Pooja Entertainment’s Welcome To New York (UA) is about the planned and unplanned goof-ups in a Bollywood awards show.

The IIFA awards night is scheduled to take place this year in New York. The show organiser, Gary’s (Boman Irani), assistant, Sophie (Lara Dutta), comes up with an idea to lure sponsors: IIFA would run a talent hunt contest in India, and the two most talented winners would get a chance to showcase their talent in front of Bollywood stars, filmmakers and producers at the IIFA night in New York. In this way, the sponsors would get great mileage in India as well as New York. The sponsors like the idea and immediately come on board, prompting Sophie to seek a pay hike. But when Gary refuses, Sophie swears revenge by spoiling the show. To begin with, she selects the two least talented contestants so that it would reflect badly on the IIFA show. The contestants selected are Teji (Diljit Dosanjh), an aspiring actor, and Jeenal (Sonakshi Sinha), an upcoming costume designer.

Alongwith the Bollywood celebrities, Teji and Jeenal reach New York a couple of days before the awards night. The show hosts are filmmaker Karan Johar (Karan Johar himself) and actor Ritesh Deshmukh (Ritesh Deshmukh himself). As the awards night approaches, Sophie realises to her horror that Jeenal is making her mark and may not end up embarrassing the organiser. She now cooks up another plan to ruin the IIFA show – by getting host Karan Johar kidnapped.

There is a villain in New York, Arjun (Karan Johan again) who resembles Karan Johar. He hates host Karan because he spreads the message of love through his films. He has his men kidnap host Karan Johar before the event. What happens then? Do Teji and Jeenal present their talent at IIFA? Are they both an embarrassment to the show and the organiser? Is Karan Johar able to host the show with Ritesh Deshmukh? What happens to Arjun? Is the show a success or a failure?

Sara Louise Bodinar and Dheeraj Rattan have penned an apology of a story which is very thin. In the absence of a solid story, screenplay writer Dheeraj Rattan relies on gags to further the drama. Some of the humour in the drama is funny while a major chunk of it is dull. The first half, in general, does not have much to entertain. However, the post-interval portion is more interesting with some entertaining comic scenes. But it must be added, the comedy would appeal to a thin section of the niche audience and those who understand the working of the film industry and related work like awards nights etc. In other words, the film industry-related jokes are enjoyable but do not have universal appeal. All in all, while the story is weak, the screenplay is good in parts only, that too, for a section of the audience only. Dialogues are good and even very good at places but they are mostly class-appealing. They have been written by Dheeraj Rattan, Aakash Kaushik, Amol Parashar, Adhaar Khurana, Anukalp Goswami and Amrita Mordani.

Diljit Dosanjh is sincere and adds a lot of integrity to his performance. His earnestness shows in every scene in which he appears. Sonakshi Sinha is alright as Jeenal. She is a little more over-the-top than required. Karan Johar entertains in the double role. His comedy is the most entertaining part of the film. Ritesh Deshmukh is also very good and his smooth performance deserves good marks. Boman Irani gets limited scope but he stands his own whenever he appears. Lara Dutta plays the manipulative Sophie beautifully. Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif add tremendous star value in special appearances. Rana Daggubati makes his presence felt in a spe­cial appearance. Sushant Singh Rajput also shines in a special appearance. There are guest appearances by a host of other Bollywood bigwigs and they add glamour.

Chakri Toleti’s direction is veritably weak. To begin with, he has a terribly poor script in his hands, and to add to it, his narration is hardly of the kind which will keep the audience hooked. Music (Shamir Tandon, Sajid-Wajid and Meet Brothers) is fair; the absence of hit songs is sorely felt. Lyrics (Sajid, Danish Sabri, Kausar Munir, Kumaar, Charanjeet Charan and Varun Likhate) are in synch with the film’s mood. Song picturisations (by Salman Yusuff Khan, Adil Shaikh and Sanjay Shetty) are okay. Amar Mohile’s background music is quite nice. Cinematography (by Santosh Thundiyil and Neha Parti) is of a very good standard. Stefan Ritcher’s action scenes and stunts are in keeping with the flavour of the drama. Ritesh Soni’s editing is alright.

On the whole, Welcome To New York has only a few comedy scenes post-interval but that will not be enough at all. It will go largely unnoticed at the box-office.

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