Banners: T-Series, Maddock Films, Bake My Cake Films
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Dinesh Vijan, Sandeep Leyzell
Director: Rohit Jugraj
Cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Kriti Sanon, Varun Sharma, Ronit Roy, Seema Pahwa, Pankaj Tripathi, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Writers: Ritesh Shah, Sandeep Leyzell
Music: Sachin-Jigar, Akash D, Guru Randhawa
A film which is making fun of itself is the core thought behind Arjun Patiala and the makers have taken that as a challenge. Becoming one of the rarely seen spoof films the Hindi film industry has had, the film is a mixture of sneaky punch-lines, slapstick antics and a sort of randomness that does not fall into place eventually.
Arjun Patiala is about Arjun Patiala, a judo champion from the city of Punjab who then becomes a sub-inspector for a small town called Ferozpur. A guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, he falls for every good looking girl that walks through the door but then his heart skips a beat when he bumps into crime reporter Ritu Randhawa. With his sidekick Onida, Arjun does everything he can to impress the girl. Trying to fulfil the wishes of his senior and idol DSP Gill of making Ferozpur a crime-free place, Arjun takes help of Ritu and then forms a diabolical plan to eradicate the key players of the mafia in town, which also includes local politicians. Whether he does end up impressing the girl and weeding out crime from the town, is what forms the crux of this story.
Writers Ritesh Shah and Sandeep Leyzell create a world that that might not be all candy floss and unicorns, but it gives you a tour of one with simple people and some comedy. Self-deprecating humour is a tricky task to accomplish; the writers here mock the quintessential Hindi cop films that we have all grown up watching. The script has its fair share of one-liners that will crack you up but they are unevenly distributed with most of them spent in the first half. The second half drastically brings down what little energy this film had in the first half, with its lack of humour and scant emotional moments, it fails to connect with the viewers.
The film stays true to its genre as they make fun of their own situations. Like the scene where Varun Sharma falls of a bridge but with the ropes attached to him and the ‘regret the inconvenience due to budget issues’ line appears onscreen, is funny but too many obvious jokes spoil the impact of the punch lines. The storyline explores all the textbook characters that we have or used to have, in the majority of our films. From the hero to hero ki heartbeat, a number of villains, hero ka hero and many others, we see the film introducing all the characters and this step makes Arjun Patiala perfectly fit into the genre of a spoof.
The video game pop-ups on the screen add a certain tone of freshness to an otherwise classic cop-comedy. But things start going downhill in the second half when the makers go overboard with the graphics that keep interrupting the narrative.
Music is not one of the strongest points in the film. Apart from Main deewana tera, the other tracks are forgettable. Arjun Patiala also takes us back to several evergreen classics. The title track of Aashiqui, Tu mile dil khile and Zooby doobi are perfectly placed in tandem with the situations in the film and they do take us through a happy nostalgia trip.
A finer edit could have helped the film and that is saying something about a movie which is only an hour and forty-seven minutes long. The cinematography of the film is only visible when the famous khets of Punjab come into a forced romantic number but otherwise, it is pretty basic.
Performance-wise, Diljit Dosanjh is the centre of attraction in this story. The roller-coaster storyline might not make sense at times but the actor with his adorable demeanour manages to effortlessly sail through it. Kriti Sanon has good screen presence. The actress lands some punches right but falters in the emotional scenes. Varun Sharma reprises the funny sidekick role he has played many times before and does an average job of it. Ronit Roy is good. Seema Pahwa does not have much to do. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub has an interesting character that he plays with conviction. A talent like Pankaj Tripathi is wasted with a weak cameo in the film.