Round of applause, ladies and gentlemen—I’ve found the perfect non-medicinal cure for insomnia. What am I talking about? Priyadarshan’s latest film, De Dana Dan, which is bound to put even the most stringent insomniac to sleep. The 2 hours and 40 minutes long film is one hell of a sluggish and nonsensical ride, offering more irritation than laughs.
The grueling, sluggish-paced plot revolves around driver-cum-housekeeper Nitin Bankar (Akshay Kumar) who is fed up of being treated like a dog by his shrill boss (Archana Puran Singh), whose actual dog, Mulchand Jee, is treated as the apple of her eye. Bankar and his buddy Ram Mishra (Sunil Shetty), a courier boy, are both living off the money of their girlfriends (Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy). Interestingly enough, these two buddies share less chemistry than Bankar and the canine. Suddenly, the badde buzurg’s in Kaif and Reddy’s households decide to get both girls married off to Chunky Pandey not knowing the prospective groom’s father (Paresh Rawal) is a money-thirsty fraud with a young wife (Aditi Govitrikar) who is trying to double-cross him. Desperate for money, Bankar and Mishra decide to earn money the quick way—they attempt to kidnap Singh’s dog and demand a heavy ransom. Predictably enough, the dog escapes, leaving the police to believe Bankar has been kidnapped.
Somehow Bankar, Mishra, Kaif, Shetty, Pandey, Rawal, and the rest of the ladki-waale’s family members all end up in the same hotel, in addition to an inspector trying to arrest Rawal before his retirement date approaches, a professional killer (Johnny Lever) and a prostitute (Neha Dhupia). Supposedly Priyadarshan and Rajasenan actually wrote a script for this film, but the Titanic-inspired water flooding scene in the hotel leads me to think else-wise.
Out of the four leading ladies, Neha Dhupia is the only one who appears confident on-screen. Rajpal Yadav offers light moments in the film through his portrayal of a corrupt bell boy. And, I suppose it is nice to see Johnny Lever on-screen again. Singh is just there to shriek. Manoj Joshi and Asrani don’t offer much. Shakti Kapoor is given another typical cheap-guy role. Vikram Gokhale seems way too tense in what is supposed to be a comedy—well, at least I’m not the only one who doesn’t seem to be laughing. And, Kumar…well, he’s shown stuck inside a closet for an overwhelming amount of the film, making me wonder if maybe the audience should have also showed the same sense.
To make a long story short, all I’ll say is I very strongly recommend this film…to all those trying to gain more sleep, that is…go watch this film and be sure to take a pillow along. Happy zzz’s!
(P.S. Those of you looking for a Hindi comic flick with more substance, check out Jaideep Varma’s Hulla and Pankaj Advani’s Sankat City.)