Review: Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

Updated on Nov 24, 2007 05:14 PM IST

Like it or not, this Footballe balle is third-hand, tiresome and tortuous, except for last 15 minutes which whip up some nationalist fervour, avers Khalid Mohamed.

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Hindustan Times | ByKhalid Mohamed, Mumbai

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
Cast: John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Raj Zutshi, Boman Irani, Bipasha Basu
Direction: Vivek Agnihotri
Rating: **

Nose woes. A woman physio-therapist peers into the cavernous nostrils of an injured football player. Pause. She smiles mysteriously and announces, “Wow, you have such a delicate nose.” What a naak-a-bandi, really.

That’s Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (I’m not making up the title, cross my heart) directed by Vivek Agnihotri. Uh huh.

If he once confected the fruit-`n’-nuts Chocolate, which was at least slickly edited, now he kicks out a head-banger about the underpups of London’s Southall, who take on the gora Goliaths. Mission: to win three million sterling pounds. Zounds, Cheque De! Britain anyone?

Alas and alack for Mr Agnihotri, he’s already been pipped to post by Chak De! Hockey and Cricket kaLagaan. Like it or not, this Footballe balle is third-hand, tiresome and tortuous. Familiar elements from such DVD-rotated sportfests as Shaolin Soccer, Goal: The Dream Begins and The Replacements are more of a bore than a score. Snore.

In fact, it’s all as predictable as John Abraham’s onion-shaped muscles. He’s football whiz Sunny who’s quite a Cloudy chap really. He smashes window panes like Dennis the Menace, sides with the Brits and lives by his wits, of which there aren’t any. Called a ‘Paki’ by ignoramus whites, he just steps into a T-shirt extra-tight. What a sight.

Next, Cloudy Sunny defects to the Southall lame-legged team. Then he re-defects to the whites. Because he’s promised a sports car, an English country manor and Paris Hilton-type of blondes who never arrive. He’s conned and that too by, Dalip Tahil, behaving as if had just leapt out of Cartoon Network. Indeed, often Sunny (Abraham) isn’t sure about what’s going on. Neither are we.

Arshad Warsi is as nice as ginger spice. He wants to keep his Southall football club going. So, he serves free beer and murghtikkas to all those who can’t afford these (must remember this on next visit to London). Frequently he weeps, too, like Meena Kumari. Yet to his credit, he’s the only one who acts with some amount of conviction and expertise. No comments on Abraham, sorry.

Next: over to Bipasha Basu. As Lady Physio, she shows up for 10 (or 11) minutes to serve as a decoration object. Poor thing, she isn’t even assigned the honour of performing the Billo rani item number which goes to a Reena Roy wannabe. Major disappointment.

Also on the letdown fronts, count the unbelievably hammy performance by Boman Irani as a washed-out coach (they always are) and Raj Zutshi who’s howlarious (unintentionally) as a quasi-martyr to the football cause. And there are frequent cuts to an overwrought Mithun Chakraborty clone, not to forget a nasty British vamp who’s funnier than Rakhi Sawant in a blonde wig. Enough to send you into a wild jig.

More nerve-janglers: stage thespian Shernaz Patel, in a burst of floral frenzy, declares very symbolically, “Flowers of different colours look so lovely together.” Absolutely. And there’s this huge battered bus, which looks bombed, but is smoother than satin inside. Odd, very odd.

To be fair, the last 15 minutes or so do whip up sufficient nationalist fervour. The finale championship game is rigorously conceived and executed, and ably lensed by Attar Singh Saini.

For the rest of the way, the helter-skelter direction, the shallow characterisations, the ear-piercing background music score and the slack editing, make you wish you had stayed at home. Honestly, this one’s too much like that famous song Goalie maar bheje mein.

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