Rani Mukerji's flawless performance is the saving grace of this film, while Sharvari Wagh just lights up the screen with her presence.
Bunty (Saif Ali Khan) and Babli (Rani Mukerji) are compelled to come out of retirement after a series of scam operations involving their signature symbol start popping up all over the country. It turns out that a new con-couple (Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari) is committing crimes in Bunty and Babli's names, which is not good for the originals. The two con-couples get into a frantic chase.
The moment the opening credits of Bunty Aur Babli 2 rollout, they hint that the film is a hangover and will be thriving on the original film. There is a slight disappointment to see Abhishek Bachchan wiped out entirely. Oh yes, the trailer was just a drop on how the CGI came into being to replace Bachchan with Saif Ali Khan. But don't worry, the film is not that much of a disappointment. For the first time in a long time, the trailer mellowed my expectations for the film. However, Bunty Aur Babli 2 managed to slightly go better than I thought.
The film carries the baggage of the first instalment entirely, be it the references or a few sequences being shown now and then. Not just that, twice Rakesh Trivedi (Saif) is heard saying, "The original Bunty and Babli are back." Varun V. Sharma, who has made his directorial debut with this film, has also penned the screenplay and dialogues for it. It seems like the filmmaker has just been such a huge fan of the 2005 film that he wanted to reimagine what Rakesh and Vimmi Trivedi (Rani Mukerji) would be if they continued being cons.
Sharma's dream was indeed fulfilled, but not with Saif and Rani, who is shown as a middle-aged couple not carrying the baggage of Bunty Aur Babli. The director chooses Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh and shows them continuing the tryst of Bunty and Babli while they fan over the OG couple.
The newbies just nailed it with their performance, especially Sharvari, who, for a newcomer, did a commendable job. YRF is known to introduce talents who go on to become the best in the leagues. So Sharvari making her movie debut with Bunty Aur Babli 2 is refreshing indeed. She lights up the screen with her presence and also nails the performance in every scene. From being in disguise to facing reality, the debutante ups her game in comic and serious sequences. But it's not surprising though, as the actor had earlier shown her acting prowess with her debut, The Forgotten Army: Azaadi Ke Liye, on Amazon Prime Video.
Coming to Siddhant, the actor has gone from rapper MC Sher from Gully Boy to the stylish Kunal aka Bunty in the film. However, the actor doesn't bring many variations to the table, as he did with Inside Edge. He continued to show consistency, as he did in the Zoya Akhtar directorial.
But together, Siddhant and Sharvari set fire on screen with their chemistry, and will also remind you of the slight innocence that Abhishek and Rani had in the original film.
If I gave an extra star in the rating for the film, it would be only for Rani. The actor continues to be a show-stealer in every frame. After seeing her in the Mardaani franchise and Hichki, Bunty Aur Babli 2 is a welcome change for the actor. It looks like Rani not only wore the outfits that resonated with Vimmi but also got possessed by Babli. She just vents out without thinking and even takes charge of things from people around here.
But that's Rani. She knows how to dominate onscreen and oozes out her acting prowess effortlessly. The actor can cry and laugh, but not once will you feel why she is "overacting" even though she is. Because the script demands it, Rani goes over the top, but controls it when she doesn't need it. She is just as irreplaceable as Vimmi.
Saif is another new addition to the Bunty Aur Babli 2 cast. The actor looks adorable and also becomes dashing in the second half. Having said that, the Fursatganj accent doesn't come out well from the actor. Maybe the actor didn't make an effort to work on his diction like he did while portraying Langda Tyagi in Omkara.
The best part about him replacing Abhishek is the reunion he has with Rani. The couple perfectly captures the essence of a middle-aged couple who are not sorry for their past but have accepted what their present and future will be.
There's another amazing actor who is a part of Bunty Aur Babli 2, none other than Pankaj Tripathi. The actor is Amitabh Bachchan's replacement as a cop named Jatayu Singh. It was a great pun by the makers to have JCP Dashrath Singh's (Amitabh Bachchan) successor as Jatayu Singh (references from Ramayana).
Sadly, Tripathi's performance doesn't bring any advancements to the script like Big B did in the original film. But his banter with Saif and Rani's onscreen son is too funny to die for. The child artist, although she didn't match the timeline of the story, did a fab job as a naughty kid who is a perfect amalgamation of Rakesh and Vimmi.
The characters of the actors and their superlative performances overpowered the story and the screenplay entirely. The only good thing that Sharma could have done is get good dialogues. He messed up with the screenplay entirely, and even the cons didn't feel shocked when they did it.
The Robinhood act by Siddhant and Sharvari's con doesn’t work well. Their cons also seem too hard to believe, unlike Rakesh and Vimmi's intentions in the original film.
Gavemic Ary's cinematography is good, but it's not something that will stay with you after the movie ends. The editing by Aarif Sheikh is also fine.
The music composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, fail to recreate the magic of the original soundtrack this time around. Thankfully, there are only a few songs in the film, but most of them are forgettable. The only one that might stick in your mind is Luv Ju, which also gives a major Jhoom Barabar Jhoom vibe.
The final words for Bunty Aur Babli 2 would be "old is gold." While the script for the sequel can fail miserably, it's just the performances that end up becoming the saving grace.
Bunty Aur Babli 2 brings the original cons back but with many stumbling blocks.