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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Rascals

Two conmen trying to outsmart each other. What else?

Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi |
October 7, 2011 7:24:32 pm

Director: David Dhawan

Cast: Sanjay Dutt,Ajay Devgn,Kangana Ranaut,Arjun Rampal,Chunkey Pande

Indian Express rating:*

Two conmen trying to outsmart each other. What else? Two conmen trying to outsmart each other. And? Nothing.

When David Dhawan was on the top of his game,this one line would have been enough for him to toss out a flick filled with a gazillion laughs. Not a measured smile,but helpless laughter,the kind that comes barreling out when you have no choice. When it came to full on idiocy,or fun-on-the-run,Dhawan was the one.

I use the past tense. The director seems to have gone into some sort of comic stasis : the last time he did anything worthwhile was with ‘Partner’. Watching ‘Rascals’ is an exercise in trying to figure out where that man has gone. Because this is what you get. Sanjay Dutt as Chetan Chauhan. Ajay Devgn as Bhagat Bhonsle. Chetan-Bhagat,geddit? That’s the only faintly amusing running joke,which the verbally-challenged leading lady Kangana Ranaut is allowed to ruin. She calls the two,respectively,Chetuji and Bhagguji. Can you imagine,two Bollywood studs going by the name of Chetuji and Bhagguji? Me neither. I don’t think even Devgn and Dutt had any idea what Dhawan had in mind,because they spend the whole film widening their eyes,and flexing their already flexed biceps,and falling off things : Bhagguji from a long height into a pool,Chetuji from a bed to the floor. And so on.

There’s also Arjun Rampal as Anthony Gonsalves,speaking ‘tapori’,doing ‘chori’. He’s after Chetuji and Bhagguji who are after Khushiji (Ranaut) who is supposed to be a rich heiress. For someone who’s meant to be super-wealthy,she appears to possess clothes that are the size of hankies. And we are not talking respectable man-sized handkerchiefs either. This leads Chunkey Pande,who shows up once in a while in a bad wig,to come up with his only halfway nice line : “aaj thode zyaada kapde pehni hain”. This when Ranaut has a short frock on,not her standard two-pieces covering her in strategic places.

It makes sense,then,that Ranaut has the money shot in the film : she walks down the length of a pool,in a bikini she fills out most pneumatically,with the camera lovingly tracking her. It’s a total Baywatch moment. Make the most of it,okay? And of this : “Chetan,Bhagat,tera chapter band kar doon kya”?

Good question.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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