Making a sequel is tricky business; irrespective of which language the film is made in. Not only does the subsequent part depend heavily on the original product’s success, it tests the filmmaker and actors’ mettle all over again.
The immense pressure to perform that director Anurag Singh must have felt while making Jatt & Juliet 2 can only be fathomed, especially since his last year’s super hit film Jatt & Juliet is said to have acted as a catalyst for Punjabi cinema’s second renaissance.
Anurag and his team return with a new love story in Jatt & Juliet 2, which, though touted to be a sequel, is actually a love story set in another situation — a new concoction of Fateh Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) and Pooja’s (Neeru Bajwa) powerful chemistry and innocent love.
A hawaldar in the Punjab police, Fateh is aching to break the tradition of his family of hawaldaars and become an inspector. His dream seems to find wings when his immediate senior, inspector Joginder played by Jaswinder Bhalla, asks Fateh to travel to Canada in order to convince the commissioner’s estranged daughter Pooja to return to India. Little does Fateh know that Joginder is an insecure senior who wants Fateh out of his way.
On the pretext of finding a fugitive called Shampy Daku, Fateh boards a flight to Canada, where officer P Singh (whom he later learns is the commissioner’s daughter) has been asked to help him on the case. From a Pakistani cabbie who hates Indians in the day and becomes friendlier after two pegs at night, to Preeti (played by Bharti), an Indian who runs a beauty parlour and who Fateh mistakenly believes to be Pooja — every character adds richly to Fateh’s incidental encounters and mix-ups.
Diljit is a natural actor with an almost-perfect sense of comic timing that helps him deliver punches that hit at the intended spot. His poker-faced act, even while delivering a lecture to the Canadian police on the ‘effective’ ways adopted by Punjab police in nabbing criminals, will keep you in splits of laughter. Neeru, meanwhile, is charming and pretty, though her presence in the film seems overcast by the powerful performance of the male lead.
Anurag must be credited for allowing his characters to evolve in a new setting and not let an uneasy sense of déjà vu set in, a possibility that every director making a sequel is inevitably faced with. Canada’s locales soothe the eye, even if it was mostly raining when they shot in Vancouver.
Music by Jatinder Shah is impressive and catchy, especially Akhiyaan (featuring RJ Priyanka and Amber Vashisht) and the two renditions of Naina by Sukhwinder Singh and Kamal Khan.
However, audiences would do well to not compare the film with the original, which is sure to bring memories of a magically precise formula for entertainment, and thereby prevent any sense of disappointment from embracing them. Just like first love, the original is incomparable.
Jatt & Juliet 2 justifiably belongs to Diljit and to his delightful antics that keep you rooting for more.