Two and a half hours of inane twists and turns and lame dialogues and you are left wondering why the film is titled the way it is. The “kamaal” and the “dhamaal” in the film can be explained — there is plenty of both! — but where is the “maal” or the “malamaal”?
Set in a small Catholic village, Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal is a story of mistaken identity that transforms lives of many villagers, especially that of hapless farmer David (Om Puri) and his family — wife Maria (Sona Nair), two daughters and his lazy, useless son Johnny (Shreyas Talpade).
Johnny whiles his time away buying lottery tickets hoping to become a “crorepati” overnight and is afraid of even his own shadow. In love with village richman and thug Peter’s (Paresh Rawal) daughter Maria (newbie Madhurima Banerjee), he is the target of her protective brothers. Enter, Nana Patekar as the tall, dark, strong, silent and hungry stranger who is forced to pretend to be/ pretends to be the family’s long-lost son Sam and Johnny’s life takes a turn, well many turns.
Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal has all the trademark Priyadarshan touches — the mistaken identity, the rich heiress being protected by goon brothers, the victory of honesty, trust and courage — and is clean and healthy but sadly it fails to entertain.
The Kamaal: There are miracles galore in the film not the least of which is the number of times Johnny has a change of heart towards Sam/Kallu/no-one-knows-who. Johnny first brings him home for protection after Patekar saves him from Maria’s brothers, then he tries to throw him out after discovering his past, then he becomes jealous because his family chooses Patekar over him and then again loves him by the end of the film.
Also kamaal is Johnny’s love interest Maria who seems bent on getting Johnny beaten up by her brothers with the escapades she pulls him into.
The dhamaal: There is enough dhishum-dhishum to make everyone happy, whether it is Johnny being beaten up by Maria’s brothers again and again and again or Patekar beating up the brothers for upturning his “heeeaaaapped” plate of food. Then, of course, there is naach-gaana, even though the gaanas by Sajid-Wajid are not really memorable.
The malamaal: (No) Spoiler alert! No one wins the lottery. No one ends up rich. But love, trust and honesty (yawwwn!) can be called riches and that is the “maal” in question one assumes.
Talpade starts off brilliantly as the wimp but ends up being irritating. Paresh Rawal and Asrani are wasted in their little roles. Patekar can play the strong-silent type in his sleep and does just that. The one who stands out is Neeraj Vora, not as the dialogue writer, but as the village coffin-maker who thanks the new doctor for helping him expand the business. Vora’s scenes and dialogues are some of the funniest in the film that is so flat that it makes you want to rewind to the inane slapstick moments of its prequel Malamaal Weekly.
Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal (u/a)
Cast: Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal, Shreyas Talpade, Asrani, Neeraj Vora
Running time: 147 minutes