Bollywood Film Review “Mubarakan”



First, the Recap:

The domino effect. It only takes one simple action to occur for events to potentially spiral out of control and cause all manner of  chaos amongst all who get impacted by its ramifications. As always, the question remains–how the heck do you get it all untangled to the benefit of all?? Take for example twin brothers Karan & Charan (both played by Arjun Kapoor). Housing within them completely opposite personality types–Karan’s over-the-top, wilder, carefree ways vs. Charan’s proper, composed, astute behavior–they’ve lived apart ever since a tragedy drastically altered their family’s path. However, despite these differences and growing up apart, they’ve both found love, Karan with Sweety (Lleana D’Cruz) and Charan with Nafisa (Neha Sharma).

However, life takes an unanticipated and massively topsy-turvy direction turn when Karan’s adoptive mother Jeeto (Ratna Pathak) chooses to arrange a marriage for him to Binkle (Athiya Shetty), the daughter of rich London businessman Mr. Sandhu (Rahul Dev). Fully opposed to this situation, Karan seeks out the assistance of the boy’s uncle, Kartar (Anil Kapoor) to assist in sorting it out. What ensues becomes a huge mash-up of misunderstandings, mixed messages, scheming, and all-around mayhem that puts Jeeto in conflict with her own brother and Charan’s adoptive father Baldev (Pavan Malhotra) as well as creating upheaval between the brother’s actual fiancés and anyone else who gets in the way. The only question then becomes, can it all be saved before family splits from family and no one ends up happy?

Next, my Mind:

Get ready to laugh, have one fantastic, intentionally overcomplicated ride, and just hang on to your brain because everything is about to explode into total anarchy thanks to director Anees Bazmee and this 156-minute Bollywood effort that just screams general ode to “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” via a brilliant ensemble cast and a narrative that so purposefully embodies the term “discombobulation”. Watching as a single unexpected choice reverberates through this family’s relationships, attitudes, and state of mind while the real victims of it all desperately make vain and hilarious attempts to resolve it all via their own “not all there” drunkard of an uncle is engaging, bitingly witty, and baffling at the same time, but entertainingly so. Add in the vibrant, high energy song and dance sequences to get the feet tapping and smiles to the viewer’s faces, and it is a great overall example of Bollywood’s lighter, fun, yet still dramatic side, with every supposed resolution to the matters at end only leading down further roads of insanity until an admittedly telegraphed finale. But, I didn’t care!

Arjun Kapoor’s star is still on the rise ever since he made a splash with his role of “house husband” in 2016’s “Ki & Ka” and here he continues to show his ever-expanding range in playing both Karan and Charan, completely different people despite being twin brothers. The respective dynamics Arjun infuses into Karan as the London-based, happy-go-lucky, party going ladies man and someone who has a steady girlfriend yet would seemingly be hesitant to truly settle down if she didn’t keep him in control, vs. Charan as the Punjab-based idealist, basic in his outlook on life, and honest to a fault, not totally knowing how to handle his girlfriend or their future despite knowing what he desires, is such pure joy to watch, more so when the two get totally mixed up in their uncle’s shenanigans as he tries to help them. What also works is Arjun then handles the intricacies of how the whole mess changes the brothers and their points of view on love, life, family, and how to handle their own affairs. It keeps things grounded and at least a little more real than the craziness occurring shows.

Anil Kapoor, though, certainly has a way of chewing up scenery and flat out stealing scenes in his portrayal of the boy’s nutty uncle Kartar, a man who drinks far too much, thinks very highly of himself, but is fiercely loyal to the twins and ultimately would do anything for them–which is what he attempts to do and quite enthusiastically and hysterically does, filling the screen with not only his hard-to-miss physical presence and ever-fluctuating facial expressions, but witty execution of the film’s culturally-minded dialogue that isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at things. The beauteous trio that is D’Cruz, Shetty, and Sharma all stand tall on their own merits here as well, especially in their humorous frustration as the situation at hand begins to wear on them. With D’Cruz’s Sweety and Sharma’s Nafisa first being totally in the dark about what’s transpiring, then becoming a much more integral part of the schemes that come about, while Shetty’s poor Binkle doesn’t seem to think she’ll find any happiness out of it all, it’s pure fun to watch the ladies maneuver through the confused mire.

Pathak’s Jeeto and Malhotra’s Baldev play off each other perfectly as the brother and sister initially stuck at dire odds with each other, Dev’s Sandhu is strong and authoritative, and additional roles from Karan Kundra, Alexx O’Nell, Anil Mange, and Nikkita Chadha among others are present as well.  In total, “Mubarakan” is a fanciful, jocular, brain-bending slice of Bollywood magic that deserves notice and will leave you feeling good and amused.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment,  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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