Below is the unedited review of Yamla, Pagla, Deewana, published in iMAGES on Sunday, Sunday January 23 2011. The published version is liked at the end of the post.
Who’s the Yamla Again?
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
In “Yamla, Pagla, Deewana” it isn’t difficult figuring things out. Ok, so it’s a comedy-cum-mockery of old-school formula. We get that. It’s about an NRI, who comes back to search and woo his small-time ruffian father and brother, who he didn’t know existed until an angrez tells him so (the angrez was thugged, naturally). Ditto. Seeing that this is the Deol family, everyone would be looking at each other, wide-eyed with a whole lot of brotherly-fatherly hugging. Yup, yup. It would be cute but unemotional. That’s a given. Would it be a silly, fun, romp? Romp. Yes; Fun. Sometimes; Silly? Every frame.
A Yamla, a Pagla and a Deewana. One, hulk-busting Sunny Deol in Sardar garb, a badly dressed Booby Deol as a hammy thug and a wrongly cast Dharmendra. Who was the Yamla again? Aha! So the trailer had you fooled too.
Amateurishly directed by Samir Karnik, who started with “Kyun…! Ho Gaya Naa” and graduated to a steadily declining career with “Nanhe Jaisalmer”, “Heroes” and “Vaada Raha” continues to seek rock-bottom of a bottomless pit. Not only is his blocking (the direction a director gives to the camera and the actors) sloppy, his actor coaxing ability is in auto-shortfall. The film’s make-shift cuteness is only because of natural family bonding and the idea that this would be a clean, safe, family picture. The slapdash screenplay by Jasvinder Bath understood that fairly well.
I can almost see “Yamla’s” conception: Let’s make a fun-family movie with Dharm-ji, Sunny and Bobby. It should be silly and cute and cite references to what our nostalgia makes-up as “classic” movies – a fact rendered by 70’s-80’s flicks Ajay Devgan’s narration at the titles. What should we call it, someone would ask? Hey, do you remember the hit from Dharam-ji’s “Pratigiya”? “Main Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana” (sung by Rafi-saheb; lyrics, Anand Bakshi; music, Laxikant-Pyarelal)! Sure, another would answer. Sold! The financier would say. “Where’s the script?” a skeptic would ask. A true-believer of Bollywood-formula would answer: “Naa…who needs one, we have the Deol-family. We’ll make it up along the way”.
By the time the title song, lightly remixed, now sung by Sonu Nigam, makes it into the movie, “Yamla” had lost all substantiality. Even the song, punctured by bad editing (Mukesh Thakur), couldn’t save it.
Things could only get better; and they did.
Cue-in the climatic fight, a desperate shamble in the popularized caricature of “Andaz Apna Apna”. The older and bigger-looking Mr. Deol shoulder-butts dozens of gandasa-wielding Hefty’s into submission (he promised that he won’t lay a finger on the thugs). Mr. Dharmendra sticks people to a wall, splattered with “Dharmacol” *groan* and the younger Bobby romances the damsel on a safe-haven one ultra wide–staircase up.
When the heroine – Kulraj Randhawa, placid and plastic make-upped – asks why he isn’t fighting with his family, he simply says: “What would Bobby Deol do, when Dharmendra and Sunny Deol are fighting”. In the film, Sunny Deol is Paramveer Singh Dhillon, Bobby Deol is Gajodhar Singh and Dharmendra is Dharam Singh. Names are just script–props.
During the climatic gambol, the younger Mr. Deol shoots the villains chasing his go-cart and realizes that the bullets are fake. This routinely fired gun – which perhaps is the only gun in the movie, making a bang – was a permanent fixture in Anupam Kher’s up-stretched hand.
Mr. Kher is a gun-happy Punjabi-politician who is conned into marrying his daughter to an NRI. He, his sons, one of them a drunken Mukul Dev, turn up as an after-thought of the intermission that luridly counterfeits DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaaeingay).
“Yamla” started worse in a closed-set and an exterior cut-paste insert-shot titled “Vancouver – Canada”. Paramveer is a simple man with a cowed existence. He has two sons – the bigger, who speaks three-word dialogues and a small-fry who can only say “ditto”. He also has a mother, Nafisa Ali, named Maa in the credits. Paramveer can take care of gun-trotting super-store looters, but not the Carrom-smashing gori-wife who half-yells Punjabi (Emma Brown Garett).
When he ports over to India minutes later, the songs – almost all bad – lurch blaring. He finds his father and brother five minutes into the movie (predictably, conned by them). He then beats up a two–dozen, genuine recovery-guys, and holds up a half-tumbling set so the two can leisurely walk-out. Paramveer then helps them loot Vanaras.
Was Paramveer this desperate to get his estranged family back you ask? With Sunny Deol flashing his innocent, cutesy smile there’s no doubt he is. Desperation can only take you so far – it can con you into signing this movie.
“Yamla, Pagla, Deewana” is produced by Top Angle Productions. It genuinely thinks that it is a swell movie.
The published version is here: