All the characters, colours and chaos cannot make up for lack of comedy

Story: Two sets of identical twins separated at birth, end up in the same town at the same time, years later. The confusion and misunderstanding that ensues throws their lives into a tizzy.

Review: A square and B square are the names of the twins, who are later christened as Roy (Ranveer Singh) and Joy (Varun Sharma) by the two different couples, who adopt them. Thus, unknowingly putting in place a recipe for disaster and confusion that is bound to play out when these four boys grow up and bump into each other. That’s precisely the one-line story (if we can call it that) of this Rohit Shetty film that’s supposed to be a comedy of errors but is abysmally low on that ingredient.

Set in the picturesque green hills of Ooty and carefully created colourful and unreal set pieces that look like a theme park, ‘Cirkus’ is based in the late 60s or early 70s era, as the film desperately tries to pay a tribute to the cinema of the time. Many classic Bollywood numbers pop up in the background at every given opportunity and the only thing louder than the yesteryear costumes of the actors, is their acting. It’s an all-out slapstick comedy but the problem is not that, as Bollywood has seen several films in that genre that have taken the audience along with it for a joyride. It also includes some films from Rohit Shetty’s stable.

Collectively, barely a scene or two manage to evoke the kind of laughter we are used to experiencing in a Rohit Shetty film. Sample this, our hero Roy is immune to high voltage shocks and his showstopper act at his ‘Jubilee Cirkus’ is to dramatically make two live wires kiss each other, with his bare hands. But everytime he does that his judwaa bhai experiences a massive electric shock and so does anyone who touches him. All is well with him once the act is over. If you can get past this, then you’d perhaps have a little less discomfort in sitting through the rest of the plot that involves caricatures, good actors wasted in stereotypical characters, unfunny dialogues, and situations that literally go nowhere. The screenplay offers nothing fresh in terms of comedy and punchlines and suffers from abject repetition.

Ranveer Singh tries to do his best in portraying both his characters, but sadly both the parts lack enough conviction. Deepika Padukone’s cameo in the song ‘Current Laga Re’ is a highlight that comes as a true respite. Varun Sharma’s comic timing is criminally wasted here and, in the end, it’s upto the ever-so-dependable Johny Lever (as Polson bhai) to bring in some much-needed organic laughter. The ace comedian creates more rib-tickling moments in his few minutes of screentime than the entire cast put together. Pooja Hegde looks resplendent in her sombre role of Roy’s wife Mala. Jacqueline Fernandez steps in to add the glam quotient as Roy’s girlfriend and does just that. Sanjay Mishra once again takes one for the team in a role that isn’t funny, but the actor makes up for the lack in the writing and the missing punchlines, which is a recurring problem of this unfunny mess.

‘Cirkus’ is a busy film filled with a battery of characters put together with a purpose to make us laugh, but is far from that. Entertaining the audience with slapstick comedy and drama is a tightrope that Rohit Shetty has successfully walked before but this time he seems to have tripped several times along the way.