Producer: Firoz Nadiadwala
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Aarti Chabria, Preeti Jhangiani, Aftab, Amrita Arora, Sunil Shetty, Rahul Dev, Paresh Rawal, Jhonny Lever, Om Puri
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Sameer
Reviewed by: Rakesh

Scheduled for Release on: June 21, 2002

"I am anxious about Awara Paagal Deewana, thatīs more of my kind of film"- Vikram Bhatt.

There are many ways to interpret this statement. Positively, that the film will be much better than Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, Bhattīs last offering. Negatively, that it will be a re-make of a bigger and better film than AMALL. Either way, Awara Paagal Deewana packs a punch with its star cast alone. But there is a lot the industry doesnīt know about Bhattīs upcoming release.

One sees Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty together after a number of films (a pretty big number at that), including Mohra, Dhadkan and Hera Pheri, all of which were succesful. Aftab Shivdasaani comes in for a second running with Bhatt who help made him what he is with Kasoor. Paresh Rawal, Jhonny Lever and Rahul Dev, the lesser promoted star cast members, all have big roles in the film as well. This will also be Akshayīs second release this year regarding a search for loot, that too featuring Paresh Rawal as one of his competitors, and two other male leads.

Comparing the male star cast to the female cast is almost impossible when you are featuring a new comer based heroine cast. But alas, that was Bhattīs intentions all along. He is not known as a "hit" director for nothing. The truth of the matter is Awara Paagal Deewana does have its share of big budget extravaganzas, like The Matrix stunt coordinators, but is still a medium budget film. Bhatt is all ready to see his work pay off, and with the intriguing plot and the popular score by Anu Malik (with numbers like "Ya Habibi" and "Ek Haseena Ek Deewana"), Awara Paagal Deewana may not find the goings as tough as it may seem.

The film is supposedly a remake of "The Whole Nine Yards"; and takes the twist in that it focuses on the male leads, but the female leads provide the major surprise in the film. Amrita Arora, Preeti Jhangiani and Aarti Chabria have said to work hard on their comedic timing for this film. Relying less on comedy (as in Love Ke Liye Kucch Bhi Karega), the multi-starrer plays on greed, mishaps and things going wrong. Though the film has been described as an "action-comedy", chances are you will see a lot of more action than laughs. Awara Paagal Deewana is much like the logo of the film looks. Itīs a big puzzle with answers to questions and turn about that keep on coming, swift, fast, and unexpected.

The action comes in when the search begins. The laughs come in when others join the search. The search comes in when:

One person dies, but there is no time for tears, for he has left behind a great deal of money and diamonds for: Those who can actually get it without killing the other person, what this means is:

That who has died has left his money with two people whom he knows will try to outsmart each other to get the money for themselves. And his daughter who knows very little. The two: Gulab Khatri (Akshay) and Vikrant (Rahul Dev). The first couple: Gulab and Preeti (Preeti Jhangiani), but this is just the first of many couples that arise, many with the same people, they arise like this:

Vikrant takes the first step in trying to outwit Gulab for the money. Vikrant manages to accuse Gulab of a heinous crime. Unable to defend himself properly Gulab has nothing else to do but to flee the country, leaving his wife behind, but, whether she can remain his wife through tribulations is hard to tell because:

On his trail towards escaping a crime that never happened he encounters more people, another couple, a dentist, Dr. Anmol Acharya (Aftab) who is married to the less smarter Mona (Amrita Arora). Vikrant realizes that getting Gulab out of town was not enough as in order to get all of the money himself, he would have to have his sister sign on the dotted line releasing the cash, and have Gulabīs death certificate, something he is not close to having. So he spreads the news about rewards for returning Gulab back to him and the police as Gulab has now been branded a "criminal on the run". Of course the doctor and his wife now hear this. Now Gulab has to not only compete with Vikrant but Anmol who has been influenced by his wife to report Gulab for the money. Gulab now runs into more trouble than he expected and canīt worry about his wife in India because:

Mona has succeeded in convincing her husband, the doctor, to take Gulab to India. But first she must visit these people first. So in order to make sure the coast is clear, she sends her husband and his father (Paresh Rawal) first while she keeps her eye on Gulab. Now as Anmol and his father are arriving in India, things seem like they are going smoothly until they encounter another couple, but this couple is different because:

It is a pair of men, a goonda, Eiada Anna (Sunil Shetty) and his worker Chota Chatri (Jhonny Lever). Anmol and his father have no choice but to go along with what Eiada and his companion say. Eiada then convinces Anmol and his father to take him to Gulab, supposedly to help Anmol turn him in to get the money, but this is not the case, because:

Eiada himself has made a deal with Vikrant to hand up Gulab. Not because he is a mobster who wants the prize money, because he is a mobster who always realizes that with every prize there is a bigger prize, and he indeed knows of the bigger prize in this picture.

Eiada learns more about the stakes while Gulab tries to keep himself alive and with the prize at the same time. Vikrant too agrees to give Eiada some prize cash if Eiada can give up Gulab so that he can get the money and the tons of diamonds that his father has left behdind. But Gulab is not about to let him, he realizes he canīt escape Eiada alone, nor can he escape Vikrant. Thatīs where the other heroine comes in.

The players try to put together the puzzle and the final piece is left to the one person, male, or female, who wins the prize. Which person, or couple, can surive the smartness of the other and capitalize on the one fault that truly exists in the otherīs plan (but the challenge is that the "others" constitutes over six other contenders)? Who wins the prize? And more importantly, who ends up with who? Gulab and his new amore, Gulab and his wife Preeti, Preeti and the Dr. Anmol, Mona, Mona and the Dr. Anmol, Chhota Chatri and Eiada, Eiada, Eiada and Mona, Vikrant, and the options go on and on.