also true that some of the gags work. Much of that is because of the heavy lifting left to Varun Dhawan, who knows how to make a joke land. His cocky lafanga character Raja – squeezed into very tight tees, and satin shirts when he isn’t stripped down to his boxers showing off his abs – is unmistakably evocative of Salman in the earlier film.

There’s no question that if there had to be a remake of Judwaa, it had to have Varun Dhawan. The more important question is – did there really have to be a remake of Judwaa in the first place?

I’m going with two out of five. I laughed a few times.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

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