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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 

 

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Yamla Pagla Deewana--Phirse/3, Review: YPDP 3, Y indeed?

Yamla Pagla Deewana--Phirse/3, Review: YPDP 3, Y indeed?

Is good judgement failing the Deols? And did any well-wisher not bring to their notice that the story and screenplay of Yamla Pagla Deewana Phirse/3 is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Or is it both? Whatever the reality, fact is that we have the Dharmendra Deol, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol starrer released this week, a weak exercise in futility.

He Man Dharmendra, probably the first hero to show off his rippling muscles bare-chested in a mainstream big-budget film called Phool Aur Patthar, is now 83. His sons Sunny and Bobby are 61 and 49 respectively. Although the sons have not been as prolific in their careers as their Dad (he joined films in the late 1950s), they have enough experience on to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff on the table, or so it might seem. Therefore, it is very disappointing to see an intended laugh riot peter out into a chaff riot.

Although the name is used, in an attempt to push the brand value of the two earlier franchises, YPDP/3 is not a continuation or sequel of the first two ventures. It has an altogether new story. He Man Pooran Singh (Sunny, not Dharmendra) is an Ayurvedic vaid (doctor) practicing in Amritsar, whose ancestors were responsible for Mughal Emperor Akbar begetting a son and Queen Victoria getting rid of her pimples (so tells us Annu Kapoor, in a voice over). Their best-seller is a drug formulation called ‘vajr-kavach’ (lightning shield), a panacea for all ills. This drug evinces the interest of a pharma major owner Marfatia, who wants to acquire it by all means.

While Pooran, who, besides being gifted with incredible strength, is also good-hearted, puts in use his heritage to help people, his good for nothing alcoholic brother Kaalaa keeps finding ways to make quick bucks. Jaywant Parmar, an erstwhile Casanova and a colorful character, who is also a sharp and intelligent lawyer of repute, is a paying guest in the brothers' house. He is a thorn in Kaalaa's side, as he has been paying the same rent for 35 years, i.e. INR110 per month (US$1.8), a ridiculously low amount. Dr. Cheekoo is a pretty Gujarati girl, who arrives from Gujarat to study Ayurved from Pooran, and is provided accommodation in the Singh house. It is love at first sight for Kaalaa, but Cheekoo is not there to learn Ayurved. Under the cover of studies, she …..

A veteran of Punjabi films, Dheeraj Rattan gets his Hindi directorial break here, penning the story and screenplay too. Dialogues are by Bunty Rathore and Vankush Arora. It is these three personalities that should take it on the chin, bravely, for the lack of purpose or direction in the film. To the extent that a pharmaceutical company with falling profits wants to add a fast selling drug to its stable to turn the company around, and the unwillingness of the Ayurved doctor to part with his formula, even when offered a fortune, there is a story in sight. But the ludicrous way in which this ‘greed and grab’ scenario is filmed makes viewers lose all interest in the plot.

A Gujarati angle is brought in to contrast with the Punjabi milieu, with eating, drinking and cussing habits of Punjabis generalised and compared with the Gujaratis, who are vegetarian and teetotallers, not to mention clean-tongued. In this ambience, one woman doctor drinks heavily, parties, and a small bottle is found thrown outside the housing complex after she is dropped home by her pal, from their binges, a happening that is blamed on the only Punjabi tenants living there. Interestingly, she lives with her mother and maternal grand-father, who have no clue about her daughter’s routine! Then there is also the real estate agent, who eats non-vegetarian food in his office.

One genuine laugh results when the Punjabis are asked if they threw the bottle. They all say “No,” in unison, but one of them adds, “That is not our brand!”, crucifying them all. Dharmendra reprises Sunny’s iconic dialogue from an earlier film that his arm weighs two-and-a-half kilos, only claiming that his own weighs five kilos. Much more of this kind of humour was needed. Instead, we have fair-skinned Kaalaa’s name being ridiculed and justified in turns, Kaalaa shouting from his rooftop at 10 pm every day after he has had his fill, and Jaywant talking to a pair of imaginary apsaraas (fairies) who travel with him on his motor-cycle pillion and side-car. We also have facile dialogue like, “I was in search and she has come for research”. We are also expected to laugh at the mi-sspelling of Marfatia as Marfa Tea!

There are at least Punjabi features in the resume of director Navaniat Singh, and he should have known better. There is a case for believing that most of the scenes were written at the last minute, on the sets, or improvised, without a proper screenplay. Such indiscretions are fine when they work, but when they fail, they re-affirm your faith in the dictum that you cannot make a good film out of a bad script, although it is possible that poor direction and acting can result in a bad film, even if the script might be good.

Another idea that went waste was Dharmendra playing songs from his own hero role films of the last century on the SaReGaMa Carvaan player that is being marketed these days, with a 5,000 song catalogue pre-loaded. There is unimaginative linking with the scenes that reduces rather than enhances the inclusion of those songs. And the less said about the deafening sound-track the better. Whether the film breaks any box-office records remains to be seen, but it is most likely to break a few ear-drums. Navaniat Singh will require a Nava Niat (new intention) to consolidate his name as a director of merit in Hindustani films. YPDP should be forgotten in a hurry.

From the cast, nobody, but nobody, makes an impression, except for Kriti Kharbanda, who is exudes gaiety and abandon. The rest all are over the top. And if there is a film that wasted some big star names in pointless cameos, YPDP/3 is one.

Here is the who’s who:

Dharmendra as Jaywant Parmar (at 83, his speech slurs, though his looks seem to have been taken care of; one good thing he does is correct a character who mispronounces and Urdu word, not that another 1,000 Urdu words are mispronounced in the film by almost all the actors)

Sunny Deol as Pooran (inheriting the Her Man mantle from his father)

Bobby Deol as Kaalaa (when referred to as a 40 year-old, he says his age is 39)

Shatrughan Sinha as Judge Sunil Sinha/Mithoo (longish cameo, but does no justice to his acting abilities whatsoever)

Kriti Kharbanda as Cheekoo

Binnu Dhillon as Billa (publicity-seeker compounder with an inferiority complex)

Asrani as Nanu (Cheekoo’s maternal grandfather, with short memory, another colossal waste of talent)

Satish Kaushik as Lawyer Bedi (whose refrain “Bedi is Bedi is Bedi" cuts no ice)

Mohan Kapoor as Marfatia (hams to glory, in a voice strongly reminiscent of Kulbhushan Kharbanda)

Paresh Ganatra as Paresh Patel (the type-cast estate agent)

Rajesh Sharma as Lawyer Bhatia (wasted completely)

Anita Devgan as Sattee (the over-weight neighbour of the Singhs)

Salman Khan as Mastana

Rekha in a Special Appearance

Sonakshi Sinha in a Special Appearance

The last three appear only in the end, and continue into the credits roll.

One moot question is raised about the film: Why was it made? It is a ‘lose-lose’ situation. Audiences are going to be antagonised and the Deols’ reputations tarnished. By all means, make films under the Sunny Super Sounds banner, good films, fun films, but why YPDP/3? Y, oh why? You might have felt that after the first two forays in 2011 and 2013, there was still some residue to milk. As it turns out, that such an assessment was an inaccurate one. Unlike the line spoken in the film, with great emphasis, in a campy mode, there is no story, emotion, drama or tragedy in the film.

Rating: * ½

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcOiTyC3Bh4

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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