A rustic comedy and a thriller fail to lift spirits this week

Baadshaho………..Poor show

Baadshaho is an action heist film which bases its story in the period after the declaration of the National Emergency in 1975. However for its plot, it takes its inspiration from various English as well as Hindi films where a bunch of daredevils are assigned to hijack an armoured truck full of royal treasure.

A person, a lookalike of Sanjay Gandhi, is at a party. Also present is the princess, Ileana D’Cruz, of some place in Rajasthan. The privy purses have been withdrawn and now the source of sustenance for the princess is the treasure her ancestors gathered during their reign.

The Sanjay lookalike has a eye on Ileana and when he makes his advances, she stops him cold by pulling out a family sword.

The Emergency has been declared and it is time for the bad man to seek his revenge. He orders an army officer to confiscate all of Ileana’s family treasure and also arrest her on the grounds that she failed to declare her assets.

Ileana has a personal bodyguard, Ajay Devgn, who earlier served under her father and who is the only person her father trusted. She romances Ajay to make doubly sure he remains loyal to her. She asks him to save her treasure which is being transferred in a fool-proof armoured military truck to the bad man’s personal collection.

Ajay forms a group of four. He enlists Emraan Hashmi and Sanjay Mishra, an expert at opening any safe. The fourth in the group is Esha Gupta, Ileana’s friend.

All this seems very exciting but the dull part starts when the four get into planning the heist. Ajay and his gang has to contend with men from the army no less, and they have assigned their best commando, Vidyut Jamwal, to protect and deliver the treasure-laden truck to the baddie in Delhi.

What follows is a chase through the deserted roads of Rajasthan as Ajay, Emraan, Esha and Mishra get in the act to hijack the truck. There are some stunts and some gunfights before they take hold of the truck. The chase has now reverses with Ajay and his group being chased by Jamwal and his men to regain control of the truck. Some more action and some hand-to-hand fight and the final deceit—as Ajay was not the only one Ileana was romancing.

The story is not convincing and the screenplay is too loose. An action-adventure film needs tense moments which are lacking. Even during the Emergency, one does not expect the army to help a politician, howsoever powerful, to steal somebody’s treasure. And, that an army commando on duty should be leading the theft. The direction lacks the slickness of a usual Luthria film. The film has thankfully avoided too many songs. An old Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan number, Mere Rashke Qamar….has been put to good use here. Cinematography is good but the climax action shot in desert amid a dust storm makes it impossible to see who is fighting who.

Performance wise, the film is lacking as Ajay Devgn looks mechanical while Emraan is little better. Sanjay Mishra is good as usual. Jamwal dons a wig as big as a helmet and has none of his signature bare-chested fights. Esha Gupta adds the necessary glam angle. Ileana D’Cruz does not fill the personality of a royal.

Baadshaho is a poor film with some appeal for single screen and poor prospects as a whole.

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Kishan Kumar, Milan Luthria.

Director: Milan Luthria.

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta, Ileana D’Cruz, Vidyut Jamwal, Sanjay Mishra.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan………..The title warns!

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is one more romantic comedy set in UP. The arranged marriages are said to tie two families and the extended families are meant to respect each other while also maintaining a kind of distance. The families in this film are a bit different.

In an effort to give a purpose to the story, the film’s main theme is erectile dysfunction. Ayushman Khurrana is an engineering diploma holder working somewhere in the NCR. He has taken a liking to Bhumi Pednekar and stalks her every day. Yet, he stops short of approaching her and striking up a conversation. Bhumi, on her part, is pleased that a presentable young man is interested in her and, every day, when Ayushman stalks her, she expects him to come and break the ice.

Finally, when he gathers courage to approach her, a bear from a roadside madari clings to his leg and his mission remains incomplete. The family may look traditional but their thinking is quite contemporary. On his mother’s advice, Ayushman sends a marriage proposal online to Bhumi.

Both families are happy at the prospects of the wedding of their respective wards. A video conference between both families finalises the rishta.

Bhumi is happy and  yet disappointed at the sudden development. She did not plan on a sudden arranged marriage. She dreamt of romance; to meet Ayushman, go through the whole process and the excitement of courting, the SMS, the late night chats, before marrying.

The couple now plans to make up on the romance before the wedding date. And, one fine evening, both get excited and plan to celebrate their honeymoon not waiting for the wedding. To their disappointment, Ayushman realizes that he is not quite up to it (a bit late at age 26). He has a problem of erectile dysfunction. Looks like, he cannot get excited enough. Ayushman tries all the quacks and Bangalibabas to no avail.

Ayushman is not sure about getting into matrimony anymore but Bhumi is determined. Her contention is that the duo can do a lot of things so what if there is no sex. Soon, Ayushman’s problem is known to everybody. The rest of the film tries to thrive on that but does not quite manage it. For the sake of comedy, the girl’s and boy’s parents trade blames, exchange insults, stopping just short of coming to blows.

The writers seem to be in a hurry to introduce the erectile dysfunction angle and see the whole film through on that ‘ace’ in their script. So, that happens soon into the film even before the plot develops or before whiling away some footage on romance, song and dance.

The erectile problem should have served its purpose had it been introduced best at the break of the first half. For, after springing early, there is nothing left to lift the film. The comedy situations are forced and you do not know who is doing what and to what end! The outcome is a farce.

There is nothing much to say about the performances of the lead pair, Ayushman

Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar. The supporting cast has some talented lot who give a good account of themselves. Direction is below par. The film is only 105 minutes in duration but, lacking substance, seems too long. Cinematography is okay. Musically, Kanha….has some appeal. Dialogues provide some pleasant moments at times.

Opened with poor response, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan offers little in the name of comedy.

Producers: Aanand L Rai, Krishika Lulla.

Director: R S Prasanna.

Cast: Ayushman Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Brijendra Kala.

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