An hour into De Dana Dan,you are at the exact same point you were the last time Priydarshan got a bunch of people to chase their tails in an enclosed space: struggling to keep your eyes open.
Essentially,Priyadarshan makes two kinds of films. One creates high drama,with the help of a deeply-saturated canvas,filled with lush colours,flamboyant figures,and large gestures. This can result in the spectacularly good (Virasat),or the really,really bad (Doli Saja Ke Rakhna).
The other is the Priyan brand of comedy,which isnt too bothered about production values or continuity or keeping track of threads. De Dana Dan falls into the latter category,and it is,in literal terms,a going south. Hes given us Hulchul and Hungama,where the laughs are non-stop,and the film is light and frothy,and very,very funny. In his latest,he is making the same filmmistaken identities,star-crossed lovers,and an assorted bunch going around in circles. But he cant do anything about the fatigue factor,resulting from there being nothing new about the treatment,or the content,such as it is.
The Hera Pheri trio of Paresh-Akshay-Suniel have been harnessed to this tale,which is about,lets seea put-upon,done-in fellow (Akshay Kumar),who is a slave to a monstrous rich hag (Archana Puran Singh),and who loves a sweet,rich girl (Katrina Kaif),a courier delivery man (Suniel Shetty),and his sweet,rich girl (Sameera Reddy),a bogus businessman (Paresh Rawal) and his foolish son (Chunkey Pandey),a brassy hooker (Neha Dhupia). Wait,we are not even half done : after a point,when several other bit parts show up to claim their fifteen minutes of screen time,De Dana Dan starts feeling like a railway platform where people jump on and off,without caring about whats being left behind.
When you have too many characters to keep track of,you lose them. Akshay Kumar spends the second half locked in a cupboard,which is a darn sight better than his fate in the first half,where he spends most of his time getting his posterior kicked by Puran Singh. Not once,but many times. When the director does remember to free him,he is sent to execute a completely inconsequential item number with Katrina: how do you justify having these two on board otherwise?
You also end up with an elongated rubberband of a film at nearly three hours,it is much too long,the laughs having dried up long back,even if the climax is watery: a rooftop pool bursts open,and the hotel the characters are in,is awash with wet bodies and forced banter.
The best lines are reserved,as has become the norm,for Paresh Rawal. He marches up and down corridors,flinging his lines about energetically,occasionally getting us to crack a laugh. The rest is a matter of passing the time,somehow.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines