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Movie Review: All the Best

It’s heartening to watch Devgn then stick his neck and funnybone out with such a low-key film, cracking it with his casual presence and precise timing. Comedy is for an action movie-star, a retirement benefit, says Mayank Shekhar.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2009 15:39 IST
Mayank Shekhar

All The Best
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Fardeen Khan, Sanjay Dutt
Direction: Rohit Shetty
Rating: ***

At a couple of instances, the hero in this film makes light of his non-hero looks. He gets referred to as a driver, and once as an ugly bloke. For a movie-star who’s also the money-bag behind his own film, this self-deprecation appears rare or unexpected for self-serious Bollywood.

In the last decade, the actor held sway in the hinterlands with his rustic ‘actioners’ (Diljale, Jung, Jaan etc). For starters, he looked more the part of rest of India. The country-sides identified with his characters, his joys, and his dressing sense. I’d think roles in Thakshak or as Malik in Company brought forth his true on-screen insouciance and quiet swagger. He became slightly urban-cool. Once a big gun, Devgan is now Devgn, by a stroke of star-wars of the numerological kind.

He’s stopped working, it seems, with his audiences. His contemporaries have fared much better. The reasons are obvious: U Me Aur Hum (part-Notebook, part-Iris, wholly sappy device he debuted directorially with). Sunday (a quick-job, unscripted comedy). Ram Gopal Ki Aag is of course another story.

It’s heartening to watch Devgn then stick his neck and funnybone out with such a low-key film, cracking it with his casual presence and precise timing. Comedy is for an action movie-star, a retirement benefit. Both genres, I suppose, are relatively easy on the head.

But humour is much about funnier lines (Bunty Rathod, Farhad-Sajid) to aid funny situations (Robin Bhatt, Yunus Sajawal). This film is admittedly based on a play (Right Bed Wrong Husband).

Mercifully that’s all it aspires to remain. Though the premise is pretty weak; and the energy levels, relatively low.
One bedroom-hall-kitchen for a setting. A beach in Goa for fresh air. Three main actors. All that transpires between them takes place over a day, or two, max. Nothing too fancy. Hardly a background score. Few songs for fillers. Fewer plots to confuse the audience. Just a gag after another.

A loafer (Fardeen Khan) has another one for a best-friend (Devgn). He also has a millionaire for a step-brother (Sanjay Dutt). The rich dude sends in extra pocket money because the jobless one claims he’s married, though he’s not. Step-bro drops in to check on the loafer. His layover for a few hours in Goa turns into cover-up of a lifetime for his host.

Everything that you could imagine outlandish is up in the air here. Step-bro is on his way to Africa’s Lushoto and speaks Swahili. A trucker (Sanjay Mishra, phenomenally nutty), who’s won a Zee lottery, wants to pick up the loafer’s family bungalow. The don the best-friends owe money to (Johnny Lever, back in biz after long) is mute and talks with his spoon and glass…

Literally nothing makes sense. The only way to judge comedy is if you can hear yourself crack up more than once in a while. You would. For the rest, as the trucker points out, “You wouldn’t care a Bhakra Nangal Damn!”