Shut up and bounce

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  • Published 15.11.08

Halfway into the second half of Dostana, John Abraham takes birthday girl Priyanka Chopra out for dinner and a movie. The movie? Kuch Kuch Hota Hai! As the credits roll on the big screen behind them and the familiar strains of the theme tune fill the air, you groan here goes KJo again.

Then John invites Priyanka to dance. She gestures there’s no music. He turns on the iPod and a kid turns on the sprinkler. It’s the iconic Kuch Kuch scene of Shah Rukh and Kajol dancing in the rain, with an ironic twist. And you grin, here goes KJo again.

Of course, with Dostana, Karan does a whole lot more. It is difficult to imagine any other producer in Mumbai backing a film which screams GAY so many times, in so many ways, in so many voices… all to make you feel HAPPY.

Perhaps it is the shadow of romance raja Karan — who neither directs nor writes this Dharma production and leaves it to erstwhile assistant Tarun Mansukhani — looming large throughout the film that makes us take all the fun and games scripted around homosexuality in the right spirit. And perhaps the fact that neither of the two heroes is really gay in the movie means that we take the gay jokes as, well, jokes.

Whatever be the reason, Dostana is a riot. It makes you ‘shut up and bounce’ in your seats just as Shilpa Shetty orders you to do right at the start.

Smartly written with dialogues (Anvita Dutt Guptan) that will have you rolling in the aisles, Dostana doesn’t waste time. Using a largely-unexplained pretext, it straightaway has nurse Sam (Abhishek) and photographer Kunal (John) lining up for the same apartment in Miami. A sillier reason later, they are acting gay to move into the flat, only to find the sexy Neha (Priyanka) as the bhanji of the house.

Formalities taken care of, the fun begins. The hysterical landlady (the brilliant Sushmita Mukherjee who even does a Marilyn Monroe), the gay boss (Boman Irani, as good as ever) and the mother in distress (Kirron Kher fittingly way OTT) come together for some howlarious set-pieces. Boms and Abhi even do a Beedi jalai le, which, one must confess, is as good as the original in its own gay way. But the line of the film belongs to the Ma when she blesses the gay couple and says: Jeetey raho, phoolo phalo… khair chhodo!

With Bobby Deol’s Abhimanyu coming into the frame as Neha’s senior in office, Dostana ran the risk of running into oft-travelled terrain. But Tarun thankfully juggles things around quite a bit in the second half before that very lame and predictable last 10 minutes. But the 130 minutes preceding the climax should take care of the blockbuster fate of the movie.

Like all KJo movies, there’s a lot to gaze and gape at in Dostana. First, there’s John ‘briefs’ Abraham whose clothes must have reached Miami only after the first reel was canned. Yes, there’s much more on display than just those fab abs. Priyanka Chopra, gulp, hasn’t looked better. This ‘Desi girl’ sure is the ‘hottest girl in the (Bollywood) world’ today. In sari, in bikini, in just about anything… Piggychops sends the mercury soaring.

But fully buttoned up, with no biceps or abs to show, Abhishek Bachchan is a showstealer. He comes up with what is arguably his best performance. Given the juicier part, he gets the fake gay pitch perfect, striking up an infectious camaraderie with John. Watching Abhishek in the imaginary Venice backstory, you wonder about the treasure house of talent waiting to be explored in Chhota B.

Good music and great photography have always been must-add ingredients of the Dharma recipe and here too Vishal-Shekhar and Ayananka Bose are at the top of their game. The anthemic popularity of Jaane kyun and Desi girl will help to make the most of the 1,000 prints of Dostana floating worldwide. Salim-Sulaiman impress again with their background score which uses old favourites like Jahaan teri yeh nazar hai and Jumma chumma de de to great effect.

Dostana is 10 minutes too long, but it’s definitely recommended, especially in these gloom-doom times. It’s not a bad thing that there’s so much of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kal Ho Naa Ho in the movie. Not just because they are all from the same house, but because like its predecessors this one too can make you laugh out loud and also strike an emotional chord.

The original dostana

Produced under the same banner Dharma Productions, by Karan’s father Yash Johar, the 1980 film was directed by Raj Khosla. That Dostana, too, was a love triangle with Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and Zeenat Aman in the lead.

Just like John and Abhishek are the best of friends in the new Dostana, the original Dostana had Shatrughan and Amitabh as the closest of buddies. Amitabh plays a cop while Shatrughan a lawyer — the former catches criminals while the latter bails them out.

It’s only when Zeenat Aman’s character comes in that things start souring between the two friends. When Amitabh comes to know of Shatrughan’s feelings for Zeenat, he sacrifices his love. But bad guy Prem Chopra cashes in on the triangle and sets the two friends against each other.

Written by Salim-Javed, Dostana was one of the biggest hits of the year and the last hit from Raj Khosla. The music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal was very popular with chartbusters like the Kishore-Rafi song Salamat rahe dostana hamara and the Kishore solo Bahut khoobsoorat ek ladki.

The starting point of the new Dostana was the title. It was Abhishek’s suggestion and Karan Johar was happy to use it.

How did you like Dostana?