The husband and I watched ‘Dhamaal’, a leave-your-brains-aside kind of movie last night. Bollywood reviewers often give this caveat before recommending the David Dhawan type of movies, but unfortunately, although I try hard to implement their well-meaning advice, it rarely works for me.
The last movie of this kind I really liked must have been ‘Andaz Apna Apna’. On second thoughts, AAA isn’t a no-brainer movie really. There are plenty of really intelligent spoofs in it, don’t you think?
Last week, I tried watching ‘Partner’, the latest offering from the king of no-brainer movies, David Dhawan, but had to give up mid-way in despair. Sure, I did not look for a story, nor did I try to discern any kind of logic in the proceedings, yet the tomfoolery of a look-I-am-so-cool Salman Khan and a bumbling and visibly aging Govinda did absolutely nothing for me. There is such a thing as trying too hard, after all.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by this new movie, ‘Dhamaal’. To be frank, the only reason I chose it out of a dozen other options was the presence of Arshad Warsi, my new favorite after the Munnabhai series. (On a side note, don’t you think Circuit was the real ‘bhai’ of Munnabhai?) But surprisingly, two other actors, Javed Jaffrey and Ritesh Deshmukh completely overshadow Arshad bhai in this mad movie.
The story is nothing special, four crooks (Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey, Ritesh Deshmukh and Ashish Chaudhary), staunch friends and lovable idiots, compete with a cop (Sanjay Dutt) for a pot of gold. The comedy is completely situational and Javed Jaffrey, in the role of a hilariously stupid simpleton, has some of the best lines in this laugh-riot.
Sample this, the pranksters are trying to collect money from a dead man’s son in exchange of a painting depicting a ghoda (horse) eating ghaas (grass) that the dead man apparently bought just before his death. Unfortunately, the painting in question turns out to be a blank canvas.
‘Arre, painting mein ghaas kahan hain?’, the frustrated son wants to know. (Where is the grass in the painting?)
‘Woh toh ghode ne kha liya na!’ (The horse ate the grass of course!)
‘Par fir ghoda kahan hain?’ (Then where is the horse?)
‘Ab ghaas khane ke baad ghoda kyon rukega? Who toh chala gaya!’ (Why should the horse be here after the grass is eaten? He’s wandered off somewhere!)
The real gem is the last line from Jaaved Jaffrey. ‘Aap chinta mat kijiye. Jab ghaas firse ugegi toh ghoda khud ba khud waapas aa jayega!’ (Don’t worry. Once the grass grows back, the horse will come back too!)
Some of the jokes are bawdy and repetitive, but there are enough of such gems scattered throughout the narrative to keep you laughing most of the the time. We could not watch the entire movie last night, so I can’t comment on the rest, but the first half definitely has a must-watch-once rating. And the usual caveat applies of course, leave your brains aside please!
Update: We watched the rest of the movie last night, and predictably, the second half did not live up to my expectations. The stauch friendships fell apart, the jokes become bawdier and even more repetitive and the humor seemed more and more forced. This has become routine for me now. I love a movie, then expect the world from the next one and always get disappointed. The next time, I steel myself not to expect anything and end up loving the movie again, so the next time I have high expectations again. And the cycle continues!