Post Himmatwala, most viewers have sworn off remakes, and Chashme Baddoor (CB) doesn't do much to salvage this thought.
The core story, revolving around three bachelor friends sharing a room, remains the same as the original (released in '81). Two of them - Omi (Divyendu Sharma) and Jai (Siddharth) - are loafers, piling up the credit at the local cafe (yes the humble paan-wala from the original gives way to a fancy restaurant in Goa) and looking for women to harass.
The original was sweeter still, with the rogues trying to woo women but failing miserably. Here, we are introduced to Jai (Siddharth), as he's giving an audition for a film. It's a rape scene and since rape is such a funny issue, director David Dhawan shows the character actually molest the woman.
So in the audition, we watch the make-believe director trying to control Jai as he pulls the female actor's saree pallu and gropes her even as she's screaming.
The next character, Omi, is introduced on the stage of a college function, where, in the presence of his principal and chief guest, he cracks tasteless jokes. We then watch both these characters running and being followed by scores of people who want to hit them.
Unsurprisingly, your sympathy hardly rests with these characters.
The third roomie Siddharth (Ali Zafar) is the bookish, quiet sort who tolerates his friends' doings and, at times, even encourages them. Omi and Jai spot Seema (Taapsee Pannu) who has just moved to the neighbourhood and is living with her grandmother and uncle (Anupam Kher).
She has run away from home as her hilariously dictatorial father (Kher, again) wanted to get her married forcibly.
The Dumb and Dumber duo tosses a coin to see who'll make the move first. And then we watch as they go to her house to introduce themselves and try their luck with getting her attention. Once in the house, Dhawan adds unnecessary crudity - so you have Omi rummaging through her underwear drawer and Jai clicking a picture of the tattoo on her back when she's exercising.
But as luck would have it, Seema notices Siddharth and exclaims, Dum hai, Boss' (a line she keeps repeating in his favour, that frankly sounds like an advertising tagline).
Meanwhile, we see another long-drawn romance between the café owner Joseph (a very tattooed Rishi Kapoor) and Josephine (Lilette Dubey). Omi and Jai then try creating rifts in the two romances. First they call Seema a 'fast and giri hui ladki' and then describe her as 'China ka maal, no guarantee, no warrantee.' And next, they also almost break the older romance. With friends like these, who needs enemies, eh? Of course, all of this is later brushed off as "nadaani".
The breezy touches include the spunky songs, Niharika Khan's astute styling and occasional dialogue gems that stand out from the clutter. Like this one: "Ye pyaar karne waale, Saif aur Kareena ki tarah 'Qurbaan' ho gaye.'
But please note, for one dialogue that makes you smile, there are a dozen others that make you cringe. Obsessed with rhyming each ending word, each conversation tries to word-play, often unsuccessfully. Conversations and scenes drag on, as if no one's looking.
The performances are pretty good. Ali Zafar (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Tere Bin Laden) is top-notch. Taapsee Pannu makes a fabulous debut, and is a talent to look out for.
Dibyendu Sharma (Pyaar Ka Punchnama) and Siddharth (Rang De Basanti, Striker) also do very well.
Bharati Achrekar as the feisty grandmother is a treat.
The iconic Chamko scene from the original has been mutilated in this version. But then, so has most of the original film.
With none of the glam and glitz of this film, the original still stands out for its simplicity, sweetness and snatches of real humour.
Taking inspiration from a line from Chashme Baddoor, this is the Chinese-made version of the original. View it at your own risk.
Rating: 2.5 stars