By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “2016 The End”; Writer-Director: Jaideep Chopra; Cast: Harshad Chopra, Divyendu Sharma, Kiku Sharda and Priya Banerjee; Rating: ***
Nostradamus has a new avatar, and it is such a pleasure to see Tom Alter just weeks after his death, surface in this film as a doomsday prophet. Alter plays a frazzled scientist whom our young restless protagonists Harshad Chopra, Divyendu Sharma, Kiku Sharda (of Kapil Sharma’s show fame) befriend in the middle of the road.
Alter ominously dies after predicting that the world would end in seven days, triggering off ‘we-must-live-out-our-dreams-before-the-end’ yearning in our protagonists.
To these intellectually challenged revellers, living it up means shopping in a mall using the rich friend’s credit card, and dancing in item songs with firangi girls who look like they would not mind if the world ends provided their gyrations get past the censor board.
They take off from Goa with a mysterious policeman (the very talented Narendra Jha) on their heels. On the way, they come across a series of madcap adventures including an attempt made on Divyendu Sharma to abduct and forcibly marry him to a girl who sits with her ‘baraat’ in the wilderness waiting for her groom to descend.
It’s a bizarre idea in a film that breezes brazenly through a blizzard of bizarre incidents. Many of then are clumsily incorporated into the plot. And some of them (like Supriya Karnik doing ’50 Shades Of Grey’ on Kiku Sharda or Rahul Roy making a belated appearance, and I am talking about 15 years late) just don’t work.
On the plus side, the protagonists’ antics — though frequently annoying — are miraculously free of vulgarity. You may get an occasional fart joke to deal with. But that’s about it. Also, the film has a lush saturated look to it that goes well with the theme of hedonism during times of doom.
Writer-director Jaideep Chopra has a novel idea up his sleeve. As he unrolls the proceedings, the film shifts gears between a road movie and a heist adventure, doffing its hat to such maestros of the two genres as Farhan/Zoya Akhtar (“Dil Chahta Hai”, “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”) and Tigmanshu Dhulia (“Bullett Raja”).
The main players range from the solidly adept Divyendu Sharma (last seen as Akshay Kumar’s scene-stealing brother in “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”) to the poker-faced TV actor Harshad Chopra (who seems clueless to his presence in the film). Kiku Sharda, whose drag act on “The Kapil Sharma Show” is a winner, is here dragged down by a script that insists on making endless jokes about his ample girth.
Kiku Sharda’s track with his godman-father had the potential to grow into an interesting comedy of errors based on the opposition between fake godliness and genuine horniness. However, Jaideep Chopra picks on interesting strands in the storytelling and lets them loose in the plot.
This is a fidgety film full of half-finished gags. But nonetheless, “2016 The End” is a wacky apocalyptic comedy with some very competent actors pitching in sportingly. Narendra Jha’s closing monologue on why we need to live one day at a time is where the film finally comes into its own.
By then, it’s too late.
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