‘Welcome to New York’ film: A Bollywood surgery performed with a butter knife


Chakri Toleti, Welcome to New York is a Satire on the International Indian Film Academy awards ceremony. On a serious note, it is a spoof in a form of a feature movie. The movie is less roast than shallow-fry, comprising a handful of genuinely funny gags and insider jokes and two Karan Johar's, one of whom wants to kill the director of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Johar, who made a forgettable acting debut in Bombay Velvet (2015), turns out to be the best thing about a comedy that takes a butter knife to an event ripe for evisceration.


In New York, IIFA employee, Sophie (Lara Dutta), smarting at stolen credit over her organisational skills, comes up with a plan for revenge. Sophie organises a talent hunt that will invite two Indians to share the stage with IIFA’s luminaries. She selects the two worst possible candidates whom she hopes will wreck the event: hammy actor Teji (Diljit Dosanjh) from Punjab and tacky costume designer Jeenal (Sonakshi Sinha) from Gujarat.


Karan Johar plays himself – a preening and fashion-conscious A-list director, as well as a gangster lookalike named Arjun who has lost his standing in the crime world after Johar’s success. Arjun is often mistaken for Karan and is hounded by selfie-seekers, and he wants revenge. Johar gets to flagellate himself for his older artistic choices – “I will kill you with a Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham DVD,” Arjun thunders – and poke fun at his real-life obsession with luxury brands and haute couture. In one scene, he loses his balance when thugs ruin his limited-edition Gucci shoes.


The comedy between Teji and Jeenal is less effective and feels forced and stretched despite Dosanjh’s charm and energy. There is ultimately no difference between the supposedly bad-taste IIFA awards and the movie’s overall lack of judgement about the level at which the humor is pitched. A bulk of the film takes place in hotel rooms, parking lots, and sets, and the overall look and feel are as impoverished as Jeenal’s ghastly threads.

Hindustan Times

After watching the lacklustre trailer of Welcome to New York, you may have wanted to ask the director why he made this film. And now, having watched the film, I will repeat my question: Why? Diljit and Sonakshi attempt to sound sweet-cute in the beginning, but their jokes fail to lighten up the mood already dampened by the most absurd opening montage in recent times.  What’s worse than one Karan Johar though? Two Karan Johars. The other one, Arjun, is a gangster, more like Karan’s alter ego. He tortures his victims by showing Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Innovative, I must say. Because Riteish Deshmukh is also there, so back-slapping and the mention of Ek Villain are probably part of the contract. Why should Johar have all the fun? If everybody from Rana Daggubati to Sushant Singh Rajput to Salman Khan are having fun at our expense then Riteish deserves his bit too. This is neither self-deprecating, nor humour. It is a 123-minute – excruciating, may we say -- tribute to careers of everyone they’ve managed to rope in for the film. Since Sonakshi is the film’s lead and Salman Khan comes in for a cameo, a Dabangg gag just has to be there. Sinha and Khan enact their Thappad scene and then dance like they are part of an actual award show promo and not a film. I don’t want to spoil the fun (!) for you, but Arbaaz Khan is also a part of it. It’s Dabangg after all. After a terrific debut in Udta Punjab, Diljit Dosanjh seems to be doing what he has already done in Punjabi films – playing a well intentioned bumpkin. Sonakshi Sinha matches him step for step. We see no sheen, not even a twinkle. Welcome To New York is totally lost in New York, and looks nothing more than an extended IIFA trailer. It’s not worth wasting your time, money, patience and intelligence on this mind-numbing  promotional video.

Rohit Vats
The Times of India

Director Chakri Toleti in his Hindi directorial debut takes viewers behind the scenes of a popular awards show and tries to elicit laughter by laying bare the drama that is an intrinsic aspect of showbiz. The in-jokes about the industry are plenty and Karan and Riteish bring their A-game to the film just like their acts at awards shows. In fact, Karan has some of the best lines and entertains with his double act. Sonakshi Sinha plays Jinal with earnestness and shares a warm camaraderie on screen with Diljit Dosanjh, but both of them have very little to work with in terms of their characters. Boman Irani is wasted in the role of Sophie’s boss and Lara Dutta makes the most of what is on offer. The film also drags in some places despite cameos from Salman Khan, Rana Daggubati, Aditya Roy Kapur and Sushant Singh Rajput. The laughs are few and far between and most scenes and dialogues which manage to tickle the funny bone involve Karan and Riteish. The biggest let-down is the script and the various tracks in the narrative don’t always come together as a whole and seem contrived. The visual effects in the film are also tacky, to say the least. Actual footage from the awards show doesn’t blend in seamlessly with the portions which were shot later. The film must have sounded clever on paper as it doesn’t take itself too seriously and attempts to recreate the irreverent tonality, characteristic of the banter at award shows. However, it doesn’t always manage to hit the bull’s eye.

Lasyapriya Sundaram
Boom Boom In New York
Rate This :