To the list of several mindless comedies this year including Dhamaal, Golmaal Unlimited and Saawariya, there's a new addition. Welcome is the story of a man who is terrorized into marrying a woman he deeply loves. He has to be, since he fell in love with her before seeing her acting. And no, we aren't talking of Mallika Sherawat. If you go to movies casting Mallika Sherawat to analyze her acting, there's a doctor we'd like you to meet. He too goes to Mallika Sherawat's movies to analyze her acting, so you'll find rare company. (If you thought we were suggesting something else, tut tut tut - remember, a joke is a joke and a lawsuit is a lawsuit.)
Anyway, Rajeev (Akshay Kumar) is the sauve brother-in-law of Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal), a rich businessman who has only one inviolable condition for Rajeev's bride - she should come from a good family. There is a flashback to this - and no, it is not that he has seen previous films of Katrina Kaif and therefore chose a condition with minimal histrionical requirements.
Now we all know how difficult it is to find girls from good families these days - some homes have girls but not good families, some homes have good familes but not girls, some homes have neither, and some homes are totally empty because nobody is staying in them. Rajeev therefore is stuck being a bachelor, and when he sees the gorgeous Pooja (Katrina Kaif) in a building, he feels the entire place getting hot. This is mostly because the building is actually on fire and they're trapped in it. Like any true man would do in the situation, he faints, and she rescues him.
He wants to kiss her to express his gratitude, but then several men in India want to kiss Katrina Kaif and express their gratitude for it, so he works hard to woo her. But then the real problem comes up - her brother Uday Shetty (Nana Patekar) is a powerful underworld don, and believes that everything he has is God's gift. Only, God is RDX (Feroz Khan), a bigger don based in Dubai. And to Shetty's aide Majnu (Anil Kapoor), Shetty is God. And they all also believe in religion - that it is about supplying opium to the masses.
Now religion and God are deeply personal beliefs and interpretations, but Ghungroo doesn't concur with this particular brand - for him, God is someone who saves and protects people. The dons tell him that they are like that too - they'll save and protect him from themselves if he gets Rajeev to marry Pooja, since the couple are in love. Ghungroo cannot bear to see the mafia become his family, even if it is after the interval. And it is up to Rajeev to come up with a plan.
It is unlikely that Welcome is based on a true life story - Mallika Sherawat wouldn't expose so little if this were real life. However, every story has a moral, and the moral of Welcome is that it takes a hell of a starcast to offset the effect of the wooden Katrina Kaif in a movie.
Indeed, the starcast of Welcome, its only real plus, does work - it makes a very ordinary movie watchable. Anil and Nana are fabulous actors, and it's a delight to watch them on screen - even if they are mouthing sad lines, they lend legitimacy to them. There's really not much for Akshay Kumar to do, and Feroz Khan wouldn't really seem like a great actor if you go by this film alone - he's using up the reputation he built. Mallika pouts and purrs, and hopefully that's your comfort zone. Katrina seems to peak once her make-up is over.
The movie suffers mostly due to poor creative levels - there's not really much in terms of slapstick comedy, and the second half sees Anil and Nana being conned by Mallika in a highly improbable and insensitive piece of writing. Comedy isn't a blank cheque.
Welcome is a tolerable watch if you are desperate to kill some time, but if you want to really have some proper fun, just stare at the face of the person in the next seat once every 2 minutes.