Tere Bin Laden - Dead Or Alive review: Osama jokes aren’t funny anymore

  • Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2016 10:51 IST
Tere Bin Laden - Dead or Alive is a sequel to 2010 film Tere Bin Laden. (YouTube)

Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Ali Zafar, Pradhuman Singh, Piyush Mishra, Sikander
Rating: 2.5/5

When Abhishek Sharma was given the ‘Baawra ho gaya hai ke’ award for his film The Shaukeens at the Golden Kela Awards 2015, he looked introspective despite a laughing exterior. In his acceptance speech, he promised to make ‘meaningful’ films without getting into the rat race for stars. So has he made a better film this time around, with the sequel of his hilarious 2010 fare Tere Bin Laden?

The answer is somewhere in the middle. Tere Bin Laden – Dead or Alive is way better than The Shaukeens, but doesn’t match the wit of the original.

The film is very self indulgent. Everybody gets their share of screen time. From newspaper clippings featuring the producers Shetty sisters to a film director called Sharma, a lot of throwback props are used. Sometimes they work, but mostly they don’t.

Manish Paul plays filmmaker Sharma in Tere Bin Laden 2. (YouTube)

The tentative storyline goes like this: A film called Tere Bin Laden has been a blockbuster, but its lead Ali Zafar has grabbed most of the credit leaving its director Sharma (Manish Sharma) in the same lurch he was before the film. Sharma can’t take things lying down, so he decides to shoot another film with Paddi Singh (Pradhuman Singh), the guy who plays Osama in Tere Bin Laden. But, the politics in the West has changed by now and the real Osama has been shot dead. And, now everybody is after the Osama look-alike. Sounds interesting? You don’t want the original film again, right? Or, maybe I am wrong.

Movie Review | Tere Bin Laden: Dead Or Alive

Tere Bin Laden – Dead or alive (TBL 2 for our convenience) takes off on a funny note when we see a film school graduate desperate to walk away from his family business. His father sales ‘jalebi’ in old Delhi.

This seems like a satire on the current state of filmmaking in Bollywood where people think mixing certain ingredients will result in a sweet ‘jalebi’. Quirky writing promises a lot at this stage. The audience begins to feel the need of this sequel as the CIA and brown-white jokes spell charm, but the lack of coherence starts pushing TBL2 to disintegration.

Tere Bin Laden 2 keeps referring to the original film. (YouTube)

More actors join the bandwagon and it gets more confused. The patches of brilliance come and go, but the glue between two scenes is just absent.

Some one-liners are spot on though. For example, a suicide bomber greets an Indian film crew with this: Tumlog yahin raho, afeem khaao (Stay here and smoke opium). And, prior to this, they were seen running in a death race where the winner would get a time bomb jacket. Sadly, these moments can’t be cherished for long.

See, when Manish Paul takes a Guru Dutt like entry and the director keeps making comments on the American foreign policy, you anticipate a film that can rise above the usual ‘banana peel’ jokes. Sadly that doesn’t happen.

The scenes appear stretched and take really long in driving their point home. Just how much of ‘beating around the bush’ can you take? Abhsihek Sharma delays the obvious for a good 15 minutes. He displays his intelligence and then fails to capitalise on it.

Pradhuman Singh, who played Noora in the original film is Paddi Singh this time. (YouTube)

Pradhuman Singh is the most natural of the lot and definitely the most funny. Though his Paddi Singh is in stark difference with Noora of Tere Bin Laden, he has pulled it off. Manish Paul has also come up with a satisfactory performance.

Sikander Kher has been given a layered role, something that hasn’t been briefed properly to him. Still, he leaves his impression. However, the boat loses the anchor when an army of secondary characters arrives onboard. They look clueless and bring down the high spontaneity levels.

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The theme of Tere Bin Laden 2 is hugely dependent on its writing and the director’s understanding of political and social nuances, but it seems Sharma has deliberately toned down his film.

Watch the trailer

You can still watch Tere Bin Laden: Dead or alive, but it won’t give you the same punch as the original. Keep your expectations low and you may come out of the movie hall laughing.

(Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha)

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