I remember seeing Pankaj Tripathy in a tiny role in Abhishek Bachchan starrer Run (2004). He was a lean young man back then. The spunk was still visible. It is shame that it took this long for people to actually take notice of this wonderful actor. This year alone he has given us delightful moments in films like Newton, Bareilly Ki Barfi and now in Fukrey Returns. In a particular scene in the latest film, the actor’s character slips in fear as a cracker bursts nearby. He stands up and tries to act all cool, explaining the floor was slippery. You cannot help but laugh. He is brilliant.
The presence of Pankaj Tripathy looms large throughout the film, although he is merely a supporting character with barely much importance in the screenplay. He was possibly retained from the original caste merely because the character was such a hit in the film. That does not deter this actor from stealing scene after scene.
Tripathy apart, the makers of Fukrey Returns also have a clear agenda. They play on the characters that were most loved in the original film. And that invariably means putting maximum focus on Choocha played by Varun Sharma, and Bholi played by Richa Chadda. So much that we actually get to know more about Choocha’s family – his father and his mother.
Fukrey Returns builds on the story of Fukrey. Bholi is back from jail and it’s payback time for the Fukras. The characters are already established and the director Mrighdeep Lamba does well not to waste more time than just the opening credits to remind people of what had happened earlier. The film does not stray from the genre, much of the screenplay driven by quirks of the characters. This time around Choocha is not dreaming. He gets premonitions… flashes of something that is about to happen in near future. And needless to mention, it’s a mad rush with everyone trying to get what he sees. And that keeps the laughs coming in, every now and then.
Also, this time stakes are higher. It is not just Bholi who is after the Fukras. They have larger problems to deal with. Carrying a tiger cub into a cave being the least of these. Yes, laughs are not a problem.
The problem arises in the second half as the screenplay seems to lose focus, with the protagonists dealing with too many things. At one moment soon after the interval, it feels like the film all but over. But the writers drag it past the point to a point where the script almost loses steam. The problem is nothing unique. A sequel, more often than not, starts off with an interesting premise… it is usually keeping the tone of the film where the screenplay suffers. In this case, the writers have to deal with the high expectations of viewers who would come hoping for something zany.
Nevertheless, director Mrighdeep manages to pull together all strings right before the end, making in for a clean finish. His actors do their best. Pulkit is fine and Manjot is fun to watch. The girls, Vishakha Singh and Priya Anand do not have much to do. Ali Fazal has limited scope too. As mentioned earlier, the star of this film is Varun Sharma and he carries the weight of the film, with absolute élan. Watch it only for him and the inimitable Pankaj Tripathy.
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