wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?) - —unless you grew up up with Angoor or like; if so, skip.

quick review:

When Shakespeare meets Rohit Shetty. Obviously, Rohit Shetty’s movie gets a much-needed story. Also, it’s cute that he tries to add logic. But also, Shakespeare’s story gets an unnecessary visual and aural facelift; and the comedy gets mind-numbing slapstick.

(Streaming partner: Netflix)

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Director: Rohit Shetty
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Slapstick
More Movie Info

If you thought previous Rohit Shetty films had a larger-than-life canvas that didn’t care what you had to say about reality and subtlety, I wonder what you’ll have to say about this one. Here is an attempt at exploring the “Nature vs Nurture” debate using his brand of humour.
This Christmas, Cirkus creates a fairy-tale world in which he throws the characters a party of bright colours and ear-throbbing sounds with intent and conviction. There is no reason for you to dislike this film any more than the others in the Rohit-Shetty genre. And if you have liked his earlier work, you are in for a cheerful, festive end to 2022. Me? I am in the former set of people and managed to find something cute despite the overall tedium of the film.

Every once in a while, when Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma take a breather and speak normally, it comes as a huge relief.

Belonging to a generation that has grown up on Angoor, it took an extra effort for me to see the brighter side of what the makers of Cirkus tried to bring to the table. Some of the additions to the story are cute in that, Rohit Shetty is trying to introduce logic and emotions into the story. Of course, the manner in which that comes about doesn’t deceive the loud texture of the film.

However, why a side-plot was introduced, a la Hindi films from the 80s and 90s is beyond me. The thieves-and-‘gang’ thread completely takes away from the point of the previous versions of the Shakesperean comedy—that one of the characters sees conspiracy theories everywhere owing to his love for detective novels. That it uses slapstick as a mode of communication for this subplot, complete with innuendo, only made it worse for me.

Of course, performances across the board are in line with the genre. So much so that, every once in a while, when Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma take a breather and speak normally, it comes as a huge relief. However, I can imagine the entire cast and crew having a grand time with all the craziness.

For a person who uses Angoor references like ‘chirkut kumaar’, ‘gang’ and ‘khaate tum ho, ang mere lagta hai’ in everyday conversations, however, it is disorienting to watch an adaptation carry references from Sholay to Singham. And there are many tidbits that felt like references, but I didn’t get them. For instance, I would like to know the significance of the shop names in this La-la land, such as Higgin Bothams, Rhythm Corner, Madras Café, King’s Café, and John’s Bakery.

Similarly, references to older movies in terms of songs and personalities are unmissable. But the reason for their inclusion is elusive and thus feels random. Did Jalal Agha, Sunil Dutt, Polson, Padosan, or Pradeep Kumar have a connection with some version of A Comedy of Errors? I imagine, given the theme of electricity running through the film, it must have been too tempting to not replicate Hungama’s last scene.

Also, the timelines seem to be messed up. The movie references are all from the 60s and early-70s. But the costumes remind you of the late-70s and the original music reminds you of the early-80s. And when did trams exist in Bangalore? Yeah, that’s me asking for coherence and semblance to reality. This is after I had decided to not question things like neither Roy having their neurons reset despite multiple electric shocks. In fact, I appreciated that the newborn Roys and Joys weren’t real babies since I find the use of real babies in films quite problematic.

Here is an attempt at exploring the “Nature vs Nurture” debate using the Rohit Shetty brand of humour.

At the same time, the presentation of class inequality bothered me even though I understand that the character is most likely being portrayed as a villain for treating his ‘servant’ shabbily. It is heart-breaking then, that the good intention and prime agenda of pointing out unnecessary societal disharmony feel like an afterthought slapped onto the end of the film. The changes in the movie are engineered to make this currently relevant commentary. However, the execution makes it seem force-fitted and extraneous to the basic plot.

- meeta, a part of the audience

29 reviewers(?) - 2 yays 5 so-so 22 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Ranpreet Kaur, Filmi Beat : ...On the other hand, the music of the film gets an average reaction. However, Deepika Padukone's special number with Ranveer Singh (Current Laga Re) happens turns out to be one of the highlights of the film. Their chemistry in the song was electrifying. While the background score is decent as well, the sound effects were quite impressive for a comedy film. Overall, Cirkus gets 3.5 stars and the extra mark here goes for the fantastic supporting cast who did their well and brought the film to us in a different manner where we can laugh in these hard time... full review

Thumbs up, by Smriti Sharma, : ...Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus stars one of the best performers in the country right now – Ranveer Singh is a festive appropriate film. ‘ Holiday cheer is in order! Cirkus is the perfect movie to watch this holiday season if you want to have some fun without getting too rowdy with the family.... full review

So-So, by Smrity Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...Cirkus is directed by Rohit Shetty, the man behind some of the most loved big Bollywood entertainers; it stars Ranveer Singh who is one of the finest actors we have in India right now and the film is fit for the festive-holiday season. 'Tis the season to be jolly! So if you are looking to enjoy a film with the family, with some harmless entertainment this holiday season, Cirkus is for you. Tip: Take the kids and the older folks in the family along for sure.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Pooja Hegde’s character is said to be a suspense novelist but all we see of her is a weeping willow who wants to be a mother at all costs. Jacqueline Fernandez is seen in the opening ten minutes and then disappears, only to return in the last ten. Varun Sharma, who can be relied to provide light hearted moments is given a dazed expression throughout for some reason in both his roles. And Ranveer Singh, who was so good with one-liners in Simmba, is perhaps given the most underwritten role (s) of his career. He’s known for his flamboyance both off and on screen and it’s strange to see him in a role which doesn’t play to his strengths.... full review

So-So, by Nitin Jain, : ...All in all, Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus spends more energy in creating colourful visuals trying to please your eyes but fails with below par writing and stagy performances. If you are in a ‘mood for an outing’ this weekend with your family than this might not hurt!... full review

So-So, by Gayatri Nirmal, Pinkvilla : ...Cirkus tick marks all the boxes when it comes to performance. Ranveer Singh’s finesse as an actor to portray dual characters with distinctiveness is applauseworthy. Varun Sharma is a surprise package, who effortlessly makes people laugh. However, for me, the actual heroes of Cirkus are Siddharth Jadhav and Sanjay Mishra. There isn’t a dull moment with them on screen. Both the girls, Jacqueline Fernandez and Pooja Hegde play their part convincingly. Johnny Lever as Polsan is mind-blowing. Tiku Talsania, Ashwini Kalsekar, Mukesh Tiwari, Anil Charanjeett, Vijay Patkar, Vrajesh Hirjee and Sulabha Arya steal scenes with their comic timing and acting skills. Final Verdict Strictly for Rohit Shetty fans!... full review

So-So, by Shreya Tinkhede, Times Now : ...All said and done, Cirkus is a decent comedy film, which we believe can be a good one-time treat with your friends and family this holiday season. If you are an ardent Ranveer Singh fan, you can certainly give it a go. But you will come out in awe of Sanjay Mishra.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Shetty and his team should be touching their own feet to reassure themselves that what they are doing is really respectable comedy.... full review

Thumbs down, by L. RAVICHANDER, Deccan Chronicle : ...This Cirkus gets everything, not just the spelling, wrong.... full review

Thumbs down, by Vivek M V, Deccan Herald : ...In Cirkus, one Roy is called Electricman as he has a superpower — he cannot get electrocuted. However, the other Roy gets electrocuted, whenever his twin brother comes in contact with electricity. In reality, it’s the audience who feels ‘shocked’ by ... Read more at: full review

Thumbs down, DNA : ...Shetty, who has specialised in a certain kind of humour in superhits such as Singham, Golmaal and Chennai Express, fails miserably in raising laughs. The only thing that works for the film is Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh`s sudden impromptu jig to Current laga re. That`s the only paisa vasool part of the film, which must go down as a massive wasted opportunity.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...May be I’m missing the clown in his circus. Until then, I’m just going to picture Sanjay Mishra mumbling something along the lines of “Hey you Roy, bad boy, don’t be coy, where is the joy?”... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepanjana Pal, Film Companion : ...Growing up, one set of Ranveer and Varun make Cirkus their home while the other set is raised in the luxury of Bangalore. Both the sets are named Roy and Joy to add more confusion and comedy. Unaware of their twisted fate, their paths begin to align when the Bangalore set of Roy and Joy head to Ooty. During their one-day never-ending trip, Roy and Joy land in supposedly hysterical situations.... full review

Thumbs down, by ANNA MM VETTICAD, FirstPost : ...To get an idea of the triteness in Cirkus, sample this conversation that takes place when Sulabha Arya’s character aims a firearm at a man... full review

Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, : ...The plot is based on Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, which was made as Do Dooni Char, and then remade as Angoor. Two pairs of twins are switched and we watch the resulting confusion, played out by two Ranveer Singhs, two Varun Sharmas, Pooja Hegde, Jacqueline Fernandez, and a riot of comic-book colours put in by the production designer. But where's the effort? There's a jeweller who doubles as an Urdu poet. There's a cab driver who says ominous things. But why are they so underused? Okay, I laughed at the running gag about a pair of spectacles flying off a man who is slapped hard. That's how it goes: ten dull bits and then one good laugh, ten dull bits and then one good laugh… The only takeaway from Cirkus is that it's not easy making lowbrow comedy. Excuse me now as I head to YouTube to watch Johny Lever and Upasana Singh going abba dabba jabba… Read more at: full review

Thumbs down, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Cirkus is based on William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors. I would leave you with that thought and let this sink in as it may take a while. Watch it only if you are an ardent Ranveer Singh fan and can muster the courage to watch him get so terribly wasted.... full review

Thumbs down, by Tushar Joshi, india today : ...Cirkus works best when it lets its supporting cast shine. Be it Sanjay Mishra, Johnny Lever or Mukesh Tiwari, Shetty invests as much time as he can in making these characters enjoyable just like his protagonist. Empowering parallel stories and using characters to take the narrative ahead have always been Shetty’s strength and he shines the most in these scenes. The writing with the punches and rhymes works in a few scenes. Varun Sharma’s timing with Ranveer feels natural and the actor delivers punches even in the most subtle scenes.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...But he’s not the only one. In a Rohit Shetty movie, everybody gets slapped. So this bunch, which includes a trio of thieves, moustachioed hoteliers, elderly aunts, jewellery shop owners, and sundry other folk trade slaps whenever they get a chance. Which happens a lot. I did hear a ripple of laughter in the theatre when a slap rings out, because for some strange reason, being slapped is deemed to be funny.... full review

Thumbs down, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Rohit Shetty somewhere said he got feedback that this is better than the original 2006 Golmaal. Why? When these ‘yes men’ will stop misguiding genuine filmmakers like Rohit who makes the films for masses. From a hand stuck in a car door to putting someone’s a** on fire, Shetty tries everything to evoke laughter but unfortunately, it’s not enough. Rohit’s films have never boasted of having great songs but they haven’t been as bad as this one. Three songs & I don’t even remember the other 2 apart from the trailer’s Current Laga.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Cirkus is a high-scale production with good support from the technical team. Current Laga is the only saving grace in the music album, and wouldn’t you love the wild dance steps of Deepika Padukone. The cinematography is neat, the background score keeps you busy, and the locations and sets are eye-pleasing, though some of them look fake and banal. The VFX work didn’t provide details on the final output. Cirkus‘ dialogues might just go down in history books as one of the worst written dialogues for a Rohit Shetty film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Cirkus aspires to be a highwire act. The tightrope it walks is precariously weak and frayed. The result is a great fall for both Rohit Shetty and Ranveer Singh. Stay away.... full review

Thumbs down, by Dishya Sharma, : ...Growing up, one set of Ranveer and Varun make Cirkus their home while the other set is raised in the luxury of Bangalore. Both the sets are named Roy and Joy to add more confusion and comedy. Unaware of their twisted fate, their paths begin to align when the Bangalore set of Roy and Joy head to Ooty. During their one-day never-ending trip, Roy and Joy land in supposedly hysterical situations.... full review

Thumbs down, by Divya Bhonsale, NewsBytes : ...Whether it is the film's storyline, its music, or even Deepika Padukone's cameo for a dance number, there is barely anything that has worked. The only two actors who can possibly make you laugh are Mishra and Sharma, the Fukrey actor. Shetty's attempt to deliver a comedy-drama has fallen flat... full review

Thumbs down, by Syed Firdaus Ashraf, Rediff : ...The only saving grace of the movie is Deepika Padukone and her song, Current Laga Re.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Energy is Ranveer Singh's middle name. But in Cirkus, he's like a class clown on an off day. He plays both the Roys like a single-expression robot with zero comic timing or emotional response to anything. Even the usually chirpy Varun Sharma looks like he got grounded for gate-crashing a stranger's party. There's absolutely no chemistry between Ranveer and Varun. Or Ranveer and his love interests.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...The cast is stacked with comedians who have worked with stronger material in Shetty’s previous films. Siddhartha Jadhav plays Momo, a thief with an Ace Ventura haircut who has more energy than anyone else in the film. Momo’s boss is Polson, who resembles the American soul singer James Brown and is played by the redoubtable Johnny Lever.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...At one point, running out of alliterations, Mishra describes the proceedings as Ooty ki ootpatang. That is what Cirkus is; a reckless ruckus in Ooty. Unless someone else is paying for the ticket, it is better to get into a quilt and catch up with the exploits of Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma on television once more.... full review

Thumbs down, The Quint : ...9. Veteran comedy actors keep dropping in, attempting to enliven the audience. We are introduced to Johnny Lever's character, who appears to be the ringleader of the gang of thieves. Upon asking Momo what has transpired, he points to the moon. A montage of the chase sequences start playing on the moon. I remain unamused, internally begging the theatre lights to switch on and announce the end of this film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ronak Kotecha, Times of India : ...‘Cirkus’ is a busy film filled with a battery of characters put together with a purpose to make us laugh, but is far from that. Entertaining the audience with slapstick comedy and drama is a tightrope that Rohit Shetty has successfully walked before but this time he seems to have tripped several times along the way.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Raj : Better watch Angoor than this crass

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Slapsticky slapping around
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Two sets of twins are separated at birth but brought together by fate
  • General Look and Feel: Bright, loud and cheerful. Very.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (2)

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Dear Meeta, nicely covered the comparaitve decadal analysis of transformative Shakspearean structure. I've heard that the 80% movie was shot in front of Blue screen during covid and post-production with VFX.

@Raj Yeah, I figured. I didn't mind the aesthetic created either.

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