Rohit Shetty infiltrates Vishal Bhardwaj's area to create his rendition of Bard's The Comedy of Errors.
Gulzar's Angoor is the most famous film adaptation of Shakespeare's play about two pairs of identical twins entangled in a misunderstanding.
Cirkus isn't the same as Angoor. Anger khatte hain is more appropriate.
Shetty's formulaic entertainers act and sound the same: overcrowded, over-the-top, extra bright, super loud animals glad to laugh hardest at their own jokes.
Cirkus is all of that, but also incredibly monotonous and puerile.
'Darwaza khula rakhna kyonki mein doorbell bajane layak nahi raha,' a man complains, squashing his fingers.
Gulzar's rhythmic humour and a varied cast led by Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma make The Comedy of Errors ideal for mix-ups and run-ins that occur within a close-knit environment.
Shetty clearly watched Angoor, but I'm not sure if he studied Shakespeare before finalising the script, unless incorrectly spelling the title represents his comprehension of it.
Shetty's vast aesthetic can't understand the anarchic humour's revolving door rhythm and instead relies on outer distractions and laboured messaging.
Cirkus, set in the 1960s, ensures that technology does not interfere and allows the filmmaker to focus on retro overkill.
The world is a stage, but in Shetty's eyes, it looks like a freshly-painted, dazzling tin box.
Beware of photosensitive viewers, since the screen is coated with the most garish shades of candy and kitsch.
The optical overload is to be seen to be believed, with vintage cars, trains, and trams, brown brick hotels and employees dressed in The Grand Budapest Hotel costumes, and promenades and walks covered with flowers of every possible colour.
Despite its dazzling spectacle, the circus itself is a minor character in the plot.
Without any acrobatics or fanfare, Shetty could have called it Post Office and it would have made no difference. Its time frame is also devoid of context.
Tossing old tunes from Bhoot Bangla, Johnny Mera Naam, Prince, and Haath Ki Safai into the mix without turning them into a punchline is akin to wrapping an empty box.
Cirkus time flies all the way back to the mid-40s when products of the Jamnadas orphanage — an establishment familiar to the Golmaal franchise's founding members, Roy (Murali Sharma) and Joy (Uday Tikekar) — exchange one of each twin as an experiment to prove parvarish is mightier than khoon.
The newborn boys' adoptive parent's names both lookalike sets Roy and Joy. Let us simply refer to them as Roy 1 and Joy 1 of Ooty and Roy 2 and Joy 2 of Bangalore, respectively, as performed by Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma.
Roy 1 possesses a special ability.
He's impervious to electric current and makes a living at the family circus by wielding high-voltage wires with his bare hands.
Electric Man is what the people of Ooty call him.
He's married to an allegedly best-selling author (Pooja Hegde), whose life's greatest regret is 'Main maa nahi ban sakti'.
Roy 1 refuses to adopt because he believes khoon is more powerful than parvarish.
Roy 2 leads the family business and enjoys reading pulp fiction.
He has a devoted girlfriend (Jacqueline Fernandez), but her affluent, stuck-up fool daddy (Sanjay Mishra), who sounds like Dev Anand parodying Dev Anand, is certain that his future son-in-law is a jerk.
Trouble begins when he follows Roy 2 and Joy 2 to Ooty where a troika of thieves (led by Siddhartha Jadhav), their gangster idol (Johnny Lever), a gun-toting aunt (Sulbha Arya), a snake-tattooed cabbie (Vrajesh Hirjee), an Urdu poem babbling jewellery designer (Brijendra Kala) and a former dacoit-turned-hotel owner (Mukesh Tiwari) add to the ruckus.
If the boredom of Shetty regulars doing their vocabulary-challenged yell and rant routine in ludicrous wigs and garish costumes wasn't enough, the shoddy script has only two running gags in its bag of broad comedy.
Someone is shocked. Someone is slapped.
Even in the absence of new humour, Sanjay Mishra, Siddhartha Jadhav, and Johnny Lever remain committed to entertaining their five-year-old fans.
Murali Sharma, on the other hand, is no Kader Khan, and his attempts to break the fourth wall while proving humanity triumphs over heritage fall short.
Cirkus forgets that comedy is found in mistakes, not weariness.
Joy 1 and 2 are written as siblings but are treated as Roy 1 and 2's sidekicks.
In Angoor, Deven Varma had bhaang. In Cirkus, Varun does not even get a biscuit.
The camera gets all of the attention.
The colour of the leads is entirely off.
Ranveer Singh's middle name is energy. But in Cirkus, he's like a bad-tempered class clown.
He portrays both Roys as though they were single-expression robots, with no comedy timing or emotional response to anything. Even the normally upbeat Varun Sharma appears to have been grounded for barging into a stranger's party.
There is zero chemistry between Ranveer and Varun. Or Ranveer and his potential love interests.
Speaking about love, Deepika Padukone shows more sass in one item song than Pooja Hedge and Jacqueline Fernandez do throughout the film.
Moushumi Chatterjee and Deepti Naval fought in 1982. It's 2022, and we've returned to arm candy.