Deepti (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is lying on a hospital bed considering an abortion. The doctor (Tisca Chopra) gives her a final ultrasound before continuing with the abortion procedure, and breaks the awkward silence in the room, “Can you see that grey dot on the monitor? That’s the baby’s heart. It’s beating.” Deepti, instantly defensive, answers, “Yeh aap mujhe kyu dikha rahin hai?” She’s here for an abortion. Setting your moral compasses aside, it is the mother’s choice — even today. At least in India. So, is the doctor trying to manipulate her?
This particular scene in the Akshay Kumar, Kareena, Diljit Dosanjh, and Kiara Advani-starrer Good Newwz had us shake our heads. No, it wasn’t technically a manipulation, because Kareena’s Deepti actually wanted the baby. But it is moments or scenes like these, that Hindi cinema thinks it should deliver for the greater good of society, that ruin cinema itself.
Better Newwz has its fair and unfair share of preachy dialogues. From “tumhare Andar Ek Jaan pal rahi hai” in the sense of abortion to “apna khoon toh apna hi hota hai” in the context of IVF vs adoption, look closely, and Good Newwz would disappoint.
Yet, can we deny that it is entertaining? Probably not. Director Raj Mehta, with co-writers Jyoti Kapoor (also credited for story) and Rishabh Sharma, have spent little time on actual characterization, and more on making soda bubble-like comedy scenes. They work just fine. You chuckle, so hard at times that you’re almost snorting your neighbor’s coffee. Raj had colossal assistance from both Akshay’s Varun and Diljit’s Honey, whose impeccable comic timing coupled with a simple charm with which both are blessed, the fun elements stay fun and don’t turn crass. This, in itself, is a compliment to any comedy in Hindi cinema.
Kareena does her work superbly, as Deepti does. In reality, instead of Veere Di Wedding, this should have been her comeback movie. She is feisty, and she harbors an urge to be a mother in the midst of pursuing interviews with Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt. And she’s good for that. But in this 2-hour-14-minute film, Kiara emerges as a true find in Monika’s role! Her unwavering faith in Mata Rani is as endearing as the tracksuit of the maroon velvet that she pairs with a phulkari kurta and an oh-so – so-so-glitter-that-I’m-blind.
Just like the styling of Kiara as a Chandigarh-girl, Good Newwz is doing a lot of good things. Like the vibrant battle between the city-bred and the small town-bred Batras, seen not only through their shoes, but also through their body languages. But even if we were to disregard the intentionally hypocritical dialogs we alluded to above that almost made our coffee curdle, there’s plenty going wrong with Good Newwz. Like a premature baby with a head full of hair, the size of a six-month-old. Is Bollywood ever going to get newborns, right?
During Good Newwz’s promotions, Akshay promised to try to “Thoda commercially” introduce the IVF’s serious topic. In that, Akshay and the team were only semi-successful. But is it sufficient? We’re afraid, and it isn’t in posterity. And that Good Newwz is going to remain at best a one-time watch.