By By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
O Romeo where art thou?! Shakespeare would've looked desperately for his lovelorn hero in the frizzy folds of this farcical comedy where the arch-villain calls himself Romeo. And no, the moll isn't named Juliet. Thank God for small missies!
On the thematic level this is a clever public-pleasing idea. A rustic boorish Jaat chases his chief adversary all the way from his village in Punjab to New York. What follows should have been a non-stop laugh riot. Unfortunately director Rahul Rawail seems to think a great idea is all that he needed to make his leading man rise and shine in a droll design. Undoubtedly Sunny Deol is in his element playing the dim-witted but street -wise Jaat cop in New York, using his native cunning and his mother's (Surekha Sikri) babbling blessings to get the better of a cluster of embarrassing nerdy New Yorkers, including a bunch of inept FBI guys who behave more like junior artistes in a skit on post-colonial vendetta than a satire on the Indian in blunderland. And you really can't blame Sunny Deol for doing the blunder-wonder-thunder act with less gusto than expected. The script and dialogues let him down most of the time.
Sanjay Chhel's dialogues are surprisingly tepid. Newcomer Shilpi (playing an under-dressed FBI agent who keeps pulling the gun on Deol with phallic aggression) growls menacingly when the jumping Jaat calls her a 'whore'. But not to worry. Nihaal Singh just wants to use the word Punjabi word 'aur' to rhyme with the word for a woman of easy virtue. This is as funny as the dialogues get. Then when you add the substantial fall in the humour level in the second half (with the exchange between a clownish Punjabi couple who lisp obscenities to each other, taking the amusement to rock-bottom status) you have one of the most unrealized and unfulfilled comedies in recent times.
Sure, Sunny makes you smile. His inherently artless technique of taking on crises in the solar plexus comes in handy in dealing with a situation that seems to be inspired the Australian comedy Crocodile Dundee, at least in the way the rustic hero takes on the sophisticated metro. Deol is there in almost every frame. He keeps giving the gora-log a mouthful. In a sense his role as the turbaned terror-buster is an extension of what Deol did in Gadar. Take the enemies on in their own domain and come home triumphant. The fomula is just not used to optimum advantage. Maybe the director needed to polish up his act better. Parts of the film are clumsily scripted and shot. Check out the sequences on the cruiser where Deol pretends to be his own double to get the better of his adversary, who incidentally adds to the confusion by being dressed as a Sardarji.
The problem is, the comedy can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a satire or slapstick. The narrative is finally much of neither. It all adds up to a whole lot of chaotic mayhem about gangsters and terrorists. The simulated explosions in New York are laughably puny. And the songs are more catastrophic than 9/11.
For a Sunny Deol vehicle, the film seems to resort to too many cut corners, which give the end product a skittish and sloppy look. A pity, since you expected a Sunny Deol comedy to have more to offer than just a scattered smattering of laughter.
Deol gets little support from script or director. The latter, incidentally, is busy playing actor. Rahul Rawail as a grotesque gangster in sinister glasses makes you wince. The rest of the actors, including the brilliant Surekha Sikri who hams to the hilt, follow suit. Deol stands tall. But he is surrounded by creative midgets hiding behind watery mirth, which finally drowns the lead actor's towering presence.