Direction: Syed Ahmad Afzal
Actors: Farooq Sheikh, Jackky Baghnani, Neha Sharma
The Baghnanis — father and producer Vashu, son and leading man Jackky — are the creators of a unique Bollywood franchise. Every other year or so, Vashu produces a film in which Jackky stars. These vanity projects have been uniformly mediocre, but their fifth film together, Youngistaan, sets a new standard of ridiculous.
In Youngistaan, Jackky plays Abhimanyu Kaul, a 28-year-old games developer who is suddenly upgraded to the post of Indian prime minister because his father, who is the PM, dies.
The film, directed by debutant Syed Ahmad Afzal, attempts to explore what happens when an idealistic, political novice who happens to have a live-in girlfriend takes over the reins of the country.
The premise had the potential for drama and humour, but Youngistaan is just an incoherent mess designed to try and make us fall in love with Jackky, who is in almost every frame. He’s either giving inspiring speeches about the state of the nation or suggesting banking reforms or out-manoeuvring political foes.
The only bright spot is the late Farooq Sheikh, who brings his good-natured gravitas to this unintentional comedy. But for him, Youngistaan is brain-dead and largely insufferable.