Khichdi 2: Mission Panthukistan is unfunny beyond words

Anang Desai, Rajeev Mehta and Vandana Pathak in Khichdi 2: Mission Panthukistan. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Happily, no one has touched most of the iconic sitcoms (admittedly very few) that have come in Hindi cinema to make movies out of them. Khichdi, Sarabhai Vs. Sarabhai, Baa Bahoo Aur Baby (all from the same producers as this film) of course has been iconic, but there have been a few other good comic shows too, like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, FIR and so on. But Khichdi was an exception. The first true-blue and quality sitcom of the millennium was also full of crazy characters, and the producers had decided to opt for a film based on them.

The 2008 movie that they made—Khichdi—was a breezy and equally mad fun-ride, and the producers were so confident that the press screening, in a rare case, was held for the media’s family members as well. The film proved, conclusively, that with dedication and focus, a good sitcom’s characters can be used in a comedy movie. The film too did well.

15 years later, the producers decided on a sequel as they came up with a mad idea: a duplicate of one of the main and funniest characters, Praful (Rajeev Mehta) was the debauched king of a place named Panthukistan (Paan is the betel-leaf post-meal confection we eat, while thuk means spitting, which most paan-eaters do). The entire family is commissioned by the TIA (Thodi Intelligence Agency—get the idea?) to go to this place, which is wallowing in sadness and brutality, and kidnap the king and replace him with lookalike Praful, so that harmony and happiness return to the beleaguered folks. This place has, according to the introduction, come into existence alongside India and Pakistan after Independence.

There are multiple new characters who come in for effect (and out of their regards for the makers): a harangued pilot (Pratik Gandhi on Scam 1992 fame), director Farah Khan (in a very irritable cameo), Kirti Kulhari (in the worst role she has ever done), Paresh Ganatra (wasted in a wonky role as a scientist in the king’s clutches), Flora Saini (as the queen who gets stuck in speaking) and Kiku Sharda as a harangued robot.

The film tosses logic to the wind, which is fine, but the humor is totally cringe-worthy, though the word ‘cringe’ I guess has a certain (sub-) standard. This film crosses all limits in juvenile / infantile / retarded / toilet / unfunny humor and huge resources are spent on locations, sets, costumes and terrible songs. Yes, there are a couple of good jokes and puns, but over 99.99 percent fall in the overdone category!

Frankly, I watched this film until the end only because I had to review it! I have walked out of movies that have been beyond achingly bad, but the only reason I stuck around this time was because I was hoping against hope for at least some kind of redemption. At the end, they have even threatened us with another film!

The cast, saddled with ridiculous script, could hardly raise the abysmally low bar. Rajeev Mehta as Praful and the king was nothing more than a bundle of his normal traits, ditto Supriya Pathak Kapur. Anang Desai overacts, and so does J.D. Majethia as Himanshu, and he looks too old to romance Kirti Kulhari now.

Technically, I guess, one must applaud the hard work of the DOP and production designer, but that alone doth not a decent film make!

Two final points: I never cease to be amazed by the audience: on day 1 of the release, as there was no press show this time, I had gone alone to watch the first show at a multiplex. I reached the theatre at 12.10, five minutes before the screening time. The clerk informed me that I was the only one asking for a ticket and so the show was canceled as they needed a minimum of 10 people to afford running the movie. I should have been warned.

But I decided to catch up with the film on Day 5 due to (no doubt) favorable reviews inflicted upon the reader. The show had an audience of 17, sitting totally against the ‘booked seats’ pattern I saw online.

The most crucial aspect: in 2006 or so, when Sarabhai Vs. Sarabhai was running for a fixed amount of time on TV, I had met both J.D. Majethia and Aatish Kapadia and asked why they were not extending the serial like everyone did. Their answer was simple: they wanted comedy caliber, not mere cash.

Clearly, times have changed, if the digital reprise of Sarabhai Vs. Sarabhai, their new effort last year (Happy Family: Conditions Apply) and this film have conclusively proved.

And that is the most unfunny aspect of all!

Rating: ½ star

Hats Off Productions’ and Zee Studios’ Khichdi 2: Mission Panthukistan   Produced by: Vineet Jain & Jamnadas Majethia  Written & Directed by: Aatish Kapadia  Music: Chirantan Bhatt  Starring: Supriya Pathak Kapur, Rajeev Mehta, Anang Desai, Vandana Pathak, Jamnadas Majethia, Anant Vidhaat, Reyansh Vir Chaddha,  Kirti Kulhari, Farah Khan, Pratik Gandhi, Flora Saini, Kiku Sharda



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here