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Those born in the ’60s should resonate with the nature of the Carry On titles — a franchise of boorish British comedies produced from 1958 to 1992. Carry On Jatta 2, a snappy sequel to a gargantuan hit, isn’t technically part of that loft, yet it inhabits the Carry On brand’s goofiness — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

For those who haven’t seen Carry On Jatta (this writer included), Carry On Jatta 2 may feel uncannily crisp. However, one may feel that they are missing out on something. As if everyone is in on the joke but you. The movie’s rapid-fire comedy re-houses jokes you know are references from the first movie. Heck, research tells me that even the fleeting plot, more or less, is a reverse variation of the first. Everything is gregariously loud and in-your-face ... yet, somehow, infectiously funny.

For a man who knows little Punjabi (which would be me), keeping up with the unrelenting torrent of gags and one-liners is a miracle by itself. Surprisingly, miraculous is a fitting word, because there isn’t much to the story or the filmmaking. In fact, Carry On Jatta 2 is barely a movie; it is, rather, a series of gibes between characters that fluctuate between the tone of a sitcom or a two-person stand-up routine.

Still, the cinema hall was near-bustling during Ramazan, and the audience were falling off their seats while laughing. One can’t argue with a reaction like this.

In Carry On Jatta 2 everything is loud and in-your-face, and yet, somehow infectiously funny

Carry On Jatta 2 has Gippy Grewal as Jass, a young dreamer with aspirations to move to Canada without any of the legwork. He sleeps in all day, fantasising of blonde and brunette Canadian immigration officers asking him dead-easy questions in broken Punjabi. One night at a wedding, he bumps into Meet (Sonam Bajwa), a drop-dead gorgeous Canadian and sparks fly.

Meet has one specific prerequisite: because she doesn’t have any immediate family of her own — just a far-flung relative whom she’s visiting in India — she wants a man who has a big family of his own.

Jass (and his friend Honey, played by comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi), being idiots, concoct a series of childish lies to get the girl.

Also in on their plan is Jas’s bestie Goldie (Binnu Dhillon — a riot with his body language in a few scenes). Goldie is a failure of a lawyer who purposely bungles up a straight-forward case because he fancies his client’s daughter (Jyotii Sethi). He reasons — to the judge, no less — that the more this case stretches and the more his client stays in jail, the more time he’ll have to romance his daughter.

The plot, as if afraid of not having enough juice or characters, adds Jaswinder Bhalla as Goldie’s father Advocate Dhillon who rents a portion of the house to Jass.

Dhillon also shares the house with his loud, obnoxious, sleuthing brother-in-law (Karamjit Anmol) who wants to catch him red-handed with the maid (Upasana Singh). The gags, repeat, fall flat on their faces and then repeat again in a cycle of comedy that’s shamelessly earsplitting. Nothing, though, is out of family-friendly domain.

The circle of confusion Jass and his cohorts create can be eliminated in a single sit-down session with Meet. The screenplay by Vaibhav Suman and Shreya Srivastava (with Naresh Kathooria’s dialogues) is aware of this dilemma, so it keeps chugging one event after the other, unnecessarily bloating the post-intermission half by an hour.

Even with this handicap, Carry On Jatta 2 is tons better than most content we are (or are about to) see pretty soon, I’d wager.

Published in Dawn, ICON, June 10th, 2018