Saturday, March 25, 2017


Release date:
March 23, 2017 
Lal Jr.

Asif Ali, Bhavana, Lal, Sreenivasan, Lena, Baburaj, Sreenath Bhasi, Balu Varghese  

There are few mood killers more effective than a person who is overly aware of their good looks and a film that is conscious of being cool. In the case of the new Mollywood release Honey Bee 2: Celebrations, the self-consciousness is misplaced since there is nothing cool about this decidedly dull sequel to the 2013 hit Honey Bee.

Writer-director Lal Jr’s Honey Bee 2 takes off where the first film left off, recounting the suicide bid by Sebastian a.k.a. Seban (played by Asif Ali) and Angel (Bhavana). Saved from watery doom, the two become part of a witless scheme featuring their friends Ferno (Baburaj), Abu (Sreenath Bhasi) and Ambrose (Balu Varghese) and Angel’s tempestuous brothers who are now reconciled to their romance.

The goal: to get Seban’s parents’ approval for his marriage to Angel. The catch: he is afraid they may feel hurt that their son chose his bride while they were estranged. Pretending that Seban and Angel do not know each other, Mikhail (Lal) and Angel’s remaining siblings propose the alliance to Seban’s Mum and Dad, Ruby (Lena) and Thampi Anthony (Sreenivasan).

Far from being the buddy flick that the first one was, this one ends up being a strained, over-stretched family drama with the plot centering around Seban’s love for his parents, his desire not to cause them pain and his highly contrived actions as a result. The film falls flat in its bid to be emotional, and the effort dilutes its comedic elements which, in any case, are repetitive, loud and too often crass.

Is it really funny that a bunch of people shout a lot or down litres of alcohol? How juvenile must you be to enjoy the use of crude words and gestures to indicate human body parts?

The early scenes hold out promise if you have a taste for slapstick humour. Ferno’s English remains amusing, but how long can he sustain himself on that prop? Like actor Baburaj playing Ferno, Sreenath Bhasi too retains his comic timing as Abu, but all three friends are poorly developed in the script and relegated to the sidelines.

With Lal Jr undecided about what he wants the film to be, the second hour of Honey Bee 2 goes round and round in circles, with a multiplicity of characters adding to the consequent confusion.

The confusion becomes irrelevant though, because Seban is an unlikeable bore, and frankly, it is hard to care beyond a point whether he loves Angel, why he wants to be with her and whether they will end up together.

In fact, it is impossible to imagine why this vivacious, intelligent woman would want to be with this charmless fellow, or why the film revolves around him and not her. Equally, what does it say about the choices available to female artistes in Malayalam cinema, that an interesting, beautiful actress like Bhavana agreed to play a supporting character in such an ordinary film focused on a male star with far less charisma than she possesses?

Low-brow humour is bad enough, but what is a viewer to do with lack of energy and lack of purpose? The most fun I had with Honey Bee 2: Celebrations came from wondering where I might source that lovely modernised adaptation of the settu mundu Angel wears at her engagement ceremony; and from the foot-tapping songs Jillam jillala and Nummada Kochi, their music by Deepak Dev, the choreography, and in particular Lal’s uninhibited dancing to both.

Yes I do want to check out that chicken-laden “kaayika biriyaaniyude ruji” but macha, before that I must have a cup of coffee to jolt myself out of the boredom emanating from this film.
Rating (out of five stars): *

CBFC Rating (India):
Running time:
128 minutes

A version of this review has also been published on Firstpost:

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