Multi-starrers scare me, especially when the names involved are really big. I’m not joking. I always get the vibe that the only reason this movie will have any success whatsoever is because of the names involved in it, which is more than a reason for the Indian public to go rushing to their nearest theater. Of course I’m not right all the time, but unfortunately I’ve been right more than I have been wrong. That is the reason I was a tad bit skeptical as I was sitting in my seat waiting for the movie to start. So, what was it going to be?
The story is pretty straightforward. Sam and Kunal (played by Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham respectively) are looking for an apartment in Miami. They finally find the perfect one! There’s a problem, though. They’re guys. And the lady in-charge does not want to give the apartment to them as she is a bit too overprotective of her “baby” (Neha, played by Priyanka Chopra). So, to assure the landlady that her baby will remain safe, Sam and Kunal pretend to be a gay couple. Being gay means no hitting on baby. Easy solution, right? Not really.
Things take a slight twist when Sam and Kunal finally get to see Neha and realize that lying to her about being gay is going to be far from simple. She’s hot and they both want her, but if they tell her they’re straight then not only will they end up looking like liars but they’ll also be thrown out of the house. That’s more than enough of a reason for them to keep their mouth shut.
What ensues is a set of very funny scenes in which Sam and Kunal try their best to convince people, at least the ones that matter, that they are indeed gay. From the hilarious “How did you guys meet?” story to the even funnier party scene in which they are forced to interact with Neha’s gay boss (M, played by Boman Irani) and an Immigration officer who has dropped in for a surprise visit, Dostana manages to keep things interesting. Things do get a little chaotic when Sam’s mom (played by Kirron Kher) arrives but this movie never goes to the “brainless” department, which really is a breath of fresh air when it comedies these days. Though some scenes do seem a little far-fetched on paper, in the end the execution is just right to make them seem funny rather than senseless.
I’m glad with the direction this movie took. We all knew that Sam and Kunal like Neha, but this movie is not all about chasing her down and fighting against each other, which if it were would have been a bore. Two guys fighting for a girl doesn’t sound like anything new. Instead, the first half of movie just shows them chilling as friends and shows Sam and Kunal trying their best to remain gay resulting in some genuinely funny scenarios. There’s another twist with the introduction of Bobby Deol. Again, this movie could easily have become a chaotic and senseless comedy had there not been someone responsible behind it, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Also, having a sensitive issue of homosexuality as your main subject could easily result in some not-so-pretty jokes, but fortunately everything in this movie is very tastefully done. It also isn’t out to deliver any message either. It doesn’t teach us that being gay is right or wrong, so don’t expect anything cheesy in that sense. Though it may have taken some inspiration from I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry to form it’s core story, the comparisons stop there. While that was a movie filled with stereotypical jokes and a cheesy ending, Dostana is just the opposite. So refreshing to see a Hindi and English movie with the same basic story with the former completely outclassing the latter. Doesn’t happen everyday.
Performance-wise, Priyanka Chopra nails her role yet again. Besides looking absolutely gorgeous, she plays the role of the single, fun loving girl just waiting for the right guy to enter her life just right. It was great seeing her give back-to-back performances of two completely opposite characters in Fashion and Dostana and playing them so convincingly. Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham are equally good in their roles as well. Not once did their relationship on-screen seem forced. Albeit in the movie for a short time, Boman Irani is as funny as always. Kirron Kher does her part well too, but perhaps the writer(s) could have cut the crying and shouting about her son being gay just a little bit. Bobby Deol, playing the role of a single parent and also a work colleague of Neha’s, does a reasonably good job. Sushmita Mukherjee, playing the role of Neha’s aunt and the landlady, also does a decent job.
Though no one really stands out in terms of acting in this movie, that shouldn’t be taken that as a negative. Abhishek, John and Priyanka share excellent on-screen chemistry throughout the movie, which really was very important to have. Their relationship seems very genuine and that really is a big plus. A combination of any other actors could have easily messed this movie up, but in the end it’s the chemistry these actors share with each other that really makes things click.
The music suits the movie perfectly. The song placement is just right and they never burden you. All of them are shot very well too. They never spoil the flow of the movie, which is something I always appreciate. I truly have a very strong dislike for movies, which add in songs just to fill in some sort of quota they must have. They must go well with the flow of the movie and thankfully Dostana delivers in this case.
The negatives? Well, there aren’t too many, but there some aspects this movie could have worked on, like the length. It definitely needed to be a bit shorter. The second half ended up feeling just a tad bit stretched. Some trimming here and there could have definitely made this movie more enjoyable. Also, the first half of this movie is far more enjoyable than the second half. So, though this is a good movie, it definitely had the potential to become a much better one.
All in all, this is a movie I’d recommend you to watch. It’s a cute, light and at times witty comedy that people from all age groups will enjoy. During a time where almost every Hindi comedy ends with a half hour circus like chase between all the characters involved, Dostana takes the more sensible route and doesn’t try to go overboard with its humour. Though not a laugh-out-loud comedy, Dostana succeeds in putting a smirk on your face throughout its running time. Give it a watch.