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Hyderabad Blues 2

IF YOU were waiting with bated breath for the sequel to "Hyderabad Blues" by Nagesh Kukunoor, well its not quite in the same breath or freshness as the first part.

But hold on. Its not entirely lacking in charm or delight. There are parts that remain true to the genre that made such films such pleasant viewing but some attitudes and characterisations don't go too well with the now experienced director whose last film "Teen Dewarein" was tremendous in its own way.

It is not as if Varun Naidu (Nagesh) has changed much. He remains the baffled America-returned still wondering at the ways and attitudes of the middle class in a city like Hyderabad. He continues to share jokes and camaraderie with his friends Sanjeev (Vikram Inaamdar) and gang.

What has changed is that Varun is now a desi with a successful call centre doing very well for himself married to the fiery Ashwini who is also in the process of setting up her own clinic.

Ashwini who was such a spunky, full of ideals woman in the first part is now a woman who is pretty silly at times.

Poorly cast (pretty expressionless in parts and looking pained most of the times) she now is obsessed with having kids (not unnatural) but making that the focus of her relationship with Varun, seems a bit out of place in today's context. Ashwini now feels she must get proper advice from her best friend Seema (Elahe Hiptoola) about how to get Varun to accepting kids.

Guess who comes to the rescue? Aunty Shashi (remember the sexy aunt in the first part trying to set her daughter up with Varun?).

But then the story needs its twists and turns. Enter new floor manager Menaka (Tisca Arora) beautiful and with a propensity to `fall in love with her bosses.' And she tries to seduce Varun, who stressed with constant arguments with Ashwini, is on the verge of responding.

What follows is a comic caper pretty much like in the first part and even if there is the feel of `been there before' it is entertaining and watchable.

The ending seems predictable much like in Hindi films, but there is a little twist that Nagesh provides to show that he is thinking of it too.

To go with the times perhaps Nagesh has introduced the reality of homosexuality in the form of the doctor who becomes Ashwini's partner in her new clinic. Its an odd and contrived piece that need not have been there.

A lot of the hybridized vocabulary that we got familiar with in the first part is here. And when you see how the character of Varun is Nagesh himself continues to be the best choice for the role.

Jyoti Dogra as Ashwini seems a really bad choice - while Elahe is just so wonderfully natural just as Vikram Inaamdar is as Sanjay who has grown from a bachelor to a father of two. The camera that was so homely in the first part is now more assured and on a higher roll.

CHITRA MAHESH

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