Cast: Pulkit Samrat, Ali Fazal, Varun Sharma, Manjot Singh
Director: Mrighdeep Singh Lamba
It’s a familiar set-up. Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chadda) is out of the jail to make life difficult for the four boys who conned her in the original, Fukrey (2013). They are still in the lottery business, thanks to Chu Cha’s (Varun Sharma) prophecies and Honey’s (Pulkit Samrat) unique calculation technique. They rub a Delhi politician Babulal Bhatia (Rajiv Gupta) the wrong way and now they have to pay for it.
The element of innocence that made Fukrey an endearing watch is completely missing in the sequel. The basic idea of Chu Cha being absurdly funny worked. Chu Cha, and to some extent Honey, were charming because they believed they are doing the right thing even if their actions looked totally misplaced. The audience accepted it as the mistakes of youth.
Now, they have been there in the same zone for some time. They are supposed to grow as characters. The depth in the characters should be visible. The Delhi slang or just acting slow isn’t enough. The only thing which could have covered for it was the fluidity of the story. But they don’t get that either.
Blame it on the success of the original, or the four-year-gap between the two films, Fukrey Returns isn’t even a patch on the original. Not that Fukrey was the greatest comedy ever made, but it was fresh. The audience enjoyed shy Lali’s (Manjot Singh) crush on his teacher, and even two school bumpkins’ ambitions of attending college.
Fukrey was about the dreams you’re provoked to see by the liberal economy. If others can have the liberty to choose a profession of their choice then why can’t Zafar (Ali Fazal)! In fact, from Bholi Punjaban to Pandit Ji (Pankaj Tripathi), everybody was contributing to the big, urban dream. They didn’t mind their methods; all they wanted was their share in the money pie.
That delusional attitude created humour. Remember the character who stole the tyres of Lali’s bike? He turned out to be rich in the end and everything he did through the film began to look like a bizarre joke.
The new film misses such elements.
The problem amplifies with stretched, half-baked characters. Richa Chadda was an integral part of Fukrey, but this time she is trying too hard to snatch the focus from Chu Cha, the pivot of the story. The only actor who shines despite limited chances is Pankaj Tripathi. His obsession with English can make you laugh, but then the film is not about him either.
The film doesn’t belong to anybody. Fukrey touched the raw nerve of a number of youths because they also fancied the idea of making quick money at a similar stage in life. It also highlighted the moral tussle without being too much in our face. These things together created a conflict which absorbed us.
Watch: Our Facebook Live on Fukrey Returns
On the contrary, Fukrey Returns tries too hard to go the thriller way. It’s much more ‘heroic’ than what the audience expected Chu Cha and his group to be.
It’s mostly a rehash of Fukrey. Ironically, the parts which are introduced in the new film work better. For example, the guy who dives in Yamuna for money gets immediately noticed. Unfortunately, such plots don’t get much play.
The bromance between Honey and Chu Cha works initially and then turns out to be an irritating ritual. Between Fukrey and Fukrey Returns, Pulkit Samrat and his friends have lost their innocence and have become really dim-witted.
Fukrey Returns is a tedious 141-minute watch which is unfunny, unintelligent and repetitive.
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