Masala comedy films are here to stay and still have a loyal fan following. Surprisingly, there are very few directors at present that can do justice to such kind of movies. Anees Bazmee is one of those who have entertained audiences with plenty of mainstream comic capers over the years. And now he’s back with PAGALPANTI and as the name suggests, it promises loads of madness. So does PAGALPANTI stay true to its title and give a rocking time to the viewers? Or does it fail to entertain? Let’s analyse.
PAGALPANTI is the story of three unlucky men who wreak havoc in the underworld. Raj Kishore (John Abraham) is astrologically very unlucky. Wherever he goes, destruction follows. He joins Public Mercantile Bank in India and on his first day at job, it comes to light that Niraj Modi (Inaamulhaq) has run away from the country after stealing Rs. 32,000 crores from the bank. Raj loses his job as a result. He then comes to London where he befriends two brothers, Junky (Arshad Warsi) and Chandu (Pulkit Samrat). He convinces the duo to put money and set up a fireworks shop. Again, due to Raj’s bad luck, the shop goes up in flames on the first day itself. Raj then woos Sanjana (Ileana DCruz). He then cons her and her maternal uncle (Brijendra Kala) of a lot of money to start a delivery company with Junky and Chandu. As they are about to make their first delivery, an expensive car, Sanjana, who finds out the truth, arrives with an army of goons to nab Raj. Raj, Junky and Chandu run away in the delivery truck itself and after a nail-biting chase and jumping from a flyover, they escape from the clutches of the goons. They then reach the place of delivery, the palatial residence of Raja Sahab (Saurabh Shukla). It’s his daughter Janvi’s (Kriti Kharbanda) birthday and the expensive car is her gift. Unfortunately, when the car is unloaded from the track, it is found to be extensively damaged due to their reckless driving while escaping from the goons. The car is worth Rs. 7 crores and to recover this amount from the trio, Raja Sahab’s brother-in-law WiFi Bhai (Anil Kapoor) offers them a job where they’ll be paid Rs. 10 lakhs each. Of course, they won’t get the money but their salary will go in recovering the Rs. 7 crore cost of the car. Raj, Junky and Chandu happily take up the job, not realizing that their work can prove fatal. Junky and Chandu are given the job of being the food tasters, to ensure that there’s no poison in Raja Sahab’s meal. Raj is asked to sit in Raja Sahab’s car so that if anyone tries to attack, the former will bear the brunt. The trio learn that these precautions are being taken because of Raja Sahab’s enemies, the brothers named Tulli (Zakir Hussain) and Bulli (Ashok Samarth). Realizing that this enmity has gone too far, Baba Jani (Mukesh Tiwari), a mentor for Raja Sahab and Tulli-Bulli, arranges a meeting with all of them. He advises them to shake hands and also presents to them none other than Niraj Modi. Niraj gives Rs. 700 crores to Raja Sahab and tells him to invest and double this money. Raj’s bad luck plays spoilsport here in two ways. Firstly, Raj, Junky and Chandu, not knowing that Raja Sahab is now friends with Tulli and Bulli, goes ahead and attack Bulli, injuring him grievously. Next, Raj accidentally sets fire to the library which is in Raja Sahab’s house. The fire spreads to the strongroom, where Niraj Modi’s money is stored. All the money worth Rs. 700 crores hence goes up in flames. Realizing that Raj, Junky and Chandu are epitomes of bad luck, Raja Sahab and WiFi kick them out of the house. The same day, Raja Sahab is stopped from going to bet on a derby race due to threat from Tulli and Bulli. WiFi too chickens out and with no other option, they send Raj, Junky and Chandu to put money on their favourite horse, Lucky. However, Raj is advised by a derby expert to bet on the other horse, Johnny instead. Suddenly, Sanjana and her maternal uncle reach the spot to take back their money. Raj advises them to put their money on Johnny as well, suggesting that if they win, their money problems will be solved. As luck would have it, Johnny loses the race while Lucky wins! The trio are too scared to go back to face Raja Sahab and WiFi and hence, they decide to run away to Scotland. What happens next forms the rest of the film!
Anees Bazmee, Rajiv Kaul and Praful Parekh's story is full of madness and also quite clichéd. Still, it could have made for a good film if the script was upto the mark. Anees Bazmee, Rajiv Kaul and Praful Parekh's screenplay sadly is disappointing. The writing is plain lazy as in the first half, it’s repetitive. To see Raj spreading bad luck every now and then gets too much. And in the second half, it is a bhel puri of various such films in the past. Anees Bazmee's dialogues are quite funny but in the absence of a tight script, these one-liners also don’t make the desired impact.
Anees Bazmee's direction is weak. He has done a much better job in the past and his work in PAGALPANTI is nowhere close. The script is not that funny but still the film could have been slightly more entertaining if he had remained true to the genre. But sadly, he forced a lot of elements in the film. In one crucial scene, the characters suddenly become patriotic and it’s embarrassing to see it unfold.
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One doesn’t expect anything else but mindless comedy from a film titled PAGALPANTI. And sure enough, the beginning scenes give a fair indication that the film is riddled with maddening scenes. There’s nothing wrong with that but the jokes are not that funny either. A few scenes do raise laughs like Junky and Chandu being compelled to taste food and Raj finding out the reason why he’s driving in Raja Sahab’s car and not Raja Sahab himself. The entry of Niraj Modi is menacing. The intermission point too gives a promise that hopefully, the second half is where the film’s brilliance would come out. Shockingly, the opposite happens. The scene where the trio escape in a truck filled with glue is still fine. But then, the writers and makers add a horror touch that backfires. It seemed like the team got impressed with the success of horror comedies like GOLMAAL AGAIN  and STREE  and hence decided to cash in on it. The finale meanwhile gives a déjà vu of Anees Bazmee’s earlier film WELCOME  and many other Priyadarshan comedies. Not just that, they even straightaway lift a crucial scene and dialogue from the classic comic caper ANDAZ APNA APNA  and that’s where the film goes completely downhill.
John Abraham is decent but it’s nowhere close to the great work he’s doing off late. It’s nice that he’s trying his hand at comedy for a change but then he should have opted for a film that would have given him a chance to excel. Arshad Warsi is as usual quite entertaining. Pulkit Samrat tries his best but doesn’t succeed in giving the performance that his character demanded. Anil Kapoor gets his share of funny scenes but the writing lets him down. Saurabh Shukla is quite superb. Same goes for Brijendra Kala and it’s nice to see that he even got a chance to shake a leg! From the heroines, Kriti Kharbanda gets to play an interesting character and she does justice. Ileana DCruz is strictly okay. Urvashi Rautela enters quite late and is hardly there. Talking about the supporting cast, Inaamulhaq is too good and the role suits him to the T. Jameel Khan (Panditji) has an important role and is dependable. Mukesh Tiwari, Zakir Hussain and Ashok Samarth are over the top. Jiten Mukhi (Mehul Chowksi), Naresh Sharma (Raja Sahab's butlet) and Raja Sahab's driver (Kanchan Pagare) are okay.
Music is decent. 'Tum Par Hum Hai Atke' comes all of a sudden but is foot-tapping. 'Walla Walla' is well picturized but the song is nothing great. 'Bimar Dil' is from where the film really gets bad. 'Thumka' is forced. Title track is played in the background mainly. Sajid-Wajid's background score is better. The theme of Niraj Modi works well.
Sunil Patel's cinematography is appropriate. Durgaprasad Mahapatra's production design is appealing. Pradyuman Kumar Swain's action is not so memorable. Anushka Tugnait, Sanam Ratansi, Kshitij Kankaria Shamanaz Parakh, Rahil Raja and Himanshi Nijhawan's costumes are very glamorous and sexy, especially the ones worn by the girls. N Y VFXWaala and Final Post's VFX is tacky, particularly in the lion scene. Prashant Singh Rathore's editing is not upto the mark.
On the whole, PAGALPANTI fails to raise the desired amount of laughs due to lazy writing and recycled jokes. This movie is strictly for the audience who love brainless entertainers.