Coolie No 1
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan, Paresh Rawal, Jaaved Jaaferi
Director: David Dhawan
Not that the Govinda-Karisma starrer Coolie No 1 of 1995 was a great film but it had an inherent and very natural funny vibe to it, so typical of most of David Dhawan’s slice-of-life comedies. A simple storyline, absolutely spot-on comic timing, and addictive songs.
Dhawan’s films such as Aankhen, Shola Aur Shabnam, Coolie No 1, Judwaa, Hero No 1, were mostly those middle class poor guy-rich girl type of stories that made us notice the simplicity of the idea and their fun execution. Unfortunately, nothing similar can be said about Dhawan’s latest—Coolie No 1 remake—featuring his son Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan. It’s tiring and irritating to see Dhawan senior losing his touch and presenting a half-baked product that has nothing to call its own, other than a couple of unremarkable oneliners and surprisingly tacky makeup.
The story remains the same. Rozario (Paresh Rawal), a Goa hotelier, insults Jaikishan (Jaaved Jaaferi), a matchmaker, and the latter settles the score by getting rich Rozario’s daughter Sarah (Sara Ali Khan) married to a poor station porter Raju (Varun). In between, there are song remakes, scenes remakes, and dance remakes. Imitation is definitely the sincerest form of flattery, especially if it is of your own film!
For a movie that is still stuck in the ‘90s, the absence of actors like Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor, and Sadashiv Amrapurkar, is a big blow even if you refrain from comparisons. There’s not much left to do though!
Totally lackluster dialogues and the absence of intent don’t raise the level of cringe to the required level. Where is that spontaneity and the Govinda magic?
Sample this dialogue:
Heaven on the docks man,
I am ‘lomdi’ and the fox man!
Or, this one:
Jab meri beti ho gayi iski,
Toh it’s only rum and whiskey!
I don’t see anyone laughing!
Then there are frequent imitations of Bollywood stars in bizarrely disinteresting ways, and in the middle of all this unintentional chaos, Sara Ali Khan keeps standing on the balcony in search of a savior, not for her but the film. Either she knew what was going to happen to the film and wanted to get out of the sets as soon as possible, or what they say about nepotism is true. It’s not a film she would like to be remembered for.
And I haven’t even touched on the issues of the generational gap, gender sensitivity, religious bias, and Rajpal Yadav’s acting.
A dialogue from Govinda’s Dulhe Raja sums up Coolie No 1 remake: “Nanga nahayega kya, nichodega kya.”
With 134-minute runtime, it seems like a never ending saga of painful comedy and mistimed tragedy. Please carry your own luggage.