Hungama 2 Review: This Crime Against Humanity Needs To Be Sent Back To The Dark Ages Along With Its Ideas About Women
Let me make it clear, this isn’t a review. This is a letter full of genuine inquiry directed at the makers of this regressive cringefest that is Hungama 2, asking them with a straight face, “What horror possessed you to make this film?” I understand that I am addressing Priyadarshan here, who along with writers Anukalp Goswami, Manisha Korde and Yunus Sajawal, wrote this film and also directed it. And it hurts so badly to be this crass and blunt, because this respected filmmaker has made so many comedic gems in his lifetime that have become cult favourites and classic meme templates making us laugh even today. But what he commits with Hungama 2 is an unforgivable crime against humanity, especially women who’ve fought so hard to finally have cinema tell progressive stories about them, made by them. And this film just shoves all that progress back into the Dark Ages.
But the director and writers aren’t the only party to this crime though. There’s the film’s cast—Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Meezaan Jaffrey, Pranitha, Paresh Rawal, Ashutosh Rana, Tiku Talsania, Rajpal Yadav and Johnny Lever—who I don’t know if I should feel angry at for agreeing to be a part of this ridiculous idea, or pity because maybe their longstanding association with the filmmaker or their own personal obligations made them consent to work in this film. Either way, what they’ve together created is so unforgivable and terrorising that my one sentence advice to anyone who wants to watch it is— Don’t watch it, or at least don’t watch it alone.
View this post on Instagram
This film is 2.5 hours long, but just 0.5 hours (30 minutes) into it, I wanted to send out an SOS signal to be rescued. But I (and a friend who agreed to bear this travesty with me for the sake of scientific enquiry) persisted. I watched it so you won’t have to. And I am in a way glad I did because this is exactly the kind of regressive crap that we need to push out of our Indian entertainment.
What’s happening in Hungama 2?!
(This isn’t a legit question. It’s a frustrated cry.)
Somewhere in a picturesque hill station town, an old patriarch (Ashutosh Rana) lives with his son, daughter and four insolent grandkids from his eldest son, who lives in America. The second son, Aakaash (Meezaan Jaffrey) is about to get engaged to some rich businessman’s (Manoj Joshi) daughter, when his college girlfriend (Pranitha), Vaani (the joke in their names should’ve been an SOS radio signal) suddenly arrives at their doorstep with a daughter she claims is his. Clearly, she isn’t. But nevertheless this kickstart a laughable (not funny, but nonsensical) effort to confirm the paternity, and hide this woman and this kid from Aakash’s future in-laws. Oh don’t bother asking about who Aakash’s fiancé is, because unlike normal couples who are annoyingly joined at the hip before their wedding functions, this fiancé is a more well-guarded mystery than the father of that kid Vaani has brought in.
No I kid you not, halfway through the film, I guessed the entire thing and told me friend word to word how it would all pan out. I was so proud of myself.
You might be wondering where Shilpa Shetty fits into this. Good question, because for a long time, so was I. It took a guessing game I like to call “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai?” to figure out how exactly Shilpa’s character, Anjali (throwback to the OG Hungama?), was related to Meezaan’s. Turns out, after a substantial number of scenes have passed, we finally figure out Anjali is a family-friend and his secretary of sorts. Which made the whole thing about her bumbling insecure husband suspecting she had an affair with her almost brother/boss and was pregnant with his kid all the more creepy. This husband is played by Paresh Rawal, who looks his age. And while I don’t subscribe to regressive notions or ageism, if a secretary/mooh-boli behen dances with her brother/boss in this manner (Chura Ke Dil Mera 2.0), hogging his attention at his engagement party while his fiancé just stands in a corner, even I would suspect an affair!
Anyhoo, a very long tedious story short, for the longest time the family believes that the baby girl Vaani brought at their doorstep is Aakash’s, despite his pathetic attempts at proving she isn’t his kid. Meanwhile, Radhe suspects the baby that everyone is trying to hide is the illegitimate one his wife’s having. When he outs her at a party, is when the truth eventually comes out (just as I had predicted). In the end, the bad guy is chastised, all misunderstandings are cleared, and the hero and heroine are together. Oh, again you dared wonder about the fiancé and her family? You don’t learn, do you? They’re all okay with being humiliated and lied to like this, you guys! They even come, sahparivaar, for the #AakashVani wedding!
Also Read: ‘Feels Like Ishq’ Review: Netflix Anthology Injects A Perfectly Measured Dose Of Love And Mush!
Let’s talk about the non-existent story, screenplay and the consequent bad performances
I won’t bore you with details about the film’s shoddy direction, haphazard cuts and issues with its sound. Or complain about the money that was spent on unnecessary songs shot on constructed sets, that should’ve been used to hire better writers. Or crib about the utter lack of logic and sense in the events that transpire in this hodge-podge they call a film. Because there’s a bigger monster to slay here. And that is the story and the screenplay. The prudent question to ask would be, is there even a story and screenplay? My guess is a big, fat and very confident “NO”.
For the most part, the film looks like it takes elements from different movies, old and new, and stitches them together to create an illusion of a story. There is a whole ‘strict grandfather can’t find a teacher to homeschool his grandkids because they drive the teacher away with their mischief’ plot that is a bad lift off from Parichay, complete with the youngest kid being a reminder of the cute innocence of Master Raju.
You can make out from the way these otherwise seasoned actors say their dialogues that they probably didn’t have a script in the first place and are just improvising. The dialogues are so bad, so bad, that they make everyone sound dumb, particularly Vaani, who is supposed to be this mastermind tricking this family into believing her lie, and should technically be on her guard! Meezan’s Aakash comes across as a terrible human being, and it is exasperating to find even a shred of reasoning as to why Vaani, or any person for that matter would like this guy, let alone love him. He is rude, insults women every chance he gets, has no respect when talking to the old man who is their house manager, and is always shouting and being overdramatic. At several times during his monologues, where you think he is badly channeling the angst of Ranbir Kapoor, you just want to pull him aside and say, “Just chill out dude. Itna kya hyper ho raha hai be?”
Some of Aakash’s rudeness seeps into his nephews and niece, who are just as insolent and disrespectful to elders. And yes, you guessed it right, the solution to all of them is Vaani turning teacher and imparting lessons of basic manners to them. Wow.
Shilpa Shetty looks bored, like someone’s forcing her to do this as a favour (blink twice if you need rescuing). I feel so sad for Ashutosh Rana because he is sincerely trying to make his character work, but when you can see the literal exhaustion in his face. As a Gujarati who grew up watching actors like Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, and Tiku Talsania do some stellar theatre along with their films, it pained me tremendously to see them relegated to such abysmal roles at this age, particularly Talsania. Rajpal Yadav is wasted in his blink-and-miss role. And Johnny Lever… I don’t even know what to say. His cameo is as a Bengali teacher is rife with caricaturish accent and foolishness. Really? REALLY? We’re still thinking this is funny? It’s 2021 FFS.
View this post on Instagram
Oh and if this isn’t all, the film has glaring errors that they haven’t even tried to correct! Without any prior explanation, Vaani keeps referring to Aakash as her husband. Why? Because of course if you have a child with a man out of wedlock, he automatically becomes your husband na? Legal marriage be damned! If that’s not worse, right before Chura Ke Dil Mera 2.0, Vaani is being referred to as Pooja for some reason! Takes insulting audience intelligence to a whole new level. Or is it that the makers are sure nobody is really going to watch the film this far?
Also Read: 5 Thoughts We Had About Chura Ke Dil Mera 2.0: Shilpa Shetty Is Fire In This Version That Wasn’t Needed But Isn’t Half Bad.
Hungama 2 is a trash pile of regression and misogyny that thinks comedy comes from insulting women
During a recent lecture I attended about feminist jurisprudence, we discussed how female representation in government does not guarantee progress for women’s issues. For example, it looks like there’s a woman on the writer’s team of Hungama 2. But does that mean the film is sensitive about its portrayal of women? Hell to the no!
Instead, it chooses to uphold male pride above all. Exhibit A: Despite reasonable doubt that Aakash could have a child out of wedlock, his family, including his real sister and his mooh-boli sister, still gets him engaged. Because who cares if we’re going to ruin another girl’s life in the process of getting this good-for-nothing guy a rich business match, right?
The entire film is one big female character assassination fest. An older husband suspects his much younger wife of having an extra-marital affair with a brotherly figure, because of his own insecurity of not being able to father a child. He uses phrases like “nayansukh le raha hai meri biwi ka” to random men at the traffic signal, and tells his mini-dress sporting wife that she’s forgotten to wear pants. He even puts a camera outside his house so he can spy on his wife’s comings and goings. Oh no wait, there’s more.
View this post on Instagram
On the other hand is a young man who wants to discredit the girl who claims he fathered her child. Now remember, that this girl was his college girlfriend, jiske saath he sang two love songs, was heartbroken when she left him abruptly, and admits in the film’s climax that he still loves her like crazy.
His attempts at discrediting her involve assassinating the girl’s character, calling the child names like “praani” as in “Yeh praani mera nahi hai,” paying the shady owner of his college canteen (Rajpal Yadav) to be the girls’ fake husband. And oh, threatening the woman with rape after a night of heavy drinking. With rape. Yes, there is an actual scene where he walks into her room, drunk and upset because his engagement got called off, and tells her he is going to have sex with her (while the baby is sleeping in the same room), because that is his right as her husband. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? This is still happening in 2021? Did you not get the memo?
— Pramit (@pramitheus) July 25, 2021
But yes, who cares, because the threat works and she blabs the truth about who the baby’s real father is. And feminism dies a slow, painful death when in the film’s end, she takes the same guy who threatened her with rape, as her husband, officially this time.
Oh, and spoiler alert, the wife of the “baby’s real father” is so chilled out, when she should actually be channeling the histrionics that Meezaan displayed in his scenes. Go figure.
Verdict: You’ll notice this review doesn’t have a rating because a rating is not applicable.
Hungama 2 needs to be kicked back into the Dark Ages of regression and misogyny and nascent ideas of what Bollywood thought was entertainment, from whence it came. I mean, really, makers, what were you thinking?
Me, I just feel vindicated for saying Chura Ke Dil Mera 2.0 was a tolerable rehash of the original. Because trust me, it is the most tolerable part of this film. Maybe if the makers had just repackaged Hungama’s script like they did with song, this would’ve at least earned one or two stars.
Hungama 2 is currently screaming on Disney+Hotstar. (No, that’s not a typo.)