Saturday, January 29, 2011

Honesty is the best policy

bu punem sexena

If you wish to market unadulterated nonsense, just go for it. Don’t tread the pseudo-intellectual middle path even once. Dabangg did that to script an enviable success story. Yamla Pagla Deewana starring the three Deols may not be up there with Dabangg, but it is an honest attempt to make a lovably absurd entertainer in which logic takes the invisible backseat. One walks into the hall, believing in the promos and expecting a lot of fun. One walks out of the hall, smiling away because of what one has seen.

So what if the film has such mediocre music that you may not remember a single tune? So what if the badly choreographed item numbers look like excerpts from forgettable low-budget films? So what if Dharmendra is nowhere near the handsome man he used to be, his old age having taken its toll? So what if the heroine Kulraj Randhawa has hardly anything to do, while what she does makes zero impact? So many negatives might have butchered most other films, but YPD rides merrily on the merits of its two major positives that eclipse all weaknesses in the overall analysis.

The first positive, one has mentioned already. The plot is deliberately nonsensical. The down-to-earth Punjabi-laced humour is enjoyable. The absence of pretence works. If subtlety is what you are looking for – PG Wodehouse wearing a turban, that is – stay away. YPD deals in jokes that both the dim man and the all-appreciative wit will enjoy. It is not targeting those who insist – or believe, or both – that humour can go past undetected if your reflexes are not sharp enough.

The second big positive is the trio consisting of the father and two sons. As a conman who abandons his wife and elder son, Dharmendra may appear jaded while flirting with a girl in a bar. But the veteran actor’s performance is so endearing that one enjoys it thoroughly. Sunny Deol as the abandoned son who grows up to become a banker in Canada (spelt as ‘Caneda’ by a starry eyed girl) is brilliant in his role of a strong and not-so-silent type. As the younger son who grows up with his dad and becomes a conman as well, Bobby is funny and full of expressiveness. When the three of them come together, they perform with such consummate ease and comfort that the viewer is compelled to see-saw between giggles and grins. Some jokes do fall flat, but most others are ‘good’ PJs one laughs at without thinking why.

The story is a bundle of mere impossibilities, and more impossibilities. But YPD makes us love it because of a lovably innocent approach to film-making and acting. The industry needs to deliver more such films because, out there in the real world, many believe in the need for having a good laugh. This film will make sure that you die, with laughter that is.

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