When Bheja Fry was released in 2007, mostly a shot by shot copy of the 1998 French hit Le Dîner De Cons (The Dinner Game), no one expected it to be such a big hit. Yet, in the character of Bharat Bhushan, they had created a character people could relate to, so what if the French had done all the hard work behind it.
Four years later, Mr. Bhushan is back to irritate the bad guys and spread his good humoured innocence around. And though it is at least half an hour too long, it still works.
After winning a TV contest, tax-inspector Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak) is invited to be part of a cruise ship. Also on a leisure trip is fraudster Ajit Talwar (Kay Kay Menon) who comes to know of a tax inspector in disguise on the boat out to catch him. He thinks it is Bhushan and tries to kill him only for both him and Bhushan to be stranded on an uninhabited island.
Will Talwar survive Bhushan`s antics?
Bheja Fry 2 does not have the innocent charm of the first part. Mainly because the surprise element of the first is gone and also because unlike in the original, which was a copy, the makers have had to put their thinking cap on. Thus while the original seemed immaculate in its conception, this one jars more than once during it over two hour duration.
The greatest inconsistency is in the camera work, which would go into extreme close up, and suddenly draw back to give a panorama, causing undesired irritation.
Instead of relying on slapstick, the film relies on situational humour. That is indeed a refreshing change for an Indian comedy. However, many humorous possibilities from these situations are simply frittered away, especially on a cruise boat full of pompous, rich people, thus showing poor imagination from the creators.
The metaphor of the original, which was not to judge a man by the way he behaves and instead to look at his heart, has been made. There`s nothing to look forward to in this pitting of an irritating but true man versus a suave conman.
Also, this part overshoots its welcome by at least half an hour, with some silly, cliched gags. A tighter editing, to match the length of the original would have evened out a lot of rough edges.
Yet, as popular comedies go in India, it is better than what the audiences in this nation are conned for in the name of comedy with films full of silly, sexist jokes, overdone and badly executed gags and complete lack of situational comedy.
Unwittingly thus, Bheja Fry 2 becomes a metaphor for what is wrong with popular Indian comedy today, unlike the comedies of the 1960s and 1970s: lack of fresh ideas and creative talents with the sense and timing enough to execute it.
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Bhushan (Vinay Pathak), the kind-hearted, naive roly-poly tax inspector is back to fulfill his long cherished dream of becoming a singer. To further his ambition he enters a game show, hoping to win a cash prize with which he can make his own music album. Eventually Bhushan goes on to win the competition which also gifts him a free stay on a cruise ship. On the cruise he meets Ajit Talwar (Kay Kay Menon), an acrid-tongued business tycoon who is taking cover on the cruise ship in order to hide from the income tax department. Close on his heels is tax inspector M.T. Shekharan (Suresh Menon), who is trying to unearth the identity of a con artist who has been eluding the authorities for a long time.