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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Fukrey 3, Trailer launch: Risqué sera sera

Fukrey 3, Trailer launch: Risqué sera sera

On an authoritative website, the word ‘Fukrey’ translates as ‘slackers’. It must be native to Delhi and its environs, as I have never come across this word anywhere else. That a Mumbai-based production house (Excel Entertainment, of Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani), bank-rolled this definitive Delhi dalliances caper, beginning with its first episode in 2013, and stayed with it for another 10 years, shows the faith they have had in the team, and the greenbacks they have been counting over a decade. Fukrey 3 is now ready and the trailer was unveiled yesterday at the Juhu PVR multiplex, in the presence of several personalities associated with the film.

The release of the trailer for Fukrey 3 brought back fond memories of this comedy franchise to those who have been following it from 2013. They would include those who viewed the animated series for kids, titled Fukrey Boyzzz, jointly produced by Excel Entertainment and Discovery Kids India, and premiered on 12 October 2019. It showcases the animated incarnations of popular characters: Hunny, Choocha, Laali, and Bholi Punjaban, along with other characters. Fukrey Boyzzz: Space Mein Fukrapanti, an Indian animated comedy film directed by Avinash Walzade, was released in 2020, continuing from the series. There is some excitement about a surprise Christmas Gift that Santa Claus delivers to Choochaa in Fukrey 3.

Not being privy to Fukreys previous two rays, I can only confine my writing to the trailer launch and the trailer itself. Fukrey Returns returned in 2017, and it has taken the team almost six years to put together a threequel. In a surprising piece of casting, the film has a female Don, and no male villains. The cast comprises

Pulkit Samrat (Delhi boy, debuted with Bittu Boss, also in 3 Storeys and Taish) as Vikas "Hunny" Gulati

Varun Sharma (debuted with Fukrey, was in Fukrey Returns, also in Chhichhore) as Dilip "Choochaa" Singh

Manjot Singh (another Delhi boy, debuted with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye, was in Fukrey and Fukrey Returns, was seen in Dream Girl and Dream Girl 2), as Lali Halwai

Richa Chadha (sometimes spelt Chadda, debuted with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye, also seen in Gangs of Wasseypur and Masaan, married to Ali Fazal) as Bholi Punjaban

Pankaj Tripathi (no introduction required, none given) as Pandit

Ali Fazal (another Delhi boy, who grew up in Lucknow, debuted with 3 Idiots, also seen in Fukrey and Fukrey Returns, House Arrest and Tadka) as Zaffar and

Kriti Kharbanda (debuted in Raaz Reboot, also seen in Veere Ki Wedding, Yamla Pagla Deewana PhirSe, Taish and 14 Phere) as Tinka.

Of the above, the first five were present on the occasion, along with director, Mrighdeep Lamba and co-producer Ritesh Sidhwani. Sidhwani and Akhtar, schoolmates in Maneckji Cooper at Juhu, Mumbai) founded Excel in 1999. Farhan has not made an appearance at any of the Excel events that I have attended in the recent past. Anil Thadani, of AA Films, who is evasive/reticient by nature, is distributing the film, and made a token entry. Pulkit, dressed a là Ranveer Singh, went around kissing everybody on the cheek, Manjot was thrilled that someone from the media, at last, put a question to him.

It was Pankaj Tripathi’s birthday, but he did not want to cut the cake, since he does not believe in celebrating the occasion. Asked who did he owe his success to, he said there were so many people, parents, teachers, friends, etc. No one person can claim to have provided success to another. Answering another question about getting his lines on cue and his perfect comic timing, he said, “I eat khichdee on the sets. That keeps my stomach at peace. Which, in turn, keeps my mind at peace, so the lines come naturally.” Yet another question put to him was about his use of pure Hindi on screen. Perhaps the questioner did not realise that an actor has to speak only those lines that are written by the writer, and any credit or discredit about the use of a particular language should go to him. Incidentally, the writer on Fukrey 3 is Vipul Vig. Nevertheless, Pankaj retorted, “Hindi is what we are. I respect all languages, but we are recognised by our Hindi. We eat Hindi, we sleep Hindi, we live Hindi.” (Applause).

Varun’s mother happened to be in the audience and was called on stage. She recounted her experience of being constantly being referred to as Fukrey’s mother, wherever she went. Ritesh said that though the film was set in Delhi, it addressed universal issues. A simple thing like a north Bombay student joining a south Bombay college, like he did, was considered a big deal. The film tackled much apparently small but in effect big issues. Mrighdeep confessed that the toughest part was before he began writing. Once he started, he became sort of easy and lazy. Ritesh joked, “So now I know why you took so long to deliver Fukrey 3!” All the actors said that without each other, the film could not be made. Pulkit went to add, ‘tongue in cheek’, that without Pankaj, who plays a security guard in the film, they would feel very insecure. The actors and the director gave very little away in terms of the plot, but the trailer told us that a significant chunk of it is devoted to an election, with the Lady Don and the Fukrey on opposite sides.

Going by the trailer, at least some of the comedy in Fukrey 3 is of a variety known as toilet humour. One particular scene involving two of the Fukreys on their maiden air flight, and an air hostess, had shades of Charlie Chaplin, although any comparison would be inappropriate: The punch came later, when you least expected it. The story goes that in a conversation between the Hollywood screenwriter Charles MacArthur and Charlie Chaplin, about showing a fat lady slipping on a banana peel and going down a manhole. This is how he said it should be done, “You show the fat lady approaching; then you show the banana peel; then you show the fat lady and the banana peel together; then she steps over the banana peel and disappears down a manhole.” I put this to Mrighdeep and asked him whether he agreed with this method of creating comedy. He seemed overawed at the mention of Chaplin, but he went to say, “That was great. But there are different kinds of comedy, including slapstick, language-based comedy and situational comedy.”

Fukrey 3 apparently employs the brand of comedy that goes by the monikers risqué, ribald, bawdy, coarse, lewd…I will stop short of saying ‘vulgar’ until I see the full film, assuming I will be invited to its press show. A ‘quatriquel’ is already being hinted at, albeit in a veiled manner. The film releases on the 28th of September, a fact that was hammered in at least 28 times by the collective dignitaries and the compère.


P.S. * This was my first real encounter with the fan brigade, or indoor cheerleaders. On cue, we heard shouts cheering one actor at a time. They were largely boys, in the age group of 17-24. Besides the thunderous chants, they also switched to whistles. No, not biologically generated whistles, but the manufactured variety. The result was a recurrent wave of deafening decibels. One had seen the “Whistle Poda” swarms at the Chennai Super Kings matches during the Indian Premier League cricket. One had also heard some whistling at film trailer launch events. But this was in a different league.

** Compliments to the lady compère, Prerna, who is (why am I not surprised?) a radio jockey, was adept as both English and Hindi, did not let any interruptions get the better of her, and conducted herself fluidly, in spite of her portly built. She also did me a favour. When it was clear that all the questions from the media were being taken from only one corner of Auditorium 2, I signalled to her to impress upon the mike-bearers to send one to me. She did even better. After announcing that the next question was going to be the last question, she came up to my seat and handed over her own mike to me. May her tribe prosper.


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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