Cirkus (2022), the latest offering from Rohit Shetty, is a story about mistaken identities regarding two sets of identical twins separated during infancy and the chaos that ensues when they enter each other’s lives again years later. Sadly, it is a painstaking enterprise laced with mediocre comedy as one ridiculous so-called comical scene follows another in a terribly amateurishly attempt to tickle our funny bone.
The film begins in the late 1940s. Dr Roy Jamnadas (Murali Sharma) wants to conduct an experiment to prove the power of nurturing a child is much greater than the strength of a bloodline. But he does not get support from the medical fraternity. Roy, along with his friend Joy, also runs an orphanage. One day, destiny provides Joy with the opportunity to try out his theory. He spits two pairs of identical twins by giving one twin from each set to two different couples. So one pair is adopted by an industrialist and his wife living in Bangalore while the other duo is nurtured by a couple running a circus in Ooty. Both couples decide to name the children after Roy and Joy. As time unfolds, one of the Roys (Ranveer Singh) earns fame and success as a circus performer earning the sobriquet ‘Electric Man’ while Joy (Varun Sharma) has become a jester. Roy is married to Mala (Pooja Hegde), a writer who pens mystery books under a pseudonym. The other Roy and Joy (Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma again) are successful businessmen residing in Bangalore. Roy is an ardent fan of the novels written by Mala. He is also in love with Bindu (Jacqueline Fernandez), the daughter of a rich businessman, Rai Bahadur (Sanjay Mishra). When Roy and Joy from Bangalore visit Ooty for a business deal, the chaos begins…
William Shakespeare’s play, The Comedy Of Errors, has seen various Indian adaptations hitting the silver screen beginning with the Bengali film, Bhranti Bilas (1963). The film sees Uttam Kumar and Bhanu Bannerji playing the dual roles. Kishore Kumar and Asit Sen enacted the double roles in Do Dooni Char (1968), written by Gulzar. Gulzar’s own version, Angoor (1982), is perhaps the most well-known Indian screen version of the bard’s play with Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma as the two sets of identical twins. If Angoor is regarded as one of the finest adaptations of The Comedy Of Errors, Cirkus, is undoubtedly the worst and that too, by quite a mile.
The film has absolutely nothing going for it. The comic situations as well as the peurile dialogue writing in the film (Farhad Samji, Sanchit Bedre and Vidhi Ghodgaonkar) reek of juvenility. The world of the film is invaded with far too many characters, many of who have acted in Shetty’s previous films. Their sole purpose is limited to cracking one silly, unfunny dialogue after the other in Cirkus. Shallow characterizations and a lack of any sort of layering whatsoever drive the final nail in the film’s coffin.
Technically, the film is a big let down. Jomon T John, the DOP, creates a brightly lit and garishly colorful world but is defeated by the tepid production design of the film . The VFX of the film, too, is shockingly shoddy. The editing of the film by Bunty Nagi desperately attempts to salvage the film from becoming a yawn-inducing drag but is only partially successful at best. The background score by Amar Mohile also works only in bits and pieces. Of the songs, Current Laga Re and Sun Zara, though forcefully added to the narrative, are peppy and well-composed.
Ranveer Singh has proven in the past that even if a script is dull and torpid, he can still rise above it. But here the mountain he has to conquer is steeper and higher. Still, he does manage a few moments to himself and shows substantial chemistry in the item number with wife, Deepika Padukone. Sanjay Mishra as the rich, arrogant and doubtful Rai Sahab manages to give some life to an otherwise caricature-like character while Siddhartha Jadhav endows the character of the thief, Momo, with a few funny bits until he becomes repetitive. The rest of the cast including Varun Sharma is under-utilized even as they are made to perform in a highly exaggerated manner in the name of comedy.
Today, we have reached a stage in Indian cinema where four Indian films in different categories have been shortlisted for the Academy Awards. However, Cirkus, without much effort, could well get nominated in multiple categories for the Razzies if foreign films were considered. What’s more, it might even win in some of those categories. That would be a first were it to happen.
Hindi, Comedy, Color