Cast: Salman Khan, Govinda, Katrina Kaif, Lara Dutta
Director: David Dhawan
Bottomline: Knot exactly Hitch, tied up David Dhawan style
The thing about David Dhawan movies is that you know that the knot is just an excuse to unleash some unpretentious insanity on screen, as the lead pair improvises with great flourish, backed with the cheesiest of lines.
Sample this: When Prem (Salman Khan of course) thinks the bumbling Bhaskar (Govinda) died in a bus accident, he sits beside the corpse, and in all sincerity says: “Pata hai pyaar karna sab ke BUS ki baat nahin nahin, Par kya pata tha ki tu BUS pakadkar, hum sabko beBUS karke chala jayega.” (It’s impossible to translate these dialogues Sanjay Chhel and make them sound funny in English)
Instantly, you know here’s a film that does not take itself too seriously. Earlier, there’s a scene where a kid launches a baby missile that responds to the verbal cue: ‘Go baby go’ and hunts down the person mentioned after those words. So when the kid helplessly cries for help saying ‘Maama,’ the missile chases Jet-Skiing Salman Khan giving him ample scope to showcase his stunts. Wait a minute, didn’t we say it was about Hitch?
Yes, that’s because stupid Bhaskar (chubby klutzy Govinda) wants to woo Marie Claire model Katrina Kaif and seeks Love Guru’s help.
With that storyline as an excuse, David Dhawan gives the common man plenty to laugh at with digs at everyone including Shah Rukh Khan (Rajpal Yadav plays Chotta Don in a cheeky sub-plot that never quite takes off), Aamir Khan (there’s this hilarious Aamir duplicate on screen when Salman takes the mischievious kid for a movie) and the lead players Govinda (as the man breaks into Sarkailo Khatiya to showcase his dance skills before Love Guru tells him that times have changed and he has to make his moves more stylish and ‘Just Chill’ – one of the finest moments in the film, almost autobiographical) and Salman himself (at a security check, Salman takes his shirt off and says: “Main Toh Mauke main rehta hoon yeh sab karne ke liye” (I just wait for opportunities to do things like this)
David Dhawan has been criticised for being inconsistent about delivering his films and sometimes scenes within the film – some work, others fail. That’s because he helms a genre called improvisational comedy that solely depends on the mood of the unit (mainly the actors and his writers) during that particular day.
If you think about it, there is simply no other way David Dhawan films can be made. Because most of the jokes surely wouldn’t sound funny the second time you read it in a bound script.
The scenes work purely because of the improvisation and comic timing by the actors. Here, Govinda returns to form and cracks you up as Salman sits back and lets the under-rated actor take centre-stage.
In fact, that scene in the theatre where Prem babysits the kid and cheers ‘Go Aamir, Go’ is testimony to Salman’s attitude of sitting back and having a good time watching his contemporaries try hard to entertain. In a recent interview, Salman said: “Shah Rukh puts in 100 per cent, Aamir puts in 200 per cent… and me, I put in two percent.”
And when you see Partner, you tend to believe the man. His performance is effortless indeed.
If Hitch was a date movie, this one’s for buddies.