Planet Bollywood
Banarasi Babu
 
Producer: Nandu G. Tolani
Director: David Dhawan
Starring: Govinda, Ramya, Shakti Kapoor, Kadar Khan, Bindu
Music: Anand Milind
Lyrics:
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 30 January 1998
Reviewed by: Sundar  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
 
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Public Rating Average: 5.1 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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The essence of the Govinda-David Dhawan classic "Raja Babu" (there is perhaps a significant audience who would protest against calling these films classics), is frozen and later diluted with fresh water in an attempt to recreate that old flavor - and server as the latest beverage with a brand extension - BANARASI BABU. The water may be fresh, and the product team as good as before - but the product isn´t. The reason is the stale essence used to flavor the beverage.

BANARASI BABU, like Raja Babu is another Hindi film in the mold of "Taming of the Shrew". Kader Khan promotes a joint venture with son of his village-hood friend (late Kulbhushan Kharbanda survived by wife Reema Lagoo) to reengineer his Singopore-bred Ramya (Madhubala), who has become resistant to change due to the executive offices of Kader Khan´s wife, Bindu.

This "kith and kin" business is about the never-tiring, singing, dancing, baffooning, and begging exercises of country bumpkin, Govinda (as Gopi alias Banarasi Babu). He has a partnership alliance with Manchala (a soft-voiced Shakti Kapoor) who holds a minority stake in this effort. If all this sounds familiar, it is, but if it sounds interesting, it isn´t.

Govinda-David Dhawan movies have always had simple, moralistic themes; less than the best music; just sufficient technical effects. However, humor and tongue-in-cheek dialogues would always compensate for this; and stand out as the USPs for these movies. Unfortunately, Banarasi Babu suffers from insipid and lesser than normal dose of humor. The issue here is not getting repetitive or cliched (they have always been so); but the issue is that this effort is very diluted!

While it still has its very few moments - mostly one-liners from Govinda, and a few from Kader Khan. When Govinda questions in his inimicable style - "Ye auratein hameshaa palang  par letkar, takiya liye kyon roti hain?" - you can only laugh and indeed wonder why ? There is nothing new from Govinda, but he is as good as ever. So are Shakti, Kader, and Bindu. Going back to its origins from Raja Babu, Ramya may be taller and bigger than Karishma Kapoor physically, but not in screen presence. She only looks bigger, when and where its not needed (pun intended)!

Despite all this, if you must go and relax - Banarasi Babu isn´t intolerable. Atleast it would bring down expectations for the next movies in the production pipeline - making them more enjoyable. That perhaps is the biggest value creation or equity dilution of this film. It redefines a benchmark that had reached its peak - and become unsteady. You come out of the movie feeling, hopefully this market expectation adjustment had to be .. for a better tomorrow, forcing the next product to be "much better".

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