It’s 2021 and the real Bunty and Babli, Vimmi and Rakesh are a domesticated, homely, middle-aged, middle-class couple with a son. They are past their funky glorious con lives. Rakesh works for the Railways as a ticket collector and Vimmi is a homemaker, with a flamboyant taste in fashion, and has a knack for following Sabhyasachi’s designs.

Debutant director-writer Varun V Sharma’s Bunty Aur Babli 2 begins on the premise of a dent in their not-so-gala but happy lives when they realize that they have been robbed of their identity as the famous con couple. Somebody is using their brand name after 15 years to steal money. The original Bunty and Babli must return to action, to help the police catch them. Vimmi played by Rani Mukerji is still bold and confident, though she has a built-up sense of insecurity with her age.

Rani Mukerji is sublime as Vimmi. It cannot be ignored that when Saif Ali Khan and Rani are together on the screen, they do create indomitable magic. Saif Ali Khan who roped in as Rakesh after Abhishek Bachchan refused to return for the sequel, has fit in quite nicely. Rani, Saif and the dope paunch belly of his character seemingly have great chemistry.

But was it enough for the sequel to thrive? It is understandable that Bunty Aur Babli which was released in 2005 connected to the audience in a very roguish, Bollywood manner. The credit is to be given where it is due; Rani and Abhishek as Bunty and Babli created a world, in which you, I, and every judgmental desi-geek could empathize with their not-so-easy ways. A couple of dreamers, who got beaten down by society.

However, Bunty and Babli, 2.0, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharwari Wagh are distant and strangers as characters. Unlike the previous Bunty and Babli, they are also do-gooders, somewhere in the lines of Robinhood. Both the beginnings and endings of their characters are not present in the plot. Pankaj Tripathi who is taking Amitabh Bachchan’s place in the sequel has less to offer than usual.

The actors in the film have given remarkable performances. Chaturvedi and Wagh too are responsible for their craft, however poor writing and loopholes in screenplay make the film a cliched sequel: A rich legacy to expectations but a disheartening tale at the end.

The film had a very interesting base to work with. However, comedy is a different ball game. Sometimes, it is just not about whacky one-liners or thought-provoking monologues, it must go beyond and make one laugh! In the film, it seems like Rani is trying to hold it all with her perfect timing and gorgeous dresses which are in fact designed by the celebrity designer Sabyasachi Mukherji.

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