A Witless Comedy :
The kind of cinema Rohit Jugraj’s Arjun Patiala attempts to spoof–the ‘scriptless’ formula Bollywood caper comedy movie– is so ridiculous anyway, that the joke is on the filmmaker.
The film as it unspools, is from the mind of director (Abhishek Bannerjee), pitching his story to a producer (Pankaj Tripathi), who says he has been making films for decades, without bothering about scripts!). All he needs to be sure about is that the film is not “lady-oriented” and that there place for Sunny Leone. The idea is snooze-worthy—the 245th Policewali Picture, as helpfully explained by the promo– that contains the best bits from the bland film.
Arjun (Diljit Dosanjh) is an enthusiastic judo champ, who gets to be sub-inspector under the sports quota. Nevertheless, he wants to clean up the town of Ferozpur where he is posted, because “hero ka hero” top cop Gill (Ronit Roy) says so. Ritu (Kriti Sanon) is a TV journalist (who uses a digital voice recorder!) and his romantic interest, who appreciates his mission but not his method—of pitting criminals against one another. The sidekick is Onidda Singh (Varun Sharma), who has been given the job of digging for laughs, because not one of the other actors can manage even a chuckle, try as they might.
Like so many recent films set in small towns, this one too lines up an ensemble of fine supporting actors and wastes them—besides Ronit Roy and Pankaj Tripathi, there’s Seema Pahwa as MLA Prapti “Property” Makkad, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as a goon called Sakool and yes, Sunny Leone does appear for the “no reason at all” item number.
Diljit Dosanjh has a wholesome charm and attractive screen presence– he deserves a better film than Arjun Patiala. Kriti Sanon, like leading ladies of the past, is there to provide glamour and shake a leg. It’s almost painful to see the gags that must have looked funny on paper fall so flat on screen; the emojis and computer graphics do not help. In short, Arjun Patiala is just not funny! Still, the inevitable question is asked at the end: will it run? It will be very surprising if it does!