Rating: 1/5
If this is what a virtuoso like Anees Bazmee gives you, you must have major trust issues in life

How frequently has it happened to you that you’re almost on the verge of leaving the theaters mid way but stay back only because you’ve shelled the money out? Pagalpanti will probably break your record. The film is outrageously intolerable. Crossing all limits of ‘bad’, the film couldn’t stoop further down.

Pagalpanti, hindi, review, film, 2019
From top left: Anil Kapoor, Director Anees Bazmee, Saurabh Shukla, Kriti Kharbanda, Pulkit Samrat, Illeana D’Cruz, John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Urvashi Rautela (image source: bollywoodhungama.com)

Raj Kishore (John Abraham) is eternally unlucky, not just for himself but also for people close to him- most prominently his friends Junky (Arshad Warsi) and Chandu (Pulkit Samrat). With chance encounter, they end up getting an employment with underworld dons Raja Sahab (Saurabh Shukla) and Wifi (Anil Kapoor). Madness ensues.

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The film doesn’t have jokes. What the joke is, that you’re asked to laugh on things the makers refer as jokes. The story by 3 people- Bazmee, Praful Parekh, and Rajiv Kaul is absolutely crap. The writers cleverly throw a teenage fantasy and camouflage it in the name of a story.

Over the top action, loud shouting actors, and a clear hotch potch of incompetent screenplay elements- the film is simply pointless. Here you wonder, why aren’t the actors of the likes of Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, John Abraham, or Arshad Warsi able to gauge while shooting that the film is going to crash and come crumbling down?

Pagalpanti, hindi, review, film, 2019
On sets of the film (image source: iwmbuzz.com)

The film is brainless. Agreed. The film is slapstick. Taken. The film was positioned this way. Okay. You shouldn’t expect logic and plausibility of the plot. On point. But the film, a comedy film, should make you laugh, right? Except for only 5 scenes, literally 5, the film doesn’t even make you smile. Instead, you find yourself cringing and waiting first for interval and then to see the end credits rolling.

It’s a crass attempt at comedy, where for almost the entire run time, you sit with a serious plain face. Is that what you call a comedy? Amateur, naive, and age old jokes are thrown amid situations that are not suitable even for kids’ comics.

While you keep expecting some substance in the story, you soon give up and realize it’s just your false hope. Nothing happens and you just wait for the film to somehow end, only to come out of theaters victorious for having seated all throughout. The film is an extreme slog, where there is not a single relief. Elements are randomly thrown at you in the name of circus, instant glue, lions, and even patriotism- none of which is able to make this tolerable.


Anil Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, and John Abraham give a decent act. Because you like them, you kind of swing of them. Not that they are great. But they manage to keep you hooked. Having said that, even these people remain dry in this spell.

Pulkit Samrat as always tries to score on his boyish charm, but fails to connect with you. He offers a few witty one liners, but overall isn’t worth it. Saurabh Shukla is too loud and overly irritating. Blame it on the writing as much as his performance.

Inaamulhaq as Niraj Modi (modelled on of course, you know who) is moderately okay. His character seems more suited for a stage skit rather than a film like this. Zakir Hussain is a total waste in this goof-up of characters. So is Mukesh Tiwari, made to look godly but is laughable.

Pagalpanti, hindi, review, film, 2019
Scenes from the film (image source: dnaindia.com)

Kriti Kharbanda, Illeana D’Cruz, and Urvashi Rautela- all three have been reduced to look pretty, which they flawlessly do, and mouthing stupid dialogues.

Brijendra Kala is also mundane. A great actor, totally put to be wasted.


Songs by an army of composers are too many and completely out of place. They give you more pain than serving as breathers. You crave for a forward button in a film like this. It would at least take you out of the theaters some 30 mins earlier. Background score by Sajid Wajid is also just like the film- jarring and superfluous.

Camera by Sunil Patel is very ordinary. The film appears quite artificial at a lot of places. It is indeed a colorful film, adding to the flavor and feel of the film. But what purpose can it serve when the writing is hellbent on tearing the whole piece apart? Production design works well with the camera department and achieves the best it can.

Editing by Prashant Singh Rathore doesn’t accomplish its own aim. The film is a bore. Lethargic. While a film of this kind should have been bubbling with joy, speed, and enthusiasm, it only remains a pretentious effort in doing so.

If this is Bollywood’s answer to comedy genre, that too after over a 100 years of cinema, we are absolutely fine without a single film in this territory. Films like these pull Bollywood back, drastically, in its effort to rise up and match to the global standards. Pray all you lovers of Hindi cinema, that the Almighty instills some more sense in filmmakers, especially the ones well accomplished in their craft, like the director of this film.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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