Overkill is Shetty’s thing. The director stuffs the screen with props, people and puerile energy to orchestrate his comedy of crackpots.
And so, bright looking cars and jeeps do their share of acrobatics. Books dance and dash mid-air like cheeky symbols for suspension of disbelief.
Exuberance and inanity go hand in hand in this silly, spooky, wafer-thin slice of nothingness that relies on its stockpile of seasoned comics and slapstick stamina to engage better than some of the earlier films of this hare-brained franchise.
Haunted houses can be a fun premise to mix horror and comedy like Mehmood’s Bhoot Bangla did to a delightful effect long ago. But Shetty limits his focus to shenanigans and split second gratification to fully explore the extent of such humour.
The Golmaal gang — Ajay Devgn’s scaredy-cat, Tusshar Kapoor’s speech glitch, Arshad Warsi’s bogus bully, Shreyas Talpade’s ‘smaas-baas’ ardour and Kunal Khemu’s huff ‘n’ puff farce is visibly committed to the madness in creating a relentless atmosphere of mock fear and phony feuds.
Along with the franchise’s recurring faces — most notably Johnny Lever’s Hyderabadi airhostess gig, Vrajesh Hirjee’s snake-tongued Baba Paneer Palak dance and Sanjay Mishra’s uproarious Shatrughan Sinha take-off — the guys appear to be having a ball in its flaky, ’90s obsessed space. Often though, it’s not the wit but the camaraderie of their carefree, cheerful association that Golmaal Again!!! truly benefits from.
When not demonstrating his love for excesses, Shetty tries a couple of new things. Like Nana Patekar’s furious baritone looms large as part of Golmaal Again!!!‘s running joke. The director scoffs at the ubiquity of May-December romances populating Bollywood with a potent Godrej dye dig and then tries to justify it with a Lamhe reference.
Also, shifting the scene to Ooty and throwing in affable presences like Tabu’s bespectacled ghostbuster and Parineeti Chopra’s dungaree-clad mystery lends the tomfoolery a welcome sparkle. Except, confined to disappointingly straight characterisations, they never get to show off their comic chops in the manner Deepika Padukone did in Chennai Express.
Rohit Shetty’s latest is not an improvement on his abilities. It’s just another reiteration of what he enjoys.
To me, the big twist in Golmaal Again!!! is as obvious as the sugar in Johnny’s mouth. The lacklustre songs needlessly extend its 151 minutes running time. Some of the jokes soar, some nosedive.
But to the housefull theatre I saw it in, and who laughed at every single bit, it’s the stuff Diwali releases are made of.