14 August 2012 | sshogben
Delightful Screwball Comedy
Sometimes ... we want to Just Have Fun.
"Carry On Jatta" is happy to leave 'solving the problems of the universe' to other movies.
This deceptively simple but extremely effective comedy transcends all barriers of time, or language, or culture, because its humour turns on basic quirks and basic relationships fundamental to the entire human race and thus immediately accessible. Young men will fall in love. Fathers and sons will misunderstand each other. Friends will try to 'help' but inadvertently make things worse.
Mix all these elements together with classic comic timing and perfect plotting under the deft hand of Punjabi director Smeep Kang ("Chakk De Phatte") and the result is ... very VERY funny!
Two lifelong friends – Jas (Gippy Grewal) and Honey (Gurpreet Ghuggi) – eagerly support each other through thick and thin and are basically good guys, despite being disregarded by their respective families. Jas lives with his father, a successful lawyer (Jaswinder Bhalla), and his older brother Goldy (Binnu Dhillon) and sister-in-law Diljeet (Anshu Sahni), while Honey is perennially chastised by his father, a police inspector (B. N. Sharma), for having no goals or ambitions in life. But this is not quite true. Honey has one ambition: his lovely girlfriend Preet (Khushboo Grewal). The lives of everyone, however, get turned topsy-turvy when Jas also falls in love, with the newly met but lovely Mahie (Mahie Gill). Jas and Honey will need all their ingenuity – and luck! – to outfox their families and achieve their objectives.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
Yet in the right hands even 'the obvious' can be much cleverer than it appears.
This 2012 Punjabi movie "Carry On Jatta" is one of those truly rare comedies that succeeds, not through attempting surprise twists (that rarely surprise, anyway), but by putting its business right up there in open plain sight for the audience ... and then skillfully playing on the audience's anticipation for everything that follows.
This is VERY hard to do and do well. But "Carry On Jatta" succeeds – largely through the impeccable comic timing and talents of its ensemble cast.
Special credit to the two leads – Gippy Grewal (who even sang all his own songs) and Gurpreet Ghuggi (nice to see him in a bigger romantic role) – whose mutual comic chemistry went far to carry all this off so effectively. But the supporting performances by Jaswinder Bhalla and Binnu Dhillon as Jas' father and brother, respectively, were so delicious they almost steal the whole show.
There's this bit with a ladder ... ! ;-)
One minor quibble: it would have been nice to see the two heroines – Mahie Gill and Khushboo Grewal, who were both quite good – given more to do. Also, when the 'sins' of Jas and Honey finally come home to roost, the pacing of the denouement could have been slightly tighter.
But these are minor quibbles indeed, for a movie that otherwise manages to be so damn funny. Even the music by Jatinder Shah contributed to the delightful madness. The title track, "Carry On Jatta", is introduced over the opening credits and its theme reappears at such perfectly timed moments throughout the rest of the film that, long before the end, even just the reintroduction of that musical theme is enough to set the audience howling with laughter again.
Yes, but such fun.
I describe this 2012 Punjabi film "Carry On Jatta" as a 'screwball comedy' because I think this movie shares its comic heart with great old Hollywood classic screwball comedies from the 1930s – like "The Awful Truth" (1937) or "My Favorite Wife" (1940). This film plays on the timeless element of brilliant witty farce that dates back through human history all the way back to Greco-Roman times, like "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" (1966, that lifted much of its material verbatim from the ancient Roman comic playwright Plautus).
Times change. Civilisations change. But no matter what, no matter when, human beings still need a good laugh!