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Deol By Three

Friday, August 31, 2018

In 2011, the first 'Yamla Pagla Deewana' was released, starring the three Deols – father Dharmendra and sons Sunny and Bobby. They are all popular stars – Dharmendra is a legend – but don’t do too many films with other producers.

The first film was supposedly a hit, but then there is no accounting for audience taste. Looking back at the review, in 'Yamla Pagla Deewana' (named after a particularly foot-tapping Dharmendra song), the character of Dharam, played by Dharmendra, looks at a photo of his younger self and exclaims, “How handsome.” He calls himself Garam Dharam and boasts that women love him so much that he probably has kids in every street. Is this a tribute to the 'He Man' Dharmendra persona, or a mockery?

Dharmendra was a hero in films in the true sense of the word, noble, kind, brave – how is turning him into a lecherous old man in a film doing his image any good? Of course, he was handsome and had – still does – a huge fan following, but it is embarrassing to watch him and the two Deol sons keep up these self-referential surges throughout a very bad film, with just a few moments of warmth and humour to keep it afloat – maybe in 'B centres' and the Punjabi Diaspora where everyone loves the Deols.

Canada-based Sardar Paramveer (Sunny Deol) with a blonde nag of a wife (Emma Brown), and weepy mother (Nafisa Ali), learns that his father is alive and in Benares with a younger brother Gajodhar (Bobby Deol), who he didn't know about. He goes to Benares, where the two rob, swindle, drink, womanise and the son proudly calls the father 'Kameena'.

If this isn't cringe-making enough, the interminable film then moves to Punjab, where Gajodhar's lady love (Kulraj Randhawa) lives with five loony brothers, who want her to marry an NRI. A bit of 'DDLJ' is played out there, before everybody is united in 'Canedda', and the hammering on the audiences' heads ends. There are fight scenes, two 'item' numbers, many drunken revels and the promotion of an old style machismo that isn't attractive even in homage-to-the-past movies.”

Two years later, a Part 2 rolled in, and the review said, “Paramveer is divested of the wife he had in the earlier film, is now in the UK, working as a collection agent. He thinks his father and brother have reformed, but the 'ol man is pretending to be a god-man and planning to con a troubled tycoon from London, Sir (!) Yograj Khanna (Annu Kapoor).

In the UK, a weird villain Joginder Armstrong (Anupam Kher) has eyes on Khanna's club, because he wants to set up the world's biggest mall (who even thinks up such nonsense) and keeps sending two clowns (Jonny Lever-Sucheta Khanna) to evict Khanna.

Dharam then pretends to be a wealthy Oberoi and gets Gajodhar engaged to Khanna's adopted daughter Suman (Neha Sharma). Paramveer is witness to this con, but keeps quiet and falls for Khanna's real daughter Reet (Kristina Akheeva). Realising that Suman is not his ticket to wealth, Dharam encourages Gajodhar to pretend to be an artist 'Q' and snare Reet, who runs an art gallery. “If I were in your place,” he says, “she would have been pregnant by now!” (Cringe!)

This is not the kind of film where one looks for intelligent or decent humour. Sunny Deol plays the Super Sardar, whose roar is enough to have armies of attackers flying into the air; and when he actually uses his fists, even Sumo wrestlers are easily felled. This character is obviously being built into a franchise, because the film ends with the hint (threat?) of a Part 3.”

And it comes out this week 'Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se...' with a different director, and hopefully a better, plot, characters.

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