‘Pagalpanti’ movie review: Slapstick patriotism with a disconnected script

‘Pagalpanti’: A script that seems to have been built entirely on disconnected sequences that play out in random spaces   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

If John Abraham is there, can the mandatory, righteous patriotic feeling be far behind? So even in a supposed comedy about three crooks, two dons, assorted goons and lots and lots of money, there has to be a token scene that plays on desh (nation) and doori (distance). About how you may have travelled far from the country but it still resides in your heart. NRIs, are you listening? These virtuous emotions are tapped on, in a London setting, and are rounded off with a new rendition of an old song: “Dil diya hai jaan bhi denge aye watan tere liye”. Very noble, but entirely peripheral to what had been happening on screen till then; slipped in like an afterthought, an obligatory call of the times.

In fact, the script seems to have been built entirely on disconnected sequences that play out in random spaces: some slapstick involving glue on a moving truck, an item song (and more) in a haunted angrezi haveli, a prolonged, failed attempt to get a bank cheque signed on a hospital bed. In the process new characters (and three lions too) keep getting added as some older ones get disregarded and then suddenly brought back to the script when the writer (is there one?) realises that he had by mistake forgotten all about them. In the process the film goes on and on even as the audience keeps getting desperate for a closure.

  • Director: Anees Bazmee
  • Starring: John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Ileana D’Cruz, Kriti Kharbanda, Pulkit Samrat, Brijendra Kala, Inaamulhaq
  • Run time: 165 minutes
  • Storyline: You shouldn’t ask because we are still trying to search for it in the mess on screen

And yet, in the hands of someone sensible director, in these times of Nirav Modi and the PMC Bank fraud case, this could have become a fairly decent satire. But that’s like asking for the moon and wishing Anees Bazmee was Kundan Shah.

Every single actor seems to be overly conscious of the fact that she/he is in a comedy so they have to make people laugh somehow. The desperation shows on some and the other seasoned ones like Anil Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla look disinterested and mechanical. The only one who manages to hold interest to an extent is Inaamulhaq, but, like the film and everything else about it, even he and his character overstay the welcome.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 1:39:00 AM |

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