Awara Paagal Deewana (APD) is "inspired" by the Bruce Willis-Matthew Perry starrer “The Whole Nine Yards.” Bollywood directors are seldom successful at ‘remaking’ their adaptations as successful as the Hollywood originals. If the question is to remake a successful Hollywood film into Hindi, which other director would you go to instead of Vikram Bhatt? The man has a history of ripping off Hollywood films and ‘remaking’ them into Hindi with the obligatory Bollywood fundas, and he is mostly successful at that. Looks like Bhatt has another hit on his hands after giving this year’s first (and only) all around hit.
An underworld don (Om Puri) leaves behind diamonds worth millions safely locked in a New York City Bank. As per his will, the diamonds can be inherited by only three people: Guru Gulab Khatri (Akshay Kumar) - his son-in-law, Vikrant (Rahul Dev) - his son, and Preeti (Preeti Jhangiani) - his daughter. However, to claim the diamonds all three have to be present together and sign the papers personally. Guru and Vikrant do not get along from the get go, so Vikrant implicates Guru in a crime that forces Guru to flee to New York. In New York, Guru’s next door neighbors are Dr. Anmol (Aftaab Shivdasani) and Mona (Amrita Arora). Mona finds out that Vikrant has announced a big reward for anyone who offers him a lead to Guru. Upon hearing this, she forces Anmol and her father Manilal (Paresh Rawal) to go to India and meet Vikrant and collect the reward. In India Anmol and Manilal run into Yeda Anna (Sunil Shetty) and Chhota Chhatri (Johny Lever) who lead them to Vikrant. Vikrant sends Anna, Anmol, Chhota Chhatri, and Manilal back to America so Anna can kill Guru. What follows is a series of twists and double crossings and the race begins to grab the diamonds.
Though the story has a lot of twists and turns Vikram Bhatt is able to remain focused for the most part and not let the viewer get confused. The climax is a bit dragged and could’ve been shorter. There are also a couple of loopholes in screenplay which are not explained. Technically the film is ace. The action sequences (Phillip Ko and Abbas Ali Moghul) are some of the best one has witnessed on Indian screen. Though I do wonder why they chose to incorporate some of the EXACT same sequences that were done in The Matrix. The cinematography is also good - though Vikram Bhatt and Pravin Bhatt should’ve been a bit more cautious, there are too many shots with the World Trade Center in the background, and they could’ve been digitally removed. Music by Anu Maliik is okay, picturisations of “Feenak.. Ya Habibi Feenak” and “Ek Haseena Ek Deewana” are well done. The film is very glossy, and the credit goes to Firoz Nadiadwala for not compromising anywhere.
Vikram Bhatt is known for copying Hollywood flicks, and though most of them have ranged from average - below average, APD is a notch higher. APD is basically paisa vasool entertainment, and he can thank his crew and a few cast members for that. Paresh Rawal again steals the show from everyone. His one liners and slight Gujarati accent are hilarious. Johny Lever lends able support to Rawal, and for once isn’t too loud. Akshay Kumar obviously has the meatier role compared to Sunil Shetty and Aftaab, and does his job well. Though it’s certainly nothing award worthy, it’s hard to imagine anyone else with the exception of maybe Sanjay Dutt carrying it off as well. Sunil and Aftaab are okay, they really don’t have much scope and are overshadowed by Paresh Rawal, Johny Lever, and Akshay Kumar. The heroines really don’t have any scope to perform as well. However, Aarti Chhabaria as Tina (Anmol’s secretary) leaves a mark in her scene where she first meets Akshay Kumar, she has shown a good flair for comedy.
APD is worth a dekho if you’re looking for entertainment. It’s one of the few Hollywood ‘remakes’ that still manage to entertain, the second time around.