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Movie review: Too much going on in 'Jannat 2'

The sequel to 'Jannat' (although not really) offers something for everybody, which makes for a head-spinning, burdensome film from Bollywood.

May 07, 2012|By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Esha Gupta and Emraan Hashmi star in "Jannat 2."
Esha Gupta and Emraan Hashmi star in "Jannat 2." (Fox STAR Studios )

"Jannat 2" is stuffed with the buffet-style storytelling that makes commercial Indian cinema seem gluttonously overwhelming by the standards of most Hollywood output. Would a moody Michael Mann crime drama be improved by a musical number? Could a Nancy Meyers crossed-wires romance benefit from a dense, intense thriller subplot?

The film shares its director, lead actor and a few behind-the-scenes names with the 2008 Indian film "Jannat," but this sequel otherwise is a stand-alone affair, with new characters and a self-sustaining story line.

This time out, star Emraan Hashmi plays Sonu Dilli, a street hustler and small-time gun runner who likes to refer to himself as a "cheeky rogue." A local cop (Randeep Hooda) with designs on bringing down a larger gun smuggling ring presses Sonu into working as his informer.

Its something-for-everyone attitude gives the movie a freewheeling, anything-goes feel for a time — the abrupt transition from the first romantic musical number back to the crime story is kind of head-spinning — but it eventually just becomes burdensome. Not long after the film launches its most surprising narrative twist, Sonu retreats to a bathroom where, as he relieves himself, he delivers a soliloquy recapping how incredible the new information is.

Too often, "Jannat 2" simply seems to be running in place — and like many Bollywood films, it runs for 21/2 hours, far too long by the standards of Hollywood storytelling, with many repetitive and unnecessary scenes.

The extra material doesn't provide added value but diminishing returns. In this case, less clearly would have yielded more.

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