Coolie No. 1 review

Directed By
David Dhawan

Produced By
Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani & Deepshikha Deshmukh

Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan, Paresh Rawal, Jaaved Jaaferi, Johny Lever, Rajpal Yadav, Shikha Talsania, Sahil Vaid

Bollywood Bubble RatingLife is a constant struggle, and the Christmas release ‘Coolie No. 1’ just adds up to it. Rather, it’s a traumatic experience unfolding itself bit by bit. If I could ask one thing from Santa, it would be to delete my memory of the past 2 hours and 14 minutes because the eternal sunshine of my radiant brainwaves is now clouded by scars that are here to stay till the end of time.

Set in the fictional city of Mumbai (yes I’m writing this in my senses, although I’m still recovering), this David Dhawan directorial is a remake of the 1995 film of the same name which was directed by David Dhawan himself and which itself was a remake of the Tamil film titled ‘Chinna Mapillai’. I say fictional because the Mumbai which has been projected in the film, looks nothing like the one in real life because this film looks down upon reality like a classist, and also like a guy with an inflated ego who’s so drunk on vengeance that it’d go to any lengths to settle the scores; and with that, I give the setup of the film and the character introductions of Paresh Rawal’s and Jaaved Jaaferi’s part. If you had a problem with Rohit Shetty’s films insulting the laws of physics, boy oh buoy! You are in for a treat with ‘Coolie No. 1’ as Mr. David Dhawan has murdered science in full graphic detail. There are scenes where Varun Dhawan’s character is running atop a speeding train to save a child, where he crosses a speeding train moments before it could crush him to death and a human pyramid that rather acts a trampoline to the characters, who jump off the hospital building. No concern for the impact and inertia whatsoever.

The film tells the story of a Coolie named Raju, who lives a dual life of an affluent man and a coolie, after he falls in love with the rich kid (Sara Ali Khan) of a hotelier (Paresh Rawal). David Dhawan’s direction is flawed and stuck in time. In addition, the film’s editing can send an OCD patient into a coma which is a travesty given that Mr. Dhawan himself has been an editor, that too an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.

The lead actors do their job with the fluidity and flexibility of cardboard. Varun Dhawan breaks into random mimicry whenever he’s playing Raju; the Coolie, Sara Ali Khan’s character is either too innocent or too dumb to figure out what’s happening around her. The leg piece of Kauwwa biryani in the film, “Run” had more meat than Sara’s character here. Sikha Talsania and Sahil Vaid struggle with poor dialogues and, they look completely out of place throughout the length of the film. The supporting cast of the film has an army of talented actors ranging from Paresh Rawal, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rajpal Yadav and Johny Lever; each of them known for the style of comedy which is unique to them. Yet, all this army fail spectacularly at churning out comedy just like how Uncle Sam’s army failed in the Vietnam War. Well, you can’t do much with the timing when the dialogues are utter bullshit and the reason for this is the repeat offender in the form of Farhad Samji, whose dialogues are random and poorly framed, forget about making any sense, whatsoever. If writing is a craft then Samji is a white-collar employee who’s just living life for the heck of it. No no, don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to politically incorrect jokes, I have a pretty good appetite for humour which is dark, disturbing and politically incorrect to epic proportions provided they’re not licensed under the mediocrity.

The production design and art department of the film provide some respite only because it’s not in synergy with the film which is kind of odd but, then nothing makes sense anymore. ‘Coolie No. 1’ seems to be the final nail in the coffin, for a year which has been so hard. Well played 2020, you got us in the first half and you escalated the game towards the end as well.

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