Wild Wild Punjab: A 120-minute long parade of blundering incompetents 

Everything that went into the making of the movie is a source of endless boredom  


A peculiar genre of films has been taking shape in Bollywood for over a decade now. Let's call it the I-hate-women-but-can't-live-without-them genre of films. Or, simply, Mission Misogyny. 

Truth be told, barring a few notable exceptions, most films made in India have varying degrees and shades of sexism. Some invisibilise or patronise women, others exploit them. Using graphic, brutal violence against women as a plot device to catapult heroes into righteous battles is almost a rite of passage for most action-thriller directors and actors. But this particular genre of I-hate-women films is different. It exists because women exist. 

In its warped worldview, true heaven is that place on earth where grown men can freely act like lecherous teenage boys. They must cheat and deceive women because, well, that’s just the way men get to have innocent fun. But women who do exactly that are devious, heartless witches who must be made to burn in the hell of humiliation. 

So all energies, monies and efforts are spent on forging brotherhood around elaborate, harebrained schemes to show women the middle finger because, it seems, that's the only way men can assert their manhood.

Writer-director-producer Luv Ranjan, who made 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama' in 2011, and then followed it up with other such, is one of the founding members of this genre of cinema. 'Wild Wild Punjab' is written and co-produced by him. To say "written" is an exaggeration because this film is just a blend of Hollywood’s 'The Hangover', Ranjan’s own 'Punchnama', and director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba’s 'Fukrey' series in a new setting.  

'Wild Wild Punjab' doesn't have a story. It has what can at best be called a situation: A young, attractive, cheater-cock type of woman dwells in an office in an unnamed city in Punjab. On one seemingly routine office day, she decides to do some naughty-naughty things with her boss and then proceeds to dump her awww-baby-I-love-you-baby boyfriend. Cheater also lets her dumped boyfriend, Khanna (Varun Sharma), know that she is to wed the aforementioned boss in Pathankot.

Khanna is distraught. He grabs one of those old style shaving blades and a cheese knife, rushes to an open-air bar, consumes undisclosed amounts of intoxicating liquids, and then, perched on the parapet, does ini-mini-mani-mo. He can’t decide whether to slit his wrist with the blade or to slice himself into neat slivers with the cheese knife.

This momentous moment comes quite early, about six-seven minutes into the film. And had no one intervened, the film could have ended here and saved us all from a lot of torture.

But his two friends — Arora (Sunny Singh) and Jain (Jassie Gill) — arrive in the nick of time to suggest an alternative plan: Khanna must go to Pathankot and tell the cheater, to her face, at her wedding, "I am over you". 

Khanna is chuffed, all say cheers and are soon joined by Honey Paaji (Manjot Singh). United by the bro code and their matching stupidity, the four set off in Honey Paaji’s car to fix Khanna’s broken heart.

‘Wild Wild West’ is set in Punjab, so the men call each other Arore, Khanne, Jainu. Arore is a slightly dim stud and womaniser who lies, makes out and repeats; Jainu, who is petrified of his miserly dad, is engaged to wed soon; Honey Paaji, who runs a truck business, loves his dead daddyji and his car.   

En route Pathankot, the film meanders needlessly through incredibly idiotic situations that, in the hands of better writers and directors of ‘Hangover’ and ‘Fukrey’ were funny. 

The ‘Wild Wild West’ team seems to think that muddled writing, stale situations, general chaos and characters behaving like morons is the stuff of comedy. So we are treated to dazzling sights and sounds. 

Khanne, in between whining and drinking, gets on top of Paaji's car and urinates on a toll booth. Jainu keeps sulking but finds himself a better half (Patralekhaa). Arore keeps checking out girls till he is knocked over by one Meera (Ishita Raj) who, incidentally, is a C-grade version of ‘Fukrey’s Bholi Punjaban (played by Richa Chaddha).

Honey Paaji, meanwhile, keeps trying to save his car from accidents and flower decorations, slaps a cop, and makes some feeble attempts to inject some sense into this nonsense. 

Eventually, all of them find themselves being chased by two trigger-happy drug lords in maroon, chenille tracksuits, while a bullet lodges itself in Khanne's bum and we are made to stare at it again and again and again.

Like Ranjan's ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’, director Simarpreet Singh's ‘Wild Wild Punjab’ is all about men pooling their resources so that one weepy ex-boyfriend can snub his mean girlfriend in public. The difference is that despite its misogyny, ‘Punchnama’ was funny and had excellent performances. 

Whereas ‘Wild Wild Punjab’ is a 120-minute-long parade of blundering incompetents, and everything that's gone into its making -- writing, direction and acting -- is a source of rising irritation and endless boredom.  

Discretion is strongly advised. 

Wild Wild Punjab

Cast: Varun Sharma, Sunny Singh, Manjot Singh, Jassie Gill, Patralekhaa, Ishita Raj

Direction: Simarpreet Singh

Rating: 1/5

Streaming on Netflix

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