When you take a movie that was problematic to begin with and rehash it without modernizing or elevating the story, in fact making it even more regressive, all you want to ask is–why?
Movie Title: Coolie No 1 review: Not funny, not entertaining
Director: David Dhawan
Star Cast: Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan, Paresh Rawal
IMDb Rating: 1.3/10
Release Date: 24 December 2020 (USA)
In Coolie No 1, director David Dhawan’s son Varun Dhawan reprises Govinda’s role and Sara Ali Khan plays Karisma Kapoor’s part– making you yearn for the quirky chemistry of the original pair.
Full of regressive dialogue, the film begins with Jeffrey Rozario (Paresh Rawal) adviced to be polite as he is the father of, gulp, two daughters He is looking for a rich son-in-law and insults the matchmaker who got his daughter Sara (Sara Ali Khan) an unsuitable match.
The matchmaker, who keeps reminding everyone that he’s a pundit, decides to take revenge by tricking Sara into marrying coolie Raju (Varun Dhawan). Raju, who has concluded he’s in love with Sara after a glance at her pic, also has a penchant for beating up rude customers.
The matchmaker and coolie have this in common– overreacting to random rude folks.
So now, Raju pretends to be a wealthy ‘prince from Singapore’ and gets married to Sara, conning his way and lying to her everyday.
But when Rozario happens to see Raju coolie at work it leads to more lies, told unabashedly without remorse. Meanwhile, a character with
a speech impairment pops in for ‘comedy’. It’s impossible to warm upto a single character in this movie!
The comedy is abundant, but it’s all unintentional. Like the physics-defying stunt where Raju surpasses the constraints of speed and time, to hop in the middle of a train track and whisk a kid away to safety. The dialogue is consistently puzzling, to say the least.
The original Coolie No 1 (released in 1995) was problematic but it has the sheen of Govinda’s comic timing, Karisma’s earnet performance, David Dhawan’s brand of comedy, and irreverent fun songs.
When the new pair arrives singing ‘Main toh raste se ja raha tha’… you miss the silliness and charm of the original.
Varun Dhawan seems entrapped in an image, and the young actor could benefit from rethinking his limiting choices. One also wishes Sara Ali Khan looks beyond the tried and tested. It’s altogether too sad when young actors choose to conform rather than push the envelope.
This year the audience has taken to OTT platforms and experienced some truly ground-breaking entertainment. The movie-going audience evolves with every passing year, but our films don’t. Isn’t it time this changed?