‘CIRKUS’ REVIEW | 23 December, 2022

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T-Series Films and Rohit Shetty Productionz’s Cirkus (UA) is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy Of Errors.

Roy Jamnadas (Murali Sharma) and Joy Jamnadas (Uday Tikekar) run an orphanage in Bangalore. At the doorstep of the orphanage, they find two pairs of tiny twins. Soon, there are two couples who are ready to adopt the two pairs of twins. However, to prove his theory that upbringing rather than bloodline is responsible for a good character, Roy Jamnadas mixes the two pairs of twins. Hence the couple living in Bangalore adopts one each of the two pairs of twins. Likewise, a couple from Ooty adopts one each of the two pairs of twins. In other words, two unrelated tiny tots are given for adoption to each of the two couples but passed off as twins. As a mark of respect to the two selfless owners of the orphanage, both the couples name the tiny tots Roy and Joy.

Even after they grow up with two different families, the two Roys (Ranveer Singh) are clueless that they have an identical twin brother in another city, who has the same name (Roy). Ditto for the grown-up Joys (Varun Sharma). The Bangalore-based Roy works in the circus owned by his father (Arjun Nagar). He performs a hair-raising feat — holding high-tension live wires in his bare hands in front of the audiences day in and day out. He can do so because he does not get electric shocks. In other words, he is shock-proof. But whenever he holds live wires, his identical twin brother, Roy (Ranveer Singh), who lives in Ooty, experiences an electric shock. Nobody is able to explain this phenomenon that affects both the Roys together.

While the Bangalore-based Roy is married to Mala (Pooja Hegde), the Ooty-based Roy is in love with Bindu (Jacqueline Fernandez). Rai Bahadur (Sanjay Mishra), father of Bindu, wants to be doubly sure about Roy’s character before he can give Bindu’s hand in marriage to Roy. However, he recalls seeing Roy in Bangalore with another girl. Obviously, he is unaware that the person whom he has seen is this Roy’s identical twin brother, and the girl with him is his wife, Mala.

Meanwhile, Mala keeps pestering Roy to adopt a child from the orphanage run by Roy Jamnadas. All hell breaks lose when the Ooty-based Roy and Joy come to Bangalore for a land deal. In Bangalore, one Roy is mistaken for the other; similarly, one Joy is mistaken for the other. One by one, the Ooty-based Rai Bahadur and Bindu also reach Bangalore. Of course, the confusion happens because nobody, except Roy Jamnadas and Joy Jamnadas, is aware of the fact that Roy has an identical twin brother and so does Joy. What happens finally?

The story about mistaken identities is, of course, interesting although it may not be novel. However, the adapted screenplay, written by Yunus Sajawal, is so half-baked that the comedy sought to be created falls flat on its face most of the times. Yes, some comic punches will be enjoyed by a section of the family audience, but the comedy at most other times is irritating. For both the Roys and both the Joys to never be told that they have twin brothers or that they (Roy and Joy) are not twins seems rather unbelievable. As if that’s not bad enough, for them to take so long to understand that each of them has a look-alike twin brother also seems weird. Roy Jamnadas talking to the audience at several points, especially in the first half, gets jarring after a point of time. The drama looks so stretched that the comedy runs out of steam within minutes of the start of the drama. Most of the sequences look forced into the drama to create confusion. Jeweller Veljibhai asking for time to fit the loose diamond, Yusuf delivering the diamond necklace to the wrong Roy, all important characters meeting the Ooty-based Roy exactly when he is about to get the electric shock initiated by his twin brother holding a live wire in Bangalore… all such scenes look so forced and half-baked that the viewers lose respect for the writer. And there are many more such scenes which do not flow seamlessly or naturally. The liberal use of old Bollywood hit songs to go with the drama is another instance of lazy writing. The writer should have at least kept some noticeable difference between the two Roys so that the audience would not have to waste a few seconds ever so often to understand which Roy is on the screen.

So many characters have been added in the drama — many of them, unnecessarily — that it becomes clear to the viewers that the rationale behind so many characters is to confuse them (viewers) and create comedy. The entire track of the loot gang looks like an appendage. Similarly, the characters often behave so weirdly that they pass off absolutely unusual happenings as if they were routine happenings. For instance, the weirdest of happening is taken by the characters in their stride as if it was expected to happen, or, if not so, as something to not be fussed over or looked into or discussed. Even the revelation of the suspense for the two Roys, the two Joys and for all the others in the lives of the Roys and the Joys, looks unexciting. The Ooty-based Joy pacifying the forever-worried Ooty-based Roy looks weird because Roy is played by Ranveer Singh who has the image of a hero whereas Joy is played by Varun Sharma who has the image of a character actor.

Dialogues, written by Farhad Samji, Sanchit Bedre and Vidhi Ghodgaonkar, are bad at most of the places and funny at some. The few dialogues do add to the comedy but at most other places, the dialogues are sub-standard. It’s a pity that the dialogues in an out-and-out comedy should be so pathetic.

Before we talk about performances, it must be underlined that hardly any actor has been able to shine, and that’s because the script is insipid. Ranveer Singh is okay in a double role as Roy. Nothing about his performance stands out. Pooja Hegde looks pretty but her acting is average. Jacqueline Fernandez looks glamorous but her performance is barely average. Varun Sharma is ordinary in a double role as Joy, having nothing substantive to do. Sanjay Mishra acts with effortless ease in the role of Rai Bahadur. Murali Sharma lends routine support as Roy Jamndas. Sulbha Arya does not impress as Chachi. Siddharth Jadhav is too loud as Momo. His use of incorrect English words is hardly funny (dull dialogues to be blamed for this). Johny Lever is sincere but not very funny in the role of Polson Dada. His track looks forced and appears like an appendage to the track of Momo, which itself looks like an add-on. Vrajesh Hirjee is earnest as Naagmani. Saurabh Gokhale is ordinary as police inspector Vikram. Mukesh Tiwari does a fine job as Daku Bageera. Ashwini Kalsekar has been wasted as Shakuntala Devi. Deepika Padukone lends tremendous glamour and star value in a special appearance in the ‘Bijli’ song. Arjun Nagar, as Shakuntala Devi’s husband, hardly gets any scope. Nikitin Dheer (as the owner of the circus) and Supriya Roy (as his wife) lend the desired support in brief roles. Anil Charanjeet (as Rai Bahadur’s personal assistant, Prem) leaves a mark. Radhika Bangia is so-so as Lily. Tiku Talsania (as Veljibhai), Brijendra Kala (as Yusuf), Uday Tikekar (as Joy Jamnadas), Vijay Patkar (as Polson Dada’s sidekick, Shankar), Ashish Warang (as Mango), Umakant Patil (as Chikki), Pratyaksh Panwar (as young Roy), Hridansh Gokani (as young Joy), Arya Mahajan (as the teenaged Roy), Krishna Panchal (as the teenaged Joy), Aalim Hakim (as Aalim), Parag Desai (as the bank manager), and the others provide routine support.

Rohit Shetty’s direction, handicapped as it is by the terribly weak script, is below the mark. On the music (Devi Sri Prasad, Lijo George-DJ Chetas and Badshah) front, the absence of super-hit songs is sorely felt. The ‘Bijli’ song is of the popular variety. The other songs are just about fair. Lyrics (Kumaar, Badshah and Hari) are in synch with the mood of the film — but that’s not saying much. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya) are eye-filling. Amar Mohile’s background music ought to have been far better. Jomon T. John’s cinematography and Girish Kant’s additional cinematography are good but not outstanding. Action scenes and stunts, designed by Rohit Shetty and choreographed by Sunil Rodrigues, should’ve been far more thrilling. Production designing (by Swapnil Bhalerao and Madhur Madhavan) is alright. Bunty Nagi’s editing leaves something to be desired.

On the whole, Cirkus is a poor fare and will not be able to make any mark at the ticket-windows. For its canvas and budget, it will do below-average business at the box-office.

Released on 23-12-’22 at Metro Inox (daily 18 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru PVR Pictures Ltd. Publicity: excellent, quantitatively speaking, but below the mark in terms of quality. Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was way below the mark at most of the places.