No logic, some magic

Daniyal Zahid sits through Golmaal Again - again

No logic, some magic
To many, the tagline of the fourth edition of the Golmaal franchise, ‘no logic, only magic’, would appear bordering on defensive. It’s like a warning before the start of the movie: it won’t contain any logic, and so, viewers’ discretion is advised.

But for a franchise that has already churned out three hit films with roughly the same intellectual coefficient, no one should expect otherwise. And hence, Golmaal Again, released seven years after Golmaal 3, is made strictly for the franchise buffs.

Or indeed fans of Tabu or Parineeti Chopra, of whom there are many. For, both have key roles to play in the two-and-a-half hour pandemonium.

However, as one would expect the film is all about its five protagonists Gopal (Ajay Devgn), Madhav (Arshad Warsi), Lucky (Tushaar Kapoor), Laxman 1 (Shreyas Talpade) and Laxman 2 (Kunal Khemu) – typically reincarnated into a storyline detached from any of the prequels, while retaining their characters.

These five are orphans raised by Jamnadas Orphanage, who are reunited when Jamnadas (Tikekar) dies – under mysterious circumstances as is later found. Within the orphanage’s premises there’s Colonel Chouhan’s (Sachin Khedekar) house, which is believed to be haunted.

Anna (Tabu) the orphanage’s caretaker, who grew up with the five leads, can see ghosts, and plots to bring all five of them to the colonel’s vacant bungalow, in what eventually turns out to be a murder mystery.

The subplot is provided by two magnates Vasu Reddy (Prakash Raj) and Nikhil (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who are eying the orphanage building for their own business interests, putting the lives of the orphans’ at stake.

But where do the ghosts fit in? Why is there a murder mystery? Where exactly does the magic come into play?

If these questions are in your mind, please don’t bother watching the film at all.

The storyline, even if it poses to amalgamate horror and thriller genres into the slapstick that the franchise inevitably offers, is just a pretext to ram home the Golmaal brand of comedy.

And perhaps following the lead of the Housefull franchise, Golmaal’s stories are becoming an excuse to get the protagonists – with their conflicting interests – under one roof to maximize the madness, and indeed, the loudness.

Ajay Devgn

In addition to the five leads, Golmaal also always brings back other characters from the previous films. Hence, Vasuli Bhai (Mukesh Tiwari) features for the fourth time along with Sanjay Mishra and Vrajesh Hirjee who reprise their now trademark roles under different character names.

Murali Sharma reprises his character of a cop for the third film running and Ashwini Kalsekar (Munni/Chintu) features as well.

Johnny Lever, once a heavyweight of Bollywood comedy, reprising his character Pappi Bhai from Golmaal 3, has long passed his sell-by date. In his continued portrayal of over-the-top loud characters, that once made him a permanent fixture in any 90s’ comedy, Lever continues to expose his limitations by refusing to evolve even when fans of even slapstick comedies have moved on to different expectations.

And yet, despite Lever’s inadequacy, director Rohit Shetty manages to get the most out of those around him, extracting laughs via other characters by making Pappi Bhai the butt, and not the mouth, of the jokes.

Ajay Devgn and Shreyas Talpade, two fine actors for any genre, continue to reiterate their value as comic performers, while Arshad Warsi – forever immortalized as Munna Bhai’s Circuit – continues to establish Madhav as the other character(s) that he has managed to successfully pull off, along with Babban from Ishqiya/Dedh Ishqiya.

Tabu’s presence was always going to be crucial, and suspicious – in the sense of “What on Earth is a seasoned actor like her doing in a male dominated craze-fest?” But while she does absolutely no harm to her own reputation, and comes out unscathed, don’t be fooled by her presence to assume any semblance of substance in the film.
But where do the ghosts fit in? Why is there a murder mystery? Where exactly does the magic come into play? If these questions are in your mind, please don't bother watching the film at all

Easily the highlight of the movie is Nana Patekar’s voice that he lends to many of the ghosts – also playing himself in a brief cameo. If those ghost-loaded Laxman and Lucky don’t make you laugh in the cinema hall, you are, again, under the wrong roof.

That there is no logic is a given with Golmaal Again, but whether there is enough magic is debatable.

The fourth installment might not be able to conjure as many laughs as the first three, and that’s perhaps because it rehashes a lot of what they’ve already fed their loyal fans, almost a decade ago. But that’s also why Golmaal Again would post the box office numbers like its predecessors.