MAD BAD SAD
In Yamla Pagla Deewana (named after a particularly foot-tapping Dharmendra song), the character of Dharam, played by Dharmendra, looks at a photo of his younger self and exclaims, “How handsome.” He calls himself Garam Dharam and boasts that women love him so much that he probably has kids in every street. Is this a tribute to the ‘He Man’ Dharmendra persona, or a mockery?
Dharmendra was a hero in films in the true sense of the word, noble, kind, brave -- how is turning him into a lecherous old man in a film doing his image any good? Of course, he was handsome and had – still does -- a huge fan following, but it is embarrassing to watch him and the two Deol sons keep up these self-referential surges throughout a very bad film, with just a few moments of warmth and humour to keep it afloat -- maybe in B Centres and the Punjabi Diaspora where everyone loves the Deols.
Canada-based Sardar Paramveer (Sunny Deol) with a blonde nag of a wife (Emma Brown), and weepy mother (Nafisa Ali) learns that his father is alive and in Benares with a younger brother Gajodhar (Bobby Deol), he didn’t know about. He goes to Benares, where the two rob, swindle, drink, womanise and the son proudly calls the father “Kameena.”
If this isn’t cringe-making enough, the interminable film then moves to Punjab, where Gajodhar’s lady love (Kulraj Randhawa) lives with five loony brothers, who want her to marry an NRI. A bit of DDLJ is played out there, before everybody is united in “Canedda,” and the hammering on the audiences’ heads ends. There are fight scenes, two ‘item’ numbers, many drunken revels and the promotion of an old style machismo that isn’t attractive even in homage-to-the-past movies.
With such a film, Samir Karnik does a great disservice to Dharmendra, one of our truly great stars; Sunny Deol is the only one who comes off well in the film. Bobby Deol, of course, doesn’t have any image that needs preserving, or he would have been let down too, but this badly-dressed, paan-spitting boor of a character. It may work in the North, but that isn’t such a big achievement, is it?