Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Yamla Pagla Deewana: For Deol fans only
There is some charm in watching Sunny Deol on screen — whether it’s an emotional hug with his father or a fight scene where he holds up the entire floor of a building with one hand.
You realise his value even more when you see him alongside his brother Bobby Deol in “Yamla Pagla Deewana”. While Sunny is assured and warm, Bobby is awkward and bumbling his way through his role.
As for their father Dharmendra, he is a pale shadow of his former dashing self. Of course, the charm is there but making him dance alongside skimpily dressed women in item numbers doesn’t help.
Dharmendra plays Dharam Singh, a philandering conman who leaves his wife behind in Canada and runs away with his younger son to India.
Thirty years later, his elder son Paramveer comes to Banaras in search of his father and brother Gajodhar. When his father refuses to acknowledge him, he joins them in their con jobs, hoping to win him over.
When the girl Gajodhar loves is taken away to her hometown in Punjab by her dominating brothers, Paramveer devises a plan to get her married off to his brother.
Though intended to be funny, these situations are far from comic most of the time, and the laughs are few and far between. The Deol chemistry is spoilt by Bobby’s acting and the shoddy script and the fact that Dharmendra isn’t even there for a large part of the second half.
It is the second half that somewhat redeems this otherwise very mediocre film. If you can soldier through the half-hearted con attempts, two bad item numbers and a large number of shoddily acted drunken scenes, then perhaps you will find some salvation in the second half. Be warned though that it’s just marginally better than the first.
“Yamla Pagla Deewana” is strictly for Deol fans. Everyone else can give it a wide berth.