'Cirkus' Movie Review: No Comedy, Just Errors 
‘Cirkus’ Movie Review: No Comedy, Just Errors 

Rohit Shetty’s ‘Cirkus’ is not just Shakespeare.  It is Comedy of Errors-meet Judwa-meet Awara-meet Minnal Murali-meet-random Bollywood movie with-an-yeh-shaadi-hi-ho-Sakti-screaming father

Director: Rohit Shetty 
Writers: Farhad Samji, Sanchit Bedre, Vidhi Ghodgaonkar 
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Varun Sharma, Siddhartha Jadhav, Sanjay Mishra, Pooja Hegde, , Jacqueline Fernandez, Johnny Lever, Murali Sharma, and ensemble 
Rating: 1.5/5
It is 1942. Dr. Roy Jamnadas (Murli Sharma) and Joy Jamnadas (Uday Tikekar), two orphans raised in the Jamnadas Orphanage, are now running the organization. They have two sets of twins — a2 and b2 — who are up for adoption. As part of an experiment to substantiate his take on the Nature Vs Narture debate, Roy Jamnadas swaps the twins (so, basically now you have 2 x A=B) and each of the adoptee families now has one child from the two sets. And incidentally, they both name their two kids Roy and Joy. Also, incidentally, also, both Roys are from set A while both Joys are from set B.  And hence you have both Roys played by Ranveer Singh and both Joys played by Varun Sharma.  
Fast Forward 30 years. Roy 1 and Joy 1 stay in Ooty and run a circus. Their foster parents are long dead. Roy known as the ‘electric man’ is also the star attraction of the show. He can touch live wire and not get electrocuted. He is married to Mala (Pooja Hegde).  



Roy 2 and Joy 2 (R2J2) are based in Bangalore. Roy is dating Bindu (Jacqueline Fernandez). Her father Rai Bahadur is obsessed with his wealth and looks down upon Roy for not being rich enough (although Roy lives in a palace!). Also, he is suspicious of Roy. So, when R2J2 plans a business trip to Ooty (the land of R1J1), he sends his sidekick/servant, Prem (Anil Charanjeett) to follow them. On their way, R2J2 meet a group of petty thieves—Momo (Siddhartha Jadhav) and his sidekicks Mango and Chikki—who want to rob them of their cash. What follows is a chaotic tale of mistaken identity. 
Although the cast includes some brilliant actors and the movie is headlined by Ranveer Singh, an actor who has time and again proved his talent, all, except Sanjay Mishra, fail to impress. Ranveer Singh has a double role and yet there is not a single scene where his performance stands out or he even makes an impact. A double role is an opportunity for actors to showcase their range, but here the two Roys are not given any unique characteristics that differentiate one from the other and are interchangeable (their only difference being one is the ‘electric man’ and the other is the electrocuted man). It is just a bored Ranveer Singh x 2.  His is a comedy of the absurd which doesn’t even get near the same zip code as ‘funny’.  He is loud and animated, but the quintessential Ranveer Singh energy and earnestness are entirely missing in his performance this time. You can almost feel that the actor is not feeling the emotions of the scene himself. It is heartbreaking to see him get overshadowed by the side characters.  
This brings one to Siddhartha Jadhav, the ‘overshadower’. It seems he has got more dialogue in the movie than Ranveer but his track is entirely redundant to the plot. It seems like a force fit. Also, as Momo, Jadhav is unnecessarily loud and over-the-top and even becomes a tad irritating after a point. In a meta moment, he has Johnny Lever playing his mentor, someone he looks up to. Jadhav has a very similar acting style to Lever. When one actor is so visibly ‘inspired’ by another much greater actor, it is kind of uncomfortable to watch both together on screen. Johnny Lever, the man himself, gets to play a short cameo-like role and is wasted. As are actors like Tiku Talsania and Brijendra Kala. Vrajesh Hirjee, Sulabha Arya, and Mukesh Tiwari lend good support although the scripts hardly support them. Varun Sharma, who plays the other set of twins, hardly has much to do and doesn’t do much, twice. There is no scene that would make you sit up and take note of his performance. That happens in this movie ONLY in the case of Sanjay Mishra. The actor, who has just given another brilliant performance in last month’s release Vadh, is totally in his element and can be seen having a blast. He single-handedly turns the mediocre scenes replete with lame dialogues (sample this: Hum ajeeb-o-gareeb nehi, ajeeb-o-ameer hai) into laughter-inducing moments –the film’s rare few LOL moments are all courtesy of him. 
Murali Sharma plays Roy Jamnadas who doubles up as the ‘funny’ narrator with a deadpan. But his talking-to-the-camera expositions become annoying after a point and could have been used sparingly, if at all. The women, Pooja Hegde and Jacqueline Fernandez, do what heroines do in a Rohit Shetty movie. They look pretty. Neither of the actors is known for their acting chops but suits the part. Watching their tracks, one is constantly reminded of Angoor, where these two characters were not only crucial to the plot development but were played excellently by Moushmi Chatterjee and Deepti Naval. 
The Comedy of Errors was earlier adapted in Hindi as the Kishore Kumar–Tanuja-Asit Sen-starring Do Dooni Chaar (1968) and then the Sanjeev Kumar-Moushmi Chatterjee-Deepti Naval-Deven Verma-starter Angoor (1982)—both written by Gulzar. But before these, the play was adapted by none other than Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (yes, the social reformers known for his pro-widow remarriage law campaigns) in Bengali which was turned into a film in 1963. Titled Bhranti Bilas it starred the matinee idol, Uttam Kumar. But in the hands of Farhad Samji, Sanchit Bedre, and Vidhi Ghodgaonkar the play, which thrives on slapstick and mistaken identity, fails to retain its breezy tone; the laugh-riot turns into a snoozefest.  
Shakespeare’s plays are essentially ‘masala movies’ of the yore. Even if you are not into the ‘literature’ part of it, these are time-tested massy plots, often adapted from already existing tales (The Comedy of Errors is based on Plautus’s Menaechmi), that have worked like a charm with the masses across the world for over 400 years. But Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus is not just Shakespeare.  It is Comedy of Errors-meet Judwa-meet Awara-meet Minnal Murali-meet-random Bollywood movie with-an-yeh-shaadi-hi-ho-Sakti-screaming father. Phew (nobody needed any of these meetings). They say don’t fix what is not broken. And Shakespeare definitely didn’t need these upgrades. It might have still worked IF the writing, both the screenplay and the dialogues, weren’t this ridiculously sub-par. There is a subtext about nature Vs nurture and inclusivity, but the text itself is so banal that you don’t really care about the subtext. 



The same goes for cinematography and editing. The production design is good and should get extra credit especially since the entire film is shot on sets (the film was shot in the middle of the pandemic, in fact, Shetty deserves a round of applause as he was the first filmmaker to get a film rolling when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak and ensure employment opportunities to the artistes and technicians who depend on daily wages). 
The music isn’t bad but is yet to catch on. The Current Laga Re song written by Kumaar and Hari and composed by Lijo George-DJ Chetas is the film’s only popular number and features the gorgeous Deepika Padukone in all her glory. Aashiqui, the Badshah song (that reminds one of his hit single Jugnu) composed by Hiten is a groovy number that might grow on you.  Sun Zara, which has lyrics by Kumaar and is put to music by Devi Sri Prasad has a ’90s Kumar Sanu songs vibe and reminds one of Dum Laga Ke Haisha’s Dard Karaara. It is a melodious number sung by Papon and Shreya Ghoshal. 




Rohit Shetty, the man hailed as the betaaj badshah of Bollywood, its poster boy of massy cinema, its only beacon of hope in these dark hours, delivers one of the most insipid movies of the year, and his least entertaining to date. It takes a special talent to turn a Shakespeare play into a dreary watch. But Rohit Shetty (with some serious help from his writers) manages that feat.  
The dialogues are not funny, the characters are lazily written, the screenplay is banal, the music is forgettable, the performances (apart from that of Sanjay Mishra) range from poor to very poor, and the worst part? It is not even good as a cringe watch.  
It is asinine to look for logic in a Rohit Shetty film but that is also part of the charm of the world he builds. But even with the willing-suspension-of-disbelief glasses firmly on, it is impossible to enjoy this movie. This is not the ‘Rohit Shetty’ experience one was waiting for. I, a bonafide Rohit Shetty movies fan, who had braved Covid to experience Sooryavanshi in a single-screen theatre, would prefer a Heropanti 2 over this circus. At least that has cool flying cars and is also funnier, albeit unintentionally.  
If you want to watch a good ‘funny’ and experimental take on Shakespeare’s plays, go for Rajat Kapoor’s adaptations. His clowns do a far better job on stage than Shetty’s entire Cirkus.  
Just watch Angoor (or Bhranti Bilas if you are a Bong).  

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