In what could easily be termed as a spin off from the earlier productions from Karan Johar’s KAL HO NA HO, the gay theme gets a full-fledged treatment this time around. And producer K-Jo allows newcomer Tarun Mansukhani to take control of proceedings and direct this comedy. But instead of the SRK-Saif jodi, in comes the fresh pairing of Abhishek Bachan and John Abraham, then throw into the mix a sizzling Priyanka Chopra and voila, you have enough to construct a rather hot-n-bold comedy, one that clearly seems to ride close to that of its western counterpart of 2007- Now I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
Sameer (Abhishek) and Kunal (John) are two hot dudes in Miami who seem to be having a way with the gals in town. But what they do not have is a good place to stay. And somehow fate brings them together as they try to secure the same apartment. Although both love the place, there is a slight problem. The apartment is owned by a single, sexy Neha (Priyanka) and therefore the rooms are not available for guys. So as desperate measures are called for, Sameer manages to convince Kunal into posing as a gay couple in order to bag the two available rooms. Now the three roomies get into a bonding groove that in turn paves the way to enable both the guys to woo the lady in their own respective ways, still of course faking their way through. Meanwhile, in walks Abhimanyu Singh (Bobby Deol) as the new boss of Neha’s fashion magazine, and as luck would have it, he manages to walk straight into her heart as well! So now we have a third claim for Neha’s love, much to the displeasure of her two buddies who wanted to win her love someday and literally come out of the closet in regards to their true identities.
Thus forms a wonderful premise to throw in the usual ‘misunderstanding’ jokes that have been beaten to death in cinemas across the globe, but still play out as something relatively fresh in terms of Indian cinema. The jokes come thick and fast, achieving laugh-out moments every now and then. But it’s all potentially at the expense of a certain diverse group, and therefore the sensitive audience needs to be cautious. This is not a pro gay flick that comes out to support their cause. It is in the norm of the usual popular format that includes stereotypical moments and allows the audience to enjoy the homophobic comic strips. Fortunately, it is all executed in a tasteful manner and no one is exactly bending over to pick up a soap…. at least not in this one!
Having said that, one of the biggest problems with the movie and the script generally is that it’s not sure where it wants to go. It begins as an all out homophobic comedy that shows promise by the interval, turning a tale of friendship and bonding. However post interval it starts to disintegrate and we are subjected to a “been there, done that” formula of Bollywood romantic flicks. The regular stuff takes over, and soon we have the “what could have been” turning into the usual “what always has been”! Consequently, the hopscotch act from a bonding flick to the romantic flick ends up keeping the film from achieving any major heights despite it’s otherwise breezy and entertaining nature.
Narrative and logical flaws aside, Tarun Mansukhani has done a decent job of putting all this together. And with some nice touches towards the closing reels, he manages to wrap up the whole package well enough to pass the litmus test. Undoubtedly he is helped by the acting prowess on display and in the main, due to the wonderful chemistry that Abhishek and John share. They both play off each other extremely well and Abhishek is a laugh riot whenever he triggers the “gay mode”. John Abraham might still give the impression of a struggling actor, but with all that he puts on display onscreen, I am sure no one is complaining. And the heat only intensifies with the sizzling Priyanka, who rounds up the trio perfectly! From the rest of the cast Bobby Deol was just about alright. Boman Irani and Kiron Kher were splendid in their over the top caricature acts that just help in bringing the laughs out.
Another plus point is Vishal Shekhar’s music that enriches the film overall. And considering that none of the male leads are exactly great with their feet, Vaibhavi Merchant bags bonus points for producing some great choreographed numbers. In addition, the background score goes retro at times showcasing several hits from the Senior Bachchan era to give Junior B a gala of a time! Obviously with Karan Johar at the helm, the costume designing becomes an all important factor and with Dostana he doesn’t disappoint. In fact they contribute a great deal with each character pushing their own designer language. Moreover K-Jo still finds pit stops to put in the usual references to his earlier works like KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI and K3G.
In the end DOSTANA does provide a fun time at the theatres, and actually does provide better laughs than many of the overhyped comedies from this year. So with it managing to stay afloat from the rest of the pack, this trio is sure to get the cash registers ringing for a while!