Yamla Pagla Deewana is director Samir Karnik?s paean to the Deols.
The three ? Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby ? represent three generations of Hindi cinema. The Deols have rarely been hailed for great acting but their charm and swarthy good looks have been beguiling audiences since 1960, when Dharmendra first appeared on screen.
Here Karnik creates a broad, largely nonsensical narrative that allows each one to play up his image and make fun of it.
So Dharmendra is Dharam, the lovable, flirtatious, often drunk conman father. Bobby is Gajodhar, his younger son, mostly useful for romancing and singing songs. And Sunny is Paramveer, the older, upright NRI son, who makes mince meat out of men, sometimes even without lifting his legendary dhai kilo ka haath.
Starting with the title, which comes from a popular song from Dharmendra?s 1975 film Pratiggya, Karnik relies heavily on nostalgia and on the audience?s familiarity with each star?s image.
Sunny, who even gets a Gadar-like moment with a hand pump, is clearly having the most fun. Like the leading men, the humour is earthy and pretty silly but there are some laugh-out-loud moments ? I really enjoyed Poli, played by Sucheta Khanna, a Sardarni who aspires to NRI status. She knows all there is to know about Canada and underneath her salwar- kameez wears a T-shirt that says: I love Caneda (Canada).
However, there is such a thing as overkill. It?s almost as if Karnik and the Deols want to make up for not appearing onscreen for much of last year ? so this film goes on and on and on.
Each one gets to do everything ? comedy, fights, item numbers and for good measure, a few emotional scenes as well.
The script by Jasvinder Singh Bath, puts too much pressure on Bobby ? he has too much screen time and not enough expressions.
By the end, I was all Deol?ed out. If it had been crisper and the writing better, Yamla Pagla Deewana had the potential to be a rollicking good time.
Unfortunately, it?s only intermittently funny and extremely exhausting. I?m going with two and a half stars.