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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Khichdi 2: Mission Paanthukistan overcooks its comedy recipe, struggles to bring the house down

The Aatish Kapadia-directed film has cameo appearances by Pratik Gandhi, Kirti Kulhari and Farah Khan

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 18.11.23, 12:34 PM
The Parekh family of Hansa, Jayshree, Praful, Babuji and Himanshu in Khichdi 2

The Parekh family of Hansa, Jayshree, Praful, Babuji and Himanshu in Khichdi 2 Hats Off Productions

The Parekhs are back and are crazy as ever, but Khichdi 2: Mission Paanthukistan struggles to create the kind of comedic moments that were the hallmark of the original TV serial.

Conceived by Jamnadas Majethia (who plays Himanshu) and Aatish Kapadia, Khichdi debuted on television in 2002 and became a runaway hit. The laughter-filled journey with the Parekhs continued with the second season, Instant Khichdi, in 2004 and the film adaptation Khichdi: The Movie in 2010.

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Khichdi 2: Mission Paanthukistan, the second film directed by Aatish Kapadia, reunites us with the beloved Parekh family after 13 years through a convoluted plot line that sometimes borders on the absurd.

There’s Hansa (Supriya Pathak), Jayshree (Vandana Pathak), Praful (Rajeev Mehta), Babuji (Anang Desai) and Himanshu (Jamnadas Majethia) embarking on a mission to rescue an Indian scientist from the clutches of the king of Paanthukistan, at the request of TIA (Thodi Intelligent Agency) agent Kushal (Anant Vidhaat). The dictator of Paanthukistan, Imam Kha Ke Thuk (also played by Rajeev Mehta), bears a striking resemblance to Praful. Hence, the TIA wants to send the Parekhs on this perilous mission.

The plan unfolds with Hansa, Himanshu, Jayshree and Babuji posing as documentary filmmakers entering Paanthukistan, with Praful hidden in a box. The strategy includes Himanshu serving a spiked meal to the king Imam Kha Ke Thuk to knock him out, so that Praful can dress up in his clothes and slip into the ruler’s role.

After that, the Parekhs have to find scientist Makhanwala (Paresh Ganatra) who is being held captive by Imam Kha Ke Thuk. Makhanwala has created a dangerous robot and the Parekhs must ensure the robot doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. But however straightforward the plan might sound, you can trust the Parekhs to bungle it up and run into a tangle of mishaps in Paanthukistan, almost derailing their mission.

The 2010 Khichdi film had stood out for its witty dialogue and effortless camaraderie among the lead actors. It featured some memorable sequences, like Satish Shah’s cameo as Yamraj, a funeral scene where parodies of popular Hindi songs were played, and an uproarious court scene where Hansa played a lawyer.

While Khichdi 2 manages to sustain the chemistry among its main cast, it only has sporadic moments of humour instead of a consistent comedic rhythm. One of the reasons is the disjointed screenplay — written by Aatish Kapadia and Sourav Ghosh — which relies on drumming up an extravagant adventure for the Parekhs and several subplots instead of focusing on situational comedy that the TV serial is known for.

The Parekhs fly to the Swiss Alps, get on helicopter rides and desert chases, and even do a grand Bollywood dance number, but the laughs are few and far between. The most punchy dialogues in Khichdi 2 are a throwback to the popular lines from the TV show, be it Hansa asking the meaning of English words, or Jayshree busy chatting with her ‘Baa’ on phone even in the face of great adversity.

The cast led by Supriya Pathak delivers as usual. Pathak’s easy-going acting shines, elevating some scenes. Rajeev Menhta pulls off the dual role of Praful and Imam Kha Ke Thuk effectively. Jamnadas Majethia as Himanshu, Vandana Pathak as Jayshree and Anang Desai as Babuji are spot on. By now, all of them can perhaps perform their roles in sleep.

Among the cameos, the opening scene featuring Pratik Gandhi as a pilot captures the essence of the original show. On the other hand, the romantic track involving Kirti Kulhari as Himanshu’s wife Parminder feels out of place, given that she has limited screen presence in Khichdi 2 unlike in the first film where her character was pivotal. Even Farah Khan’s return as a director giving acting lessons to the Parekh family fails to make an impact.

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