Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus is the worst film of this year, and that is a task considering it had to compete with Vijay Deverakonda’s Liger, and Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2. The film is supposed to be a loose tribute to Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and the literary stalwart must thank his stars for not being alive to watch the 138-minute disaster that Bollywood dished out this festive season.
Cirkus is a big, bold, spectacle, reminiscent of the travelling circus most of us have fond memories of. But that is where the appeal ends. The chaotic narrative of the film fails completely, and what comes across is extremely dull and boring.
The story begins in 1942, and involves two sets of identical twins who get separated at birth. The first pair, Roys, is played by Ranveer Singh, and second, Joy, by Varun Sharma. They get separated not due to some cruel twist of fate, but because of an experiment by a doctor. The comedy of errors begins when one pair of twins visit Ooty, where the other brothers are seen running a circus.
People and chaos
Shetty’s films always have larger-than-life sets and in Cirkus he takes it a notch higher. The colour palette is intense and feels like a tribute to the 70s and 80s, and the ensemble cast is so vast that at some point, you lose track of who’s who. Every scene has so many people and so much chaos that it stops being funny even before it starts. It tries too hard to be a Priyadarshan-esqe film, like Hungama (2003) or Hulchul (2004), but Shetty clearly lacks the finesse to handle it.
Polo t-shirts, checkered jackets, high waist pants, thick moustaches, wigs, thick eyebrows — the set and costume designers definitely have left no stone unturned to create the world of Cirkus. Only if the same attention to detail was paid to the script as well. The idea that Shetty wants to focus on is the stigma surrounding adoption, and the obsession people have with ‘apna khoon’. Except, it never lands, and at best sounds cringe.
Also read: Hotstar’s Govinda Mera Naam gives a vibe of the 2000s but script falls flat
Johnny Lever And Sanjay Mishra rule
Ranveer Singh, who can infuse energy into the dullest of films, completely misses his beat in Cirkus. He is at best forgettable, despite a double role. Neither of the characters look convincing or even funny enough. Pooja Hegde as Mala and Jacqueline Fernandez as Bindu are props at best, and only need to look good, which they do with little effort.
Even Varun Sharma, who has delivered remarkable performances in films like Fukrey (2013) and Chhichhore (2019), fails to do much. It is less about his acting prowess, and more about the haphazard script and characters he is given. The chemistry between him and Ranveer doesn’t crackle, and that drags the film further.
It ultimately falls upon veterans like Sanjay Mishra and Johnny Lever to salvage whatever possible. The duo gets the few laughs that Cirkus packs. From comic timing, body language, to dialogue delivery, Mishra is at the top of his game. Johnny Lever as Polson Bhai does what he has always been loved for—slapstick comedy.
The highlight of the film, apart from Mishra and Lever’s performances is Deepika’s cameo in the song Current Laga, which makes one light up for a couple of minutes.
(Edited by Ratan Priya)