‘Guddu Rangeela’…Faded patches

MUMBAI: Subhash Kapoor’s last film was Jolly LLB, which was enjoyable and hence quite a success. Being a journalist operating in North India before he got down to making films, with his latest, Guddu Rangeela, he tries to cash in on his experience. He blends the subject of Khap panchayats with comedy. But the theme of Khap soon overshadows comedy as the film progresses. The problem is that while Jolly LLB had identification for many and where Arshad Warsi, the protagonist, was supported by two great performers in Saurabh Shukla and Boman Irani, here Arshad is left to fend for himself. Khap is not a matter the general public either identifies with or cares for.

Arshad and Amit Sadh are petty conmen. They earn their bread performing modern bhajans like ‘Mata ka email…’ at people’s houses. On the side, they add butter to their bread by acting as informers for robbers, giving them information about the financial standing of big shots at whose homes they perform. However, Arshad’s need for money is greater than his main client pays him and he sells the same information to three gangs of robbers. He gets into trouble with all of them.

The money Arshad needs is for a court battle he is fighting against Ronit Roy, a Khap leader and a local MLA. It turns out that Arshad had married a girl, Shriswara, from a Khap based community and both were shot at by Ronit. While Arshad survived, his Shriswara was assumed to be dead. Arshad had an axe to grind with Ronit and the Khap. What is strange is that, while Ronit advocates the cause of Khap he has himself married outside his community!

Guddu Rangeela gets multi-layered here on in. The duo of Arshad and Amit are talked into kidnapping Aditi Rao Hyderi. It turns out that Aditi is the sister in law of Ronit and she also wants to get even with Ronit for killing his wife and Aditi’s sister.

Halfway through, the film turns into a revenge drama. While Arshad, Amit and Aditi use wit and wisdom, Ronit counts on his might. After all, he is known as the pehelwan by people. And, sadly, things become predictable from this point. Both sides concerned keep challenging each other while playing cat and mouse games. But, villains always have an ace hidden up their sleeve. Shriswara is reincarnated; she did not die of her bullet wound after all and was spared death by Ronit. Arshad has to come out and face Ronit if he wants his wife back!

The climax takes place in a stone quarry, the kind seen very often before where, in the final bout of hand to hand fight, Arshad takes down the mighty Ronit.

The film tries to cram in many angles failing to stick to one agenda for its hero. Direction lacks a purpose. Turning Arshad into an angry man from petty conman using his wit to survive does not work. It does not help as Arshad carries the same look he did in his earlier films. Amit is okay as Arshad’s sidekick. Ronit Roy wears the same stern look throughout like a mask. Rajendra Kala is good as usual. Shriswara has little to do. Aditi is the only one who comes up with a decent performance. The film has a popular number in ‘Mata ka email…’ while ‘Sooyian…’ is appealing.

Guddu Rangeela brings no relief for cinema chains starved of strong content.

Producer: Sangeeta Ahir.

Director: Subhash Kapoor.

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Amit Sadh, Aditi Rao Hyderi, Ronit Roy, Shriswara, Amit Sial, Rajendra Kala.

‘Second Hand Husband’...Third rate idea!

Second Hand Husband has ‘enthusiastic new producers’ written all over it. Since the inception of filmmaking, there have always been people drawn by the glamour of the films and wanting to belong. The film would be called a half-baked idea even in the last century. The film’s only USP is that it stars Dharmendra who still enjoys a fair amount of goodwill and, hence, some following. 

Dharmendra owns a four star-hotel, is married to Rati Agnihotri but is childless, and is a compulsive flirt besides being a drunkard. Gippy Grewal is the manager at Dharmendra’s hotel and, often, his drinking partner. Gippy is a divorcee and is now planning to marry Tina Ahuja. However, the impediment is a court ruling according to which he is supposed to pay an alimony of rupees 30,000 to his ex-wife, Geeta Basra, out of his monthly salary of 45,000. His prospective in-laws don’t mind him being a divorcee but want him to earn enough to support their daughter and his wife-to-be.

Gippy pleads with Geeta to be generous and reduce her alimony so that he can marry Tina. Geeta is not game for this idea. Realising that he has to pay alimony only till Geeta marries again, he gets after finding a match for her. The basic idea may sound similar to a 1979 film starring Amol Palekar where a hypochondriac Amol thinks he is about to die and seeks his friend’s help to find another man for his wife, Ranjeeta Kaur, so that she is not lonely after he is gone.

A lot of footage is spent chasing guys who are rejected by Geeta or vice versa.

Now comes the time to bring Dharmendra into the story. He is caught flirting with Deepshikha by his wife Rati. Her brother Mukesh Tiwari and sister-in-law, Supriya Karnik, suggest she divorce Dharmendra. Gippy realises that a divorced Dharmendra would be an ideal match for Deepshikha: He is rich, generous and emotional. And Deepshikha is totally sold on the idea of handsome, rich, and generous Dharmendra as her second husband. So what if he is much older to her?  He and Tina get working on Dharmendra, a man who also loves his wife Rati very much, but cannot hold himself back from flirting.

Gippy, meanwhile, is also trying to fix up Rati with Vijay Raaz, a local cop, so that she learns to forget about Dharmendra (now that is in poor taste and belittles the very idea of matchmaking!). But, divorce is not for everybody so Dharmendra and Rati reach an out of court compromise after both blaming each other but also realising they are still very much in love.

The film has an amateur story with script and direction to match. It could have at best been an amateur stage play at school level albeit with diluted theme. Dharmendra still looks his debonair self. Gippy fits the ’pind da puttar’ image. Tina is not born to be an actor. Ravi Kishan pretends to be a loudspeaker; he keeps yelling even within earshot. Geeta needs to try a few more expressions next time. Rati is okay.

Second Hand Husband is for Dharmendra fans, whatever a few are still around.

Producers: Iqbal Singh, Palwinder Singh, Manwinder Singh, Gurvinder Singh.

Director: Smeep Kang.

Cast: Dharmendra, Gippy Grewal, Tina Ahuja, Geeta Basra, Deepshikha, Vijay Raaz, Mukesh Tiwari, Ravi Kissen. 

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