Suneel Darshan who has previously presented us with mediocre, formula-driven films like Ek Rishtaa, Andaaz, Talaash and the more recent Barsaat is back with his usual clichéd melodramatic 1980’s style of filmmaking with ‘Dosti - Friends Forever’. Only this time the Darshan’s film is done on a massive scale with stars in every frame and lavish production values.
‘Dosti - Friends Forever’ is about Karan (Bobby Deol), a poor little rich boy ignored by his family, who finds his companionship in his underprivileged friend, Raj (Akshay Kumar). Raj is in love with Anjali (Kareena Kapoor) but his apparent betrayal hinders on their relationship. Why does Akshay refuse to marry Kareena? How does Akshay mend Bobby’s broken ties with his family? The answers to these questions can be found in Suneel Darshan’s latest outing as a director in Dosti.
The ultimate problem in this Suneel Darshan caper lies in its originality. The script penned by Darshan himself is unoriginal and very corny. The portrayal of friendship between the rich and poor has been previously done to death in Bollywood. Added with excessive doses of melodrama, wedding rituals, stereotypical characters and clichéd relationships, Dosti is a strong mishmash of everything you have probably seen before.
And Mr Darshan please don’t undermine our intelligence by narrating stories with the central characters shown in their childhood and little kids hamming their roles. This has constantly been done before in all of Darshan’s earlier films - Talaash, Andaaz and Barsaat and only gets more irritating with Dosti.
At a time when most production houses are experimenting with new concepts and styles of filmmaking, it is clear with films like Barsaat and Dosti that Suneel Darshan only resorts to clichéd and hackneyed chronicles in his films that are more than two decades old.
The music by Nadeem Shravan doesn’t add much to the weary script. However all the tracks are undoubtedly well choreographed and cinematographed with Dulhaniya and (Kareena’s wedding sequence) Ishq na Ishq standing out.
In terms of performances, Bobby Deol as the central character puts in a sincere performance. Never before has he been given such substantial footage in multi-starers and he brings full justice to it. Akshay Kumar also impresses, but he seems to effortlessly breeze through such roles. His performance in the post-interval portions show his maturity as a performer. Akshay and Bobby also share great rapport on screen. Although their constant affection towards each other becomes a little weird and irritating.
The women have little to do in this melodramatic tale. The men do most of the singing and crying. Lara Dutta as Kajal fires up the screen almost half way through the film and does little more than strut her perfect ten in skimpy outfits. Kareena Kapoor as Anjali looks gorgeous and impresses in her handful of scenes. Her performance when she annuls her engagement with Akshay is noteworthy.
In terms of supporting performances, Juhi Chawla impresses. Lilette Dubey and Kiran Kumar are also adequate.
So is Dosti worth a watch? The answer is a reluctant Yes. Not so much for what it has to offer in terms of its narrative or originality, but more so for the visual treat and the talented star cast.