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Rascals review: Torturous!

David Dhawan
Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Lisa Haydon, Kangana Ranaut
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David Dhawan is still not tired of this formula – two guys gunning for the same girl (yaawn). You saw it in his films— Deewana Mastana (1997) and then in Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004). Andaz Apna Apna (directed by Rajkumar Santoshi) was perhaps the most entertaining of the triangle tales.

This plot is rehashed yet again and this time without a smidgen of fun. Let’s not even go into aspects like the unrepentant manner in which perverts and criminals are made the central characters; the “heroes” of the film. One is afraid these things don’t matter to Dhawan. So we go on to watch the film, like the makers would want it – without brains or rather, without any sensory organs. Only then can you sit through the screech-fest that this film is.

Chetan (Dutt) and Bhagat (Devgn)—yes, they’re punning on an author’s name— are small-time crooks who’re trying to marry a dumb-blonde type wealthy girl (Ranaut). They con their way and become friends with her. One pretends to be a social worker and the other a blind man.

People call films loud when they lack in subtlety. This one is also loud in the literal meaning of the word. This writer missed sorely, a pair of earplugs when yet another character screeched their dialogue instead of saying it.

What’s more surprising is that this film, full of sleazy jokes fit only for adults, has been awarded the Universal certification by the Censor Board. Consider this scene. Ajay pretending to have just recovered his vision tells Kangna to strip as her shirt’s colour is hurting his eyes. She promptly takes off her top and stands there in her underclothes. He asks her to come closer, and when she does, he says “Ab sab dikh raha hai”.

There’s more. When Chetan sees Kangna’s character in a bikini, he exclaims, “Kya cheez hai.” When Ajay’s character sees her he exclaims, “36-24-36”. Then you have his character falling all over her under the pretext of blindness. Perfect for the next family outing, no? And what a wonderful way to get the kids introduced to matters of the birds and the bees!

Other portions in the film are equally offensive and shockingly insensitive. Like a bogus social service conference where photographs of hungry children are displayed. Or the way a race for blind people has been shown. And certainly the parody on the Indian Naval force, with one of the characters pretending to have become handicapped fighting a war, is inconsiderate.

Dialogue uses worn-out lines – the writers think a dialogue is funny when it includes the names of films – Khamoshi, Black and Guzaarish in one line. The last few scenes supersede the others – Arjun Rampal appears for a cameo, there’s a duel in a church, Santa Claus costumes materialize and finally the film ends.

The actors have done better before. Sanjay Dutt (52) returns in yet another role where he embarrasses himself cavorting with someone decades younger. His attempt at being cool, sitting on a bike, while Lisa Haydon croons, 'Shake it Saiyan' is the stuff of nightmares. Ajay Devgn, usually adept at comedy, is handicapped without a single funny line or gag. Kangna Ranaut is cast in a thankless role of a ditzy, air-headed heiress.

The film is sexist, racist, and highly insensitive. But worse of all, it’s a crashing bore. Steer clear!

Verdict: One and a half stars


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