Movie Review: Deewane Huye Paagal ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageFilm: "Deewane Huye Paagal"; Cast: Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapur, Suniel Shetty, Rimi Sen, Om Puri and Paresh Rawal; Director: Vikram Bhatt; Rating: **

In the past couple of years Akshay Kumar has discovered his funny bone. And boy, is he using it?

Right from Priyadarshan's "Hera Pheri" to David Dhawan's "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi", to Priyadarshan's "Garam Masala" and now yet another full-throttle comedy after barely two weeks... phew! Could it be a case of comic overkill?

Blessedly Akshay carries off the incessant comic slant with a touch of cool. Whether it is dancing with sinewy damsels in a sweaty pub to one of Anu Malik's recycled mix 'n' match tunes, or belting out a babbling burlesque as he plots, plans and connives to keep Rimi Sen away from her college sweetheart, Shahid Kapur.

Akshay is wickedly funny and fully in sync with the carnival of comicality that director Vikram Bhatt unleashes in a feast of furiously feisty, sometimes tasty, sometimes extravagant gags and jokes.

The plot about a commodious bunch of glorified buffoons wooing the music video queen borrows generously and obviously from the Farrelly Brothers' hit movie "There's Something About Mary".

"Deewane Huye Paagal"'s mainstay is the extremely competent cast, each displaying an unexpected flair for the funnies. Akshay tops the hefty hauls of hilarity, while Suniel Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Suresh Menon (a laugh riot as the illegitimate heir of gangster Om Puri) create a satirical space in the hierarchy of hilarity where Akshay dominates at the top.

Shahid Kapur remains supremely detached from the simmer and swoosh emerging out of the comic cauldron. He transforms into a live wire on the dance floor.

The problem, if one may call it that, is with our Mumbaiyya Mary.

Cameron Diaz in the original was a stunner, a style icon among Plain Janes. Rimi Sen is at the most tolerably pleasant. The thought of the entire cast of male members - from the nerdy Shahid to the blind Asrani - acquiring an alert position at the very mention of this woman is more appalling than appealing.

But that's the magic of cinema for you. Suspension of disbelief and all that... The myth of the mirth is well exercised in the length and breadth of this film.

Vikram Bhatt with eye-catching assistance from cinematographer Pravin Bhatt furnishes the farce with a delectable dimension. The parodic romantic story is set in Dubai where the sleek roads, laden malls and luscious ladies contribute tellingly to the narrative's over ripe ready-to-be-plucked look.

The texture is titillating and the mood is provocative. The lush locational advantage compounded by zingy anything-goes lines (Neeraj Vora and Abbas Hirapurwala) and an over-blown climax with revved-up motorbikes and somersaulting cars in the sand dunes, create an atmosphere of designer-bravado.

At the end of it all, you find saying 'so okay' instead of 'so what'. Skirting the futility and repetitiveness of the last two big comedy releases, "Shaadi No. 1" and "Garam Masala", "Deewane Huye Paagal" bites as much as it chews.

The excesses occur in following the Farrellys' farce too closely. The merciless jokes about the physically disabled and the unmentionably cruel things done to a pet poodle makes you want to call the SPCA...

Bollywood.com Rating: 2.5