Direction: Ashwni Dhir
Actors: Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Sanjay Dutt
In 1923, Buster Keaton directed a delightful comedy titled Our Hospitality, about a multi-generational family feud. The last descendent of one family returns to his native village after many years. The rival family wants to kill him but they have a rule about not harming houseguests, so as long as he is in their house, he's safe.
Now, 89 years later, the story arrives in Bollywood via Telugu cinema (SS Rajamouli first made it here, as Maryada Ramanna). In the hands of director and co-writer Ashwni Dhir, it has become one of those high-decibel, low-IQ masala movies that hit the screen every few months.
These aren't so much films as series of running gags, interspersed with action sequences, instantly forgettable songs and nonsensical dialogue. The idea, I think, is to be entertained without straining your brain. I'm all for it, as long as there is significant entertainment.
There was none here.
Son of Sardaar is exhausting, painfully loud and way too long, with too few laughs.
Ajay Devgn as the buffoonish and burly Jassi has some moments of genuine comedy, but Sanjay Dutt, playing the ferocious Billu Paaji, is just large and lumbering. The one bright spot here is Juhi Chawla as Billu Paaji's mooh-boli biwi - she sparkles in every scene she has.
Son of Sardaar made me miss Rohit Shetty, the reigning king of this type of cinema. That says it all.
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Son of Sardaar
Budget: Rs. 30 crore
Number of screens booked: Around 1,700
Promotional strategy: Ajay Devgn has gone all out for the film. He and Sonakshi sung the national anthem at the Delhi F1 race, shot for a special Diwali programme (for Star) and appeared on reality shows (KBC and Bigg Boss). In addition to a YouTube campaign, it has also generated some buzz on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
Buzz so far: For an item song, ‘Po po’, Ajay roped in Salman Khan. The music is fast gaining popularity.
Diwali clashes in the last five years
2011: RA.One, Tell Me O Kkhuda and Damadamm
Only RA.One worked moderately well.
2010: Golmaal 3 and Action Replayy
Golmaal 3 was the bigger hit.
2009: All The Best, Main Aur Mrs Khanna and Blue
Only All The Best made any profit.
2008: Fashion, Golmaal Returns, Roadside Romeo and Heroes
Only the first two did well.
2007: Saawariya and Om Shanti Om (OSO)
OSO was the clear winner.
— With inputs from Shalvi Mangaokar