Comedy is the flavor of the season. And sequels are rare in India. So if a dream merchant decides to make a sequel to an immensely popular laughathon, you fasten your seat belts and wait with bated breath for reels to unfold on the screen.
PHIR HERA PHERI is the sequel to HERA PHERI involving the famous trio -- Raju [Akshay Kumar], Shyam [Suneil Shetty] and Baburao [Paresh Rawal]. Only thing, the film has not been directed by Priyadarshan [who directed HERA PHERI], but Neeraj Vora, who has penned a number of Priyadarshan movies.
The question uppermost on everyone's lips is, Does PHIR HERA PHERI pale when compared to the predecessor? Or does it provide more laughs, gags and punches and lives up to the humungous expectations?
Before we answer the question on whether or not PHIR HERA PHERI works, let's get one thing straight. In keeping with the trend of laughathons that are the order of the day [NO ENTRY, GARAM MASALA, MALAMAAL WEEKLY et al], PHIR HERA PHERI also embarks on an identical route. Meaning, don't look for logic in the film, leave your thinking caps at home, never look for answers, rationale or reasons...
PHIR HERA PHERI doesn't promise to be different. It packs in ample laughs, illogical situations, rib-tickling sequences and witty one-liners in those 2.30 hours. In fact, writer-director Neeraj Vora borrows everything available on the shelf and comes up with a plot that may sound silly to a few, but nonetheless succeeds in its endeavor of making people laugh.
Comparisons with HERA PHERI are inevitable. However, since there has been a substantial gap between the two parts, PHIR HERA PHERI still stands out as a comic caper that's amusing and entertaining. Watch the frolics of the three buffoons [Raju, Shyam, Baburao] and how they goof up yet again and you'd agree, PHIR HERA PHERI is a sure-shot paisa-vasool entertainer!
HERA PHERI ended with the trio [Raju, Shyam, Baburao] receiving a hefty sum in the end. So what did the trio do with all the money? Did they live happily ever after? Or did they become greedy for more? PHIR HERA PHERI takes off from here...
Raju comes across a scheme of doubling his wealth in a matter of weeks. But for Raju's plan to materialize, he needs to invest a minimum of Rs. 1 crore with a chit-fund company [Bipasha Basu]. While Shyam and Baburao are initially reluctant, they give in subsequently. Raju, Shyam and Baburao contribute Rs. 10 lacs each, but there's a shortfall of Rs. 70 lacs now to complete the Rs. 1 crore figure.
Raju bumps into a street-smart goon [Rajpal Yadav], who also contributes Rs. 20 lacs. As for the remaining amount of Rs. 50 lacs, Raju sells the bungalow [owned by the three] to a Parsi gentleman [Dinesh Hingoo], thus fulfilling the criterion of the chit-fund company.
Three weeks later, Raju, Shyam and Baburao realize that the chit-fund company was actually a big scam and has duped a number of investors. The goon also finds himself in troubled waters since he had borrowed money from a dreaded gangster, Tiwari [Sharat Saxena], who will eliminate him if he does not pay up.
In their quest for more wealth, Raju, Shyam and Baburao find themselves in one big mess. They have already taken a big risk and are now on the run to save their lives.
It's not difficult to relate to PHIR HERA PHERI even if you haven't watched the first part [HERA PHERI]. Of course, Nana Patekar's voiceover at the outset gives you an insight and refreshes your memory, but the antics of the three principal characters and how they get conned by the scamster [Bipasha] keeps you focused all through the first hour.
In fact, the first part abounds in funny moments. Akshay trying to impress Rajpal Yadav at a tea stall and then at his mansion are such sequences. Later, Akshay, Suniel and Paresh's constant bickering and squabbling after they've gone bankrupt, keeps you thoroughly entertained. The jokes may seem juvenile at times, but the impact is very, very funny.
The post-interval portions aren't as amusing. The focus never shifts from the main plot, but with the writer involving more characters [Sharat Saxena, Milind Gunaji, Johny Lever, Manoj Joshi, Suresh Menon, Razzaq Khan] in the fracas, the pace of the film slackens intermittently in this hour. Also, the romantic track of Akshay-Rimmi as also the song ['Mujhko Yaad Sataye Teri'], even though an excellent composition, looks like a forced ingredient in the narrative.
However, the climax in the circus is the highpoint of the film. Even though the entire exercise looks unbelievable, it seems like an ideal culmination to the story. The buffoonery in the circus, where everyone's chasing everyone, is truly hilarious and side-splitting. It wouldn't be wrong to state that the climax works as a damage control exercise in the second hour.
Neeraj Vora's writing and direction are aimed at the masses. Besides, Vora has been faithful to HERA PHERI by making the characters look and behave exactly the way they were in the first part. Only thing, as a writer, he could've packed in more gags in the second hour. Vora's dialogues, as always, are outstanding!
Himesh Reshammiya's music is of the popular genre. 'Yaad Sataye Teri' and the title track are first-rate compositions. The filming of the two tracks is also lavish. Cinematography is alright.
PHIR HERA PHERI belongs to Paresh Rawal from Scene A to Z. The actor is at his best yet again and all actors in the radius, even though they come up with competent performances, get eclipsed in front of this towering performance. If Rawal stole the thunder in HERA PHERI, he walks away with accolades yet again in PHIR HERA PHERI, no two opinions on that.
Akshay Kumar is fantastic, but the only thing is he's repeating the same act in film after film. GARAM MASALA, DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL and PHIR HERA PHERI have him playing similar roles, of a street-smart guy. Suniel Shetty is quite good. In fact, he compliments Paresh and Akshay beautifully. Both Bipasha and Rimmi are hardly there. Rajpal Yadav excels. Sharat Saxena and Johny Lever are able. The remaining actors enact their parts satisfactorily.
On the whole, PHIR HERA PHERI has ample masala to keep its target audience -- the masses mainly -- more than happy. At the box-office, the film has opened to a thunderous response and in view of the fact that there's no major opposition for the next two weeks, the film will prove a money spinner for its distributors. Has all it takes to attain the 'Hit' status due to the huge, record-breaking initial and patronage from the masses.