If you are going to extend a franchise, then this is perhaps the right way to go about it. Eleven years after the first film Golmaal: Fun Unlimited released, Rohit Shetty and team put together the 150-minute-long fourth outing Golmaal Again.
Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi, Shreyas Talpade, Tusshar Kapoor and Kunal Kemmu reunite with two new female leads – Parineeti Chopra and Tabu – in this ghost-comedy.
Arshad Warsi, Tabu, Ajay Devgn, Parineeti Chopra and in a still from Golmaal Again. YouTube
The credits roll over a riot of colours, cars and the signature Golmaal dance move before the first scene opens in a Hogwarts-meets-Jane-Austen-style library. Anna (Tabu), the librarian, has a secret quality – she can see and communicate with the spirit world. She recounts a strange experience involving six orphans and the benevolent founder of the orphanage.
Gopal (Devgn), who has a fear of the dark, and Laxman (Talpade), with his comic lisp, have a long enmity with Lucky (Kapoor reprising that tiresome speech-impaired act), Madhav (Warsi) and Lakshman (Kemmu). However, they are bonded by their affection for an orphan baby girl, who they name Khushi.
Much of the flashback period is designed (and coloured) like a children’s storybook. In the present, the grown up and now infamous five represent rival land-sharks. Gopal, egged on by Laxman, beats up people to claim plots for Bubbly (Sanjay Mishra doing exactly what he always does in wigs and with Sajid-Farhad’s dialogue). The other three boys work for Vasooli bhai (Mukesh Tiwari) and stage hauntings to scare residents out of prime properties.
With news of the sudden passing of their foster parent, the five boys reunite in Ooty after 25 years. This sets off events destined to change their lives. For one reason and another, they all move into a palatial house (as gaudy as the Bigg Boss house) next door to the orphanage which they realise is occupied by a ghost.
It is pretty obvious from almost her second scene that Parineeti Chopra is an apparition. No spoilers here. And the writers put in enough hints to reveal this to the audience. After establishing this vast ensemble, Shetty then introduces the sinister plot (screenplay by Yunus Sajawal) which centres around two avaricious and villainous builders.
Almost all of the second half is devoted to freeing the ‘bhatakti aatma’ (disquiet spirit) and bringing the baddies to book. Every now and again, Johny Lever pops up and breaks the seriousness of the dark plot with his brand of slapstick humour. The screenplay suffers with a surplus of characters and repetition as each one needs to be convinced of the presence of a ghost.
To the principal cast already mentioned, expect Prakash Raj, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vrajesh Hirjee and Sachin Khedekar to pop up. And while most of the humour is family friendly and playing to the galleries, a cameo from Nana Patekar is an ace in the pack.
Besides the garish production design, overuse of colours and the eardrum-shattering sound design and background music, the costumes are questionable. Some look like the designers got a five-for-the-price-of-two deal, and the mock ghost costumes are distinctly akin to the white dress of the extremist Ku Klux Klan.
I must admit that this might be the most enjoyable of the four Golmaal films because there is actually a plot and the by-now-familiar characters are less annoying while the annoying ones are partially relegated to the background. Kudos to Shetty for reinventing a mindless comic brand to a duo-genre and giving it a new lease of life.