Monday, 30th October 2017

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Totally unwelcome

The worst film of the year… and it’s only February!

By Priyanka Roy
  • Published 26.02.18
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We never understood how the film got shot… Pata hi nahin chala!” Diljit Dosanjh had told t2 last week. After suffering Welcome To New York on Saturday morning, we know exactly what he was talking about. First things first, Welcome To New York is not a film; it’s a couple of episodes and incidents — some unintentionally hilarious, but most that grate on the nerves — stitched together to give you a headache that lasts well beyond its two-hour running time. Yes, there’s no easy way to put it — Welcome To New York will possibly go down as the worst film of 2018, and we are only in February now!

Built around the IIFA Awards — the Bollywood award extravaganza that takes place on foreign shores every year — Welcome to New York is a one-line idea stretched to a 120-minute film. It has some Bolly A-listers starring in it and many more — including Salman Khan — chipping in with cameos, but nothing can redeem this incoherent mess directed by debutant Chakri Toleti.

Interested in the wafer-thin plot? Shot during the IIFAs in New York last year, the film has Lara Dutta’s Sophia, an organiser of the event, deciding to get back at her tyrant boss Gary (Boman Irani), by sabotaging the awards. How? By flying down talent contest winners Jinal (Sonakshi Sinha) and Teji (Diljit Dosanjh) to the Big Apple to hobnob with the biggest of Bolly. The catch: Jinal, who dreams of designing clothes for Salman Khan but can’t even thread a needle properly, and Teji, an acting aspirant with zero calibre, are probably the most talent-less people in the country. Plonking the two in the middle of this big Bolly fest in an alien city could have given rise to some laugh-out-loud moments. But Welcome To New York squanders whatever little potential the premise promises. We would have welcomed an insider look at the business and backend, method and machinations of award shows, but what we get is a film that’s both unfunny and inane.

It doesn’t help that the cameos are as pointless as the film. A large part of Welcome To New York has stars — Varun Dhawan to Sushant Singh Rajput, Preity Zinta to Kriti Sanon — walking in and out of the frame, but nothing of what they say or do makes much sense. Toleti does make some of them have fun at their own expense — that moment where Katrina Kaif dismisses an actor as “incompetent” is priceless — but such instances are few and far between.

The only time you will find yourself chuckling is when Karan Johar, doing acting duties here, is on screen. The man, known for his self-deprecating humour, plays two roles here — Karan Johar the filmmaker and his doppelganger Arjun, who hates both KJo and his films. Karan breezes through both the roles — a scene in an elevator where Diljit’s Teji insists on playing a Koffee with Karan-style rapid fire with him is LOL — and he effortlessly nails lines like, “Vaada? But what about my Prada?”  and “Armaani? Uspe toh mere armaan hain!”

If only Welcome to New York was half as much fun.