After making a forgettable debut with ‘Dhoondte Reh Jaoge’ (2009), Umesh Shukla bounced back with ‘OMG – Oh My God!’, a satire that went on to become hugely successful. The Paresh Rawal – Akshay Kumar starrer was much loved for its humourous take on blind faith and religious fundamentalists. The director is back with a family drama that, like his earlier films, has humour sprinkled in it.
Ten years after getting estranged from his family, Inder Bhalla (Abhishek Bachchan) lives in Bangkok and performs with his group. Inder has been trying to get a break as a recording artist and he suffers a jolt when a record label owner (Tiku Talsania) asks him to cough up money to produce his own album. Inder gets a call from Cheema (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) who informs him that his father (Rishi Kapoor) wants to sell off his bakery, partly owned by Inder. Inder rushes off to India with the hope to get some money out of selling the bakery. In the meantime, Nimmi (Asin), Inder’s ex-girlfriend, tells him that she will get married in a couple of days and he should intervene and stop her from getting married to another person. Inder ignores her and seems indifferent about the whole issue. Upon reaching India, his hopes are crushed as he realizes things are what he thought them to be. While his father is down with debt, his mother (Supriya Pathak) is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Even though Inder cannot see an eye to eye with his father, he decides to stay back and decide to help his family come out this difficult time.
The message that the film tries to convey is well intended but there is so much frivolousness in the proceedings that one finds it difficult to sympathize with the characters. Even though the director has added dollops of humour to keep things light, much of it comes across as forced and does not make you smile. He throws logic out of the window and takes too many liberties. The only reason why Inder, an aspiring singer/musician who sings Hindi songs, goes to Bangkok could be to show the viewers a glimpse of the city. Well, if that was the reason, the director fails at that too. The film was shot and re-shot over a large period of time and the lack of continuity is quite visible. Picture this, a clean shaven Abhishek Bachchan is sitting in a plane and when he lands at the airport, we see him sporting a beard.
The drama makes an impact in a few places but fails to engage at several points. There are some twists that take you by surprise and a few funny moments that are entertaining. But, the film wanders along aimlessly for long and the spark that it shows sporadically does not sustain for a long time. The romantic track between Inder and Nimmi does not work at all. The vociferous exchange of dialogues between Rishi Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan is engaging in the beginning but gets monotonous after a while.
Rishi Kapoor gets the best role in the film and he plays it with finesse. He makes you loathe him at times and then, he implores you to sympathize with his character. Abhishek Bachchan delivers an average performance. He neither succeeds at giving one an impression of him being a performing artist nor does he manage to carry the dramatic moments effectively. Asin, making a comeback after three years, delivers a heart-warming performing. Even with a somewhat limiting character graph, she leaves a mark in every frame she is seen in. Supriya Pathak is saddled with an under developed character but she plays the character to the best of her abilities. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s portrayal of a comic villain is fantastic. Seema Pahwa leaves a mark in a brief role. Tiku Talsania, Harry Tangri, Sumeet Vyas and Master Siidha Daga are good.
Umesh Shukla’s direction, just as the script, is ordinary. The basic plot had promise but needed a lot of sharpeningwhich the writers (Niren Bhatt and Sumit Aroraa) have not done. The screenplay is flippant and filled with loopholes. The cinematography (Sameer Arya) is good. Music (Himesh Reshammiya, Meet Bros, Amaal Mallik and Mithoon) is average. The placement of the songs is far from being impressive. “Nachaan Farrate” is forced in to the narrative and “YOLO” seems out of context with the situation in which it is played. The background score (Sanjoy Chowdhury) is alright. The editing (Sanjay Sankla) could have been better.
Even though ‘All Is Well’ is just two hours long, it is stretched endlessly to meet that timeline. The drama and the humour, which director Umesh Shukla interweaves in the film, work only in parts. The film deals with the issues of a dysfunctional family but takes a very frivolous approach towards it. As a result, even though the film ends on a happy note, the viewer does not feel the urge to say ‘All Is Well.’