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Hum Kisise Kam Nahin

IT'S A pleasant surprise really! For those who would have thought that a David Dhawan film would be crude, crass and filled with slapstick comedy that often angers and does not amuse. Seems like he has decided to rely less on the crudity and senseless mirth that have made him successful but not really appreciated for the quality of his work. And Shaboo Arts, Afzal Khan's combined efforts to back this David venture, is probably a step in a better direction. Which is not to say that it does not contain the usual masala ingredients like song sequences that are impossibly cheery and blustering, or for that matter a heroine who continues to be a helpless beauty wearing impractical clothes and heroes who don't do much with their lives except run around romancing the beauty. Thanks to the English film that has been the inspiration, the film actually has some genuine humour thanks to the presence of stars such as Amitabh, Ajay Devgan and the real surprise is Sunjay Dutt, who shows a remarkable flair for comedy. And with Manmohan Singh handling the camera, there are some very beautiful visuals. For a change it looks like a decently made film. Of course music by Annu Malik is routine and nothing much to write home about in fact if the song sequences were removed, the film would have been racy and entertaining.

What happens when a thug, an underworld don from Mumbai, falls in love? Chaos! Because while Munnabhai (Sanjay Dutt) is dreaded by all and has the reputation for being ruthless and wanted desperately by the police he loses his edge so to say when he sees this vision of beauty, Komal (Aishwarya Rai) a dance teacher. Modern dance, one might add. He gets so obsessed with her that he keeps seeing her while in business - threatening people, exhorting money or other such nefarious activities! Each time he is stopped and reduced to a simpering love struck man being told by his vision, to behave! And his henchmen, closest to him (Anu Kapoor and Satish Kaushik) simply cannot understand what has come over their bhai.

The friends then take him to Dr. Rastogi, (Amitabh Bachchan) who diagnoses his ailment as love sickness much to the delight of Munnabhai. And he says the remedy is to pursue the girl and woo her, without of course a clue that Komal, his sister, is the object of Munna's love. The plot thickens when the audience discovers s that Komal is in love with Raja who does nothing much other than run a bowling alley. Now Munnabhai is determined to get Komal and is constantly hounding Dr. Rastogi even when he goes to Malaysia to fix Komal's marriage to his best friend's son. The comedy of errors continues till the end when in typical filmi style matters are resolved to the satisfaction of all.

Amitabh again proves that comedy is also his forte - he is easy, spontaneous and not at all irritating as he was in another Dhawan film. Ajay looks good but is not as effective as Sunjay Dutt who makes a delightful don, clumsy and spirited, a role most well done.

As for Aishwarya, she does not have much to do except look gorgeous. Perhaps only when she attempts to go beyond her beautiful girl image that she will be able to lend substance to her roles. And for a change the henchmen or the sidekicks of the hero figure, do not grate.

Also in the cast is Paresh Rawal who plays an inspector with a sense of humour. If you can overlook the unreality of mainstream Hindi cinema and its elements (for instance the overly colourful sets and décor) this is a film you might just enjoy!

CHITRA MAHESH

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