Review: Dostana

Happily, good taste, pop colour Miami locations, high-end costumes, make-up styling and the A-grade Dharma Productions values add up to a zingy entertainer, avers Khalid Mohamed.
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Updated on Nov 17, 2008 06:06 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByKhalid Mohamed, Mumbai

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra
Direction: Tarun Manshukhani
Rating: ***

No ifs or butts about this. You got males. A fashion magazine editor’s eyes break into a disco lust on spotting two hunks. An officer from the American administration, breaks into a jazz ballet funk. Indeed, all these guys are having a blast which lasts. No glycerine tears of guilt here, it’s ticklish humour to the hilt.

Debutant Tarun Mansukhani’s Dostana could have become just one big Homophobiana. Happily, good taste, pop colour Miami locations, high-end costumes, make-up styling and the A-grade Dharma Productions values add up to a zingy entertainer. Sure, you do have trouble with the second-half of this cross-gender romcom because the script runs helter-skelter as if trying to find a bomb shelter. Yet in sum, the effort is remarkable for extending the limits of sexual permissiveness and for touching upon a subject that has remained largely in the studio closets. Gay gay gay re saiba really.

Besides its welcome political incorrectness, this Miami mambo is inhabited by two 21st century guys. One’s eeps, a hospital nurse (Abhishek Bachchan) and the other’s a photographer (John Abraham), both chasing bikinis on the beach and waking up every morning with brunettes and blondes. Both need a room on rent which shouldn’t be an issue, but the script insists that it is. Fair enough, you go along with that and land up at the high-rise condo of Lady Fruitcake (Sushmita Mukherjee, over the toppers). Fruitcake tells them to go jump in a lake. Quake.

They persist, lie through their teeth that they are gay and just not interested in Cakey’s niece (Priyanka Chopra). Needless to report, they flip out for the Niece Niece Baby, one buys an amusement park for a night to woo her, the other takes her to an exclusive-`n’-expensive screening of Kuchh Kucch Hota Hai to coo coo with her. Now swinger over to the nurse’s mum (Kirron Kher, howlarious). She arrives to organise a bridal ceremony for her son’s boyfriend. “Tujhe kya kahoon..bahu ya daamad?” she weeps, while handing over heirloom gold kadaas.

Light-heartedly written, this Brokeback Beach Bingo, does however hit speedbreakers, with the arrival of a third suitor (Bobby Deol, looking as if were under local anaesthetic). He’s Niece Gal’s BIGG Boss. So what if he doesn’t seem to do a jot of work, stares beatifically and once in a while cuddles up with a kid to demonstrate that he’s a single daddy? And oh-ho, he even claims he’s very good in …and then arches an eyebrow. Pray what? Tell us.

The finale isn’t exactly as bold and larkish as the rest of this fairy tale (with shades of I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry), and several scenes seem either expendable or déjà whew like the one set in a football stadium with the crowds cheering for love, love, love. No goal this.

On the bouncy-‘and-buoyant side, count Shilpa Shetty’s kick-off beachside boogie, the sensitively written-and-directed scene in which the mother being told to accept her son the way he is, the Vishal-Shekhar music score and Ayananka Bose’s cinematography of candy colours. Cool.

Of the cast, Boman Irani in a cameo is terrific. Priyanka Chopra is in form, pretty convincing as a working woman (she even announces her age as 27), who’s trying to deal with professional pressures. John Abraham is sheer eye-toffee and correctly restrained, without ever overdoing what passes off in the movies as gay gestures. Abhishek Bachchan is first-rate. In fact, he’s the most inspired of the lot, displaying a gift for dramatic and comic timing. Way to go Dostana! Enjoy the difference.

Also Watch: Video Review of Dostana by Khalid Mohamed: Part 1 | Part 2

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