We’re only two months into 2018, but all Bollywood movies that are to come this year would have a tough time living up to the unparalleled levels of bizarreness, nothingness and meaninglessness that Welcome to New York has in abundance. We might already have seen the worst Bollywood film of the year – at least to be released in Pakistan – or at the very least one of the leading contenders, come the year’s end.
There have been many satirical depictions of Bollywood over the years, and Welcome to New York also claims to be a spoof of certain aspects of the Indian film industry. What it does manage to achieve, however, is spoof the cinema-goers, in what was a hoax of epic proportions.
Teji (Diljit Dosanjh) and Jinal Patel (Sonakshi Sinha) are struggling to fulfill their dreams of making it big with Bollywood in their own aspirations. Teji believes he can take on the best that the film industry has to offer in terms of acting talent, while Jinal wants to dress them up and make her name as the premier designer in the field.
They’re in luck, because they have been selected by IIFA (International Indian Film Academy), via a talent hunt competition, to perform with the actors that they’ve dreamt of working with.
Thenceforth, chaos is supposed to ensue. And it does – but not in the edge-of-your-seats thrill-a-minute ride way, but rather in the headless chicken way.
For a hysterical parody of Bollywood, which Welcome to New York aspires to be, the film does have quite a few of the right personnel. There is Boman Irani, who is supposed to be running the entire show. Lara Datta has successfully forayed into comedy as well. And then there are Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh – the latter starring in numerous successful comedies, the former epitomising everything that can aptly be satirised in Bollywood and regularly manifesting self-deprecating humour on TV.
Playing himself, Karan Johar did vie to do the same for Welcome to New York: the evil alter-ego, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai as means of torture, the classist, obnoxious aura. However, he is let down by the one thing that can sum up Welcome to New York: wretched writing.
While Karan Johar is a famous failure in acting, it is Riteish Deshmukh, Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh who have the most to lose in this junkyard of a film
Any attempt at comedy falls flat when the writing simply isn’t good enough. There is absolute dearth of any humour – of any brand whatsoever – and the puns seemed to be forced in through a screwdriver. What that means is that even the occasional joke that might have drawn its fair share of laughter in more competently written scripts got lost in the whirlpool of doleful attempts at making people laugh.
Welcome to New York clearly endeavours to sell itself through the many big names that make a cameo in the film set in Bollywood. Among these is Khan brothers’ trio spearheaded by Salman Khan, the man who can make similarly poorly written films work through his presence. Unfortunately, a cameo with a song would definitely not have sufficed to save Welcome to New York.
While Karan Johar is a famous failure in acting – as he managed to spoof through his alter-ego referring to his role in Bombay Velvet – it is Riteish Deshmukh, Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh who have the most to lose in being an integral part of this junkyard of a film.
Riteish Deshmukh has had a tough five years, and perhaps hasn’t quite recovered from the catastrophe that Humshakals was. His career is clearly nosediving, and Welcome to New York was definitely what he did not need.
Sonakshi Sinha might be able to weather the storm, but would need Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi to do even better now, with the sequel expected to release later this year.
Even so, the film is especially a blow for Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh, and his quest to make it big in the Hindi film industry.