Apne is the tale of the Papa, the Puttar and the Chip. That about sums it up. There’s Papa Deol (Dharmendra) as Baldev; ex-boxing champ and there are two ‘puttarjis’; Sunny ‘paaji’ as devoted son Angad, and rocker-musician son Karan (Bobby Deol). And then there’s the chip (it’s not the eating kinds) and it’s the size of Mount Govardhan (don’t know about Mount Govardhan, and attempting to see a film as nauseatingly pious as this?) and perched neatly on Papa’s shoulder. Papa has the chip because, once when he was a boxer and was wrongly accused of doping charges, he swore to avenge his honor by making his son the champ.
However in the interests of family and common-sense, Angad - the son in question, chooses to quit boxing beyond a point and takes up business, thus saving his family from penury. Evidently, Papaji got angry and hasn’t been on good terms with him ever since.
So now the poor Angad, affection starved and all, is doing well, loves his family but longs for his father’s approval. When an opportunity to restore some boxing prestige arises, Baldev chooses Karan to turn boxer (musician to boxer – yeah right?). When Karan suffers a setback, it’s up to Angad again to step up, and wins this prestige.
This film is from the director of Gadar – Ek Prem Katha (Anil Sharma) and I actually think that it is a decent film. However this one is too sanctimonious for its own good. Plus I have massive problems with the concept - that of children living out parent-ordained lives (what about the poor kid ?). This movie is still better than Baghban, as in I could actually watch the full film without going nuts (I nodded off for a little while, but does that count?).
Hark! Did I hear you asking about a family film which has the three Deol men crying as one? If that’s what you want, then this is it. Lots of emotional drama, lots of tears and with all characters in the film so pious and so good (except Papaji of course) and (you want more?) lots of brawn. Do note that films starring Sunny Deol have either brain or brawn. One or the other, see? And mostly, it’s brawn.
There are also the women dotting the screen here - the most prominent being the mother figure - Raavi (Kirron Kher) who plays her character to the hilt with the usual aplomb. Then, in keeping with the tenets of the Punjabi patriarchy and ‘Bollywoodian’ principles, there are the other two women; Angad’s wife (Shilpa Shetty) who has nothing much to do except say “Haanji”, nod her head and offer her supporting - and very shapely - shoulders to be cried upon. The second one is Karan’s US returned doctor girlfriend (Katrina Kaif) who very conveniently turns into his personal doctor-cum-therapist when Karan’s paralyzed hand miraculously starts working again. And you though God’s miracles didn’t exist!
Now to the good points: the direction is decent, the acting is alright and Dharmendra still has the old-world charm. The bad points - the sea of emotions, the music and Sunny Deol’s wig! During the boxing scenes, with every jab, I was just waiting to see the wig go flying off.
This film is lush and glossy - it’s like they wiped down the screen with desi ghee. Verdant green dominates as do the fields of Punjab. There’s the Papaji and the Maa and their dutiful betas, and obedient bahus, and grand-kids. Basically, the whole family bonding thing going on here. The first half was bearable but in the second one, the film descended down the path to the Land-of-Overwrought-Emotions. And you know, no one actually comes back from there. Neither did the film.