In 2011, there were reports suggesting that Rohit Shetty was keen to remake Gulzar’s ‘Angoor’ (1982), a film which was based on Shakespeare’s classic ‘The Comedy of Errors’. The film, reportedly, was going to feature Shah Rukh Khan who would have reprised the role(s) played by Sanjeev Kumar in the original. The two characters portrayed by Deven Verma in the original were to be essayed by Tusshar Kapoor. A while later, Shah Rukh Khan confirmed in an interview that Rohit and him were planning to team upon a remake of ‘Angoor’ but the project was put on the backburner for some reason and the two of them, instead, collaborated on ‘Chennai Express’ which was based on an original script.
A decade later, Rohit finally gets to realize his dream of remaking ‘Angoor’. The film is called ‘Cirkus’ and features Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma in double roles along with an ensemble cast comprising of Pooja Hegde, Jacqueline Fernandez, Murali Sharma, Sanjay Mishra, Ashwini Kalsekar, Johnny Lever, Siddharth Jadhav, Mukesh Tiwari and others. The film marks Rohit’s second collaboration with Ranveer after ‘Simmba’ which released in 2018.
As the film begins, we are transported to the year 1942. Dr. Roy Jamnadas (Murli Sharma) is a social scientist who believes that a child’s development or what he grows up to be is not dependent on their bloodline but the way they are raised. Dr. Roy also runs an orphanage named Jamnadas Orphanage along with Joy Jamnadas (Uday Tikekar). Since both Roy and Joy grew up as orphans, they understand the importance of children, who are orphans, being adopted by good families. To prove his theory right, Dr. Roy separates two sets of twins, who are about to be adopted, and decides that he will inform them about the fact that they have a twin each three decades later. The two sets of parents who adopt the children name them after Roy and Joy as a mark of respect and gratefulness for giving them the opportunity to experience parenthood.
‘The Comedy of Errors’ is a play that has been interpreted in different ways in multiple films and TV shows. Rohit Shetty and his team of writers (Yunus Sajawal, Farhad Samji, Sanchit Bedre and Vidhi Ghodgaonkar) set a part of the story against the backdrop of a circus, mount it on a large scale and tried to create enough space in the screenplay for humour to be injected. While the story had a lot of promise, the screenplay is an absolute downer.
One of the biggest issues with the film is the fact that there are too many characters and sub-plots and most of them have not been treated properly. The film is filled with forced humour, the kind that might compel a section of the audience to walk out halfway through the film. The scenes, written to evoke humour, come across as juvenile. The dialogues give one the impression that these are the lines that remained unused in some of his earlier comedies. The visuals of the film bring in a sense of déjà vu and not in a good way. Reinventing his visual style and working with a different set of writers, perhaps, are the two things Rohit needs to do.
While one understands that Rohit wanted the film to have a comic-book feel to it, the production design (Swapnil Bhalerao and Madhur Madhavan) is a big let-down. In the scene, where Roy and Joy come out of the railway station in Ooty, you can see the cutout of a train being plastered behind as a part of the set. The camerawork (Jomon T. John) is good. While ‘Current Laga Re’ makes for a good watch because of Ranveer and Deepika Padukone’s energy, the only song that is sonically impressive is ‘Sun Zara’ (composer: Devi Sri Prasad, lyrics: Kumaar, singers: Papon and Shreya Ghoshal). The background score (Amar Mohile) makes an impact in a few scenes. The action, choreographed by Sunil Rodrigues and designed by Rohit Shetty, is just about decent.
Ranveer Singh puts his best forward and doesn’t give one a reason to complain about his performance. Varun Sharma does well but one wishes the two characters played by him were designed more elaborately. Pooja Hegde looks elegant but gets limited scope to perform. Jacqueline Fernandes barely leaves a mark. Sanjay Mishra’s, undoubtedly, is the brightest spot in the film. Even when he is saddled with a poorly written scene, he makes it work to some extent through his performance. Siddharth Jadhav features in some of the most annoying scenes in the film. However, the actor doesn’t disappoint with his performance. Murli Sharma, too, pitches in with a good performance and one wonders why we don’t see enough of him in Hindi films. Mukesh Tiwari gets some moments to shine. Anil Charanjeett, too, gets adequate scope. Vrajesh Hirjee, Ashwini Kalsekar, Nikitin Dheer, Brijendra Kala and Tiku Talsania have been wasted in inconsequential roles.
‘Cirkus’ is plagued by a weak screenplay and pedestrian humour. The film makes it clear that Rohit Shetty’s brand of humour and entertainment is in need of a reinvention.