Cirkus: Doctor at Large!

Ranveer Singh and Pooja Hegde in Cirkus. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Dr. Roy Jamndas (Murali Sharma) and Joy Jamnadas (Uday Tikekar) run an orphanage. As an experiment, Roy mixes two sets of twins, who are given for adoption by a circus owner from Ooty (Really? A circus is permanently based in a small-town hill-resort?) and the other to a prosperous family in Bangalore.

Both the couples are so ecstatic that they name the children as Roy and Joy. The year is 1942—but this is not a love story. Now that’s a gag that is funnier than most we hear in the film! Seriously!

As we move almost 30 years ahead (a movie hall is showing Johny Mera Naam, released in late 1970), we find one set of Roy and Joy being part of their adopted father’s circus. Roy, somehow, cannot feel any electric shock and is the highlight of his (now) late father’s circus as ‘The Electric Man’. His wife, Mala (Pooja Hegde) has been told that she cannot be a mother ever, so she wants to adopt a child from the same orphanage. One hitch here: Whenever the Electric Man plays with an electric wire, the poor Bangalore Roy feels the mega-voltage shock and keeps writing wherever he is, though there are clearly no ill-effects.

Dr. Roy, we are told, is keeping an eye on both sets of ‘siblings’, merely to prove the Manmohan Desai point that Parvarish (parental upbringing) is vital, and not so Raj Kapoor’s contention that heredity is supreme, a la Dharam Karam. Now, now, both films were respectively scripted in the 1970s by one writer, Prayag Raj, and the former movie worked big-time. Maybe that was the reason the makers here decided that Dr. Roy (horribly actionable, perhaps, by law) gives upbringing supreme importance. Never mind how the good doctor assumes that he will be alive to see his experiment work, or otherwise. And we never know what are the parameters for success or failure, for all four Roys and Joys are normal, good people.

Yes, the other set is based in Bangalore, and this second Roy is in love with Bindu (Jacqueline Fernandez), the daughter of a super-eccentric rich man (Sanjay Mishra doing his standard act, which works in bits). The other Joy, as with the earlier one, is just a doting brother, but does not do much else.

And now, it’s time for the mix-up. Rai Bahadur has once spotted the first Roy with Mala in Ooty and is suspicious of his daughter’s suitor. He decides to investigate. Meanwhile, the Bangalore boys come to Ooty for their work. After that, there is lots of confusion intended as some thugs are also after them, the old man and many others misunderstand the natural actions of the confused boys from Bangalore, and the doctor, who is still at large, flits in and out at the filmmakers’ will. At whim, the doctor also turns narrator and speaks to the audience.

Last but also the least (!), the non-circus Roy is naturally and pathologically suspicious, as he reads the crime fiction written by his favorite author, Vikrant, who is actually Mala, the other Roy’s wife.

Sadly, for kids expecting fun from a circus, the clowning and slapstick are all done here outside the ‘Cirkus’ tent by a coterie of buffoon-like characters, including a reformed daku, who along with his gang, now runs a hotel.

Can things go ‘wronger’ in a Rohit Shetty entertainer? For someone like me, who has found (huge) repeat value in his Golmaal Returns, Golmaal Again, All The Best and Bol Bachchan, this film was nothing less than the worst of Sajid Khan mixed with Priyadarshan’s, David Dhawan’s and Anees Bazmee’s off-form movies.  All the way to Sooryavanshi, and including in Dilwale, Rohit had shown rare acumen in his amalgam of the modern with classic Hindi cinema.

Perhaps it would have been better to stick completely to his Shakespearean source without needless tweaking of its base. Maybe then, the exorbitant production design of both interiors and outdoors (Swapnil Bhalerao and Madhur Madhavan) and the humongous spends on the sets would have been worth it. For the humor, overall, does not work as it lacks the original wit and hilarity of Rohit’s earlier comedies.

The performances are all routine, with Anil Chiranjetti as Sanjay Mishra’s employee and Siddharth Jadhav vying with each other as the most irritating. Uday Tikekar as the orphanage owner and Ashwini Kalsekar as the rich mother are supremely wasted, as is Johny Lever. Pooja Hegde is sincere but fetching and Jacqueline Fernandez is a write-off: for this film, she seems to have forgotten the basics of comedy and acting.

Given Rohit’s unbroken record after the 2007 Sunday, we can forgive and forget this mega-lapse, but I truly pray that Rohit goes back to his hilarious brand of fun. After all, he has been one of the brightest directorial talents in Hindi cinema in the last two decades.

Rating: **

T-Series & Rohit Shetty Productionz’ Cirkus  Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar & Rohit Shetty  Directed by: Rohit Shetty  Written by: Farhad Samji, Sanchit Bedre, Vidhi Ghodgaonkar & Yunus Sajawal  Based on William Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors Music: DSP Rockstar, Lijo George-DJ Chetas & Badshah  Starring: Ranveer Singh, Jacqueline Fernandez, Pooja Hegde, Sanjay Mishra, Ashwini Kalsekar, Murli Sharma, Sulabha Arya, Vrajesh Hirjee, Tiku Talsania, Brijendra Kala, Vinay Patkar, Siddharth Jadhav, Mukesh Tiwari, Johny Lever, Anil Chiranjetti, Uday Tikekar, Ashish Warang, Umakant Patil, Sp. App.: Deepika Padukone  & others





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