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First things first. Jannat 2 isn’t a sequel to Jannat. If that was about match-fixing, this is about arms smuggling. The only common links? Leading man Emraan Hashmi and director Kunal Deshmukh. And since Hashmi was bumped off at the end of Part I, there isn’t much likelihood of him coming back to the same film. No, there isn’t a humshakal or a long-lost brother angle here. Should we be thankful for that? Well…

For Jannat 2, the Bhatt brothers raid the DVD racks yet again. The chosen victim? Nicolas Cage’s 2005 action drama Lord Of War, the story of an arms dealer who gets inexorably sucked into the ugly side of the business.

In Jannat 2, Hashmi’s Sonu Dilli KKC (Kutti Kameeni Cheez, if you please), a supplier of arms, is a bit player in the tamancha market. The business — or ‘bi-ness’ in Sonu’s Dilli jargon — is however much larger, the kingpin earning millions by transacting weapons of Moradabad make. Zeroing in on Sonu as a potential police informer is Pratap Raghuvanshi (Randeep Hooda), a tough-as-nails-cop who is perpetually high and perpetually on the boil. His vocab is restricted to a few words, often of the ‘ch’ and ‘bc’ variety. Having lost his wife to a shootout, he is on a single-minded mission to root out the illegal weapons market.

Sonu staves him off initially but changes his mind when he meets Jhanvi (Esha Gupta), a do-gooder doc. Wanting to mend his ways for his ladylove, the petty criminal joins hands with the cops. But nothing is what it seems and Sonu soon figures that he is into much more than what he had bargained for.

Four years ago, Jannat worked because of the gripping match-fixing theme and a believable love story. Jannat 2 is only partly gripping and often hugely predictable. The basic template of a crook with a heart of gold has been done to death in Bollywood and Jannat reloaded does nothing novel to merit a mention. Even the plot twists at interval point and the climax that aim to knock us off our plex seats can be spotted a mile away.

Sanjay Masoom’s dialogues are as trite as Shagufta Rafique’s writing is inconsistent. Whenever the film shows some promise in its action scenes (a chase on foot through the arteries of an old Delhi dargah is edge-of-the-seat) and the Hooda-Hashmi confrontations — the cop who brooks no nonsense versus a criminal who is cocky — the tepid love story rears its head to spoil the party.

It doesn’t really help that one half of the pair is a disaster in the acting department. Debutante Esha Gupta manages to keep just about one expression through the film, even through the liplocks with Bollywood’s serial kisser! And while the Kingfisher model is pretty in a Lara Dutta kind of way, the Jannat 2 publicity machinery did go stupidly overboard with the Angelina Jolie comparison. No Esha, even the put-on pout doesn’t get you anywhere close.

Emraan Hashmi can play characters like this with eyes wide shut (and lips puckered). But while the earnestness is there, the interest clearly isn’t and he does look a tad uncomfortable mastering the Punjabi accent and the language that is raw and often unpalatable. Which brings us to Randeep Hooda, the only reason why you may want to give Jannat 2 a watch this weekend. The swagger, the baritone and the take-it-or-leave-it demeanour come together in a performance that stands out in a mediocre film. Unfortunately that isn’t enough to blot out Jannat 2’s many flaws.

And in this Bollywood-comes-to-Bengal season, we leave you with our Badly Bengali moment from the film. When Ms Silly Pout tells Mr Serial Kisser that she has made honeymoon plans at — hold on to your chairs — Digha! Why? “Humein koi disturb nahin karega kyunki wahaan pe koi mobile network nahin hai”.

Pssst: Jannat 3 in Digha with Paoli D?!

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