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Upperstall Review

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Dostana

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Hindi, Drama, 2008, Color





When Sameer (Abhishek Bachchan) and Kunal (John Abraham) are turned down for an apartment in Miami because the land lady doesn’t want two strapping young men to corrupt her young sexy niece Neha (Priyanka Chopra), they go to plan 'G' – they pretend to be gay to secure the apartment. All is well till they meet the sexy siren Neha and when Neha’s boss Abhimanyu (Bobby Deol) enters the fray as the third contender for her affections, it gets even hotter under everyone’s vests and bikini’s in sunny Miami.



If you are the sort expecting to see a film with a sensitive take on the gay community by treating them as real and normal people through a well-written coherent and insightful script having properly fleshed out ‘real’ characters, then Dostana is certainly not the film for you. But should you want to see an extremely well-packaged but shallow and inane film and go through a series of unsubtle but (supposedly) funny scenes strung together and watch 3 smart, good-looking people with cardboard cut-out characterizations enjoy themselves, it’s the perfect film for you.

Let’s get one thing straight first. Dostana is not really a film about gays or the gay community. It is clearly established that both Sameer and Kunal are highly heterosexual, virile young lads who only have to pretend to be gay in order to be Neha’s roomies. But obviously the gay issue keeps propping up as the two men have to continue with their act whether applying for permanent residency in the United States or having to deal with Sameer’s hysterical mother who comes rushing down from London. Sadly, in the name of garnering laughs (and box-office receipts), Dostana too succumbs to the obvious. Boman Irani’s queer act, for one is cringe-worthy. While there are such characters in real life, no doubt, the makers needed to be extra careful and more responsible while dealing with them. In India, dealing with any gay issue is that much more touchy as a majority of the country still see homosexuality as disgusting and gay people as abnormal. The makers might argue that they have actually done their bit for the cause as finally Sameer’s mother does accept his ‘relationship’, Neha has no qualms with the two of them being gay, considering them her best friends and then there is the 'historic' moment (rather clumsily done one might add) in the finale.

But more than the gay issue, the script has major problems. Much of the film is a collage of largely silly scenes put together and not much more. Even as the story moves on, none of the love stories between Priyanka and the three men are developed convincingly or in an interesting manner. You can’t believe that the Chief Fashion Editor of a top fashion magazine in Miami would believe the shitty advice that Abhishek and John give him on how to woo Priyanka. And whether aiming for humour or not, brainwashing a five year old motherless child is just not on and speaks of rank bad taste. Then there are the loopholes. For instance, Abhishek shows Priyanka a diary of photographs of the two of them that she knows nothing about. Who took these photographs? From their conversation as they go through the album, it seems as if the two of them were alone during these moments. Also, one fails to undertsand why Miami has been chosen as the location as beyond some production value, it adds nothing to the film storywise, while repeated references to past KJo glories have now begun to irritatingly pall.

Admittedly, the odd moment does work – the first meeting of the two men, Kunal’s ‘grihapravesh’ and being gifted the kangans that Sameer’s mother has saved for her ‘bahu’ and musically Desi Girl is the best composed track of the film and foot tapping enough though one has to add, it could have been picturized far, far better.

Of the cast, Abhishek Bachchan, for once, comes off best appearing free and uninhibited while displaying a likeable sense of comic timing even if OTT at times like in his Venice story while John Abraham, for all his chemistry with AB, still has miles to go as an actor. He might be drop-dead good-looking with a to-die-for body that women (and gay men) would undoubtedly drool over but as a performer, he remains as wooden as ever. Priyanka Chopra has never looked better (no one can carry off the gold swimsuit quite like her) and goes through her role sincerely without being spectacular but Bobby Deol is strangely stiff and uncomfortable while frankly, one has had enough of Kirron Kher hamming away as the hysterical Punju aunty. The less said about her woeful face-making in the song picturised on her, the better. Sushmita Mukherjee is plain irritating while it is simply embarrassing watching Boman Irani play the cliché-ridden effeminate fashion editor. Shilpa Shetty’s item number accompanying the credit titles fails to add anything to the film.

Technically so-so, all in all, the film is typical KJo type superficial candyfloss entertainment or what one called a BBC – Big Budget Chu#$%$$.


Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan





 

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