THIS VERSION OF ‘COOLIE NO. 1’ DOESN’T ACTUALLY FIT TODAY’S TIMES

Rating: 2.5/5
The only way you can and should watch this film is without making any comparison with the original classic

If you think you can stand by the strapline above, you are probably wrong. You are bound to compare because the prolific director David Dhawan (who directed the original version as well) deliberately wants you to compare. Coolie No. 1 is a story that belonged to the 90s. You watch that Govinda starrer film even today and you enjoy because you watch it in a context that is dated. The reprised version seems outdated, doesn’t fit the contemporary world.

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

A matchmaker Jaikishen (Javed Jafferi) sets out to teach Jeffrey Rozario (Paresh Rawal), an arrogant rich man, a lesson. Hilarity ensues when he asks Raju (Varun Dhawan), a coolie, to pretend to be a millionaire so he can marry Rozario’s daughter Sara (Sara Ali Khan).

CHECK ‘COOLIE NO.1’ VIDEO REVIEW HERE 

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The film starts off at a high note. An animation sequence in a song during opening credits is played. Brilliant move. Raises your hopes. But hopes in life are generally short-lived.

Remakes are not a problem. Serving audiences of today a thing of the past also isn’t. The problem is when the story doesn’t move ahead in time, not one bit. Screenplay is by Rumi Jaffrey and dialogues by Farhad Samji. Just by painting an old product, David Dhawan probably thought he revamped the inner machinery. He was so wrong in his thought. The best way to go about should have been to alter the content as per the needs of the audiences today.

Even while looking at the film from totally an entertainment point of view, it lacks luster. It gets slapstick, cheesy, sleazy, and cringe worthy most of the times. Note that most of the iconic scenes of the 1995 film are recreated here, with the difference that here they are extremely lousy. The actors are made to speak their dialogues on top of their voices, occasionally mimicking other actors thinking they would make you laugh. Sadly, it doesn’t happen. Also, since the scenes are recreated, you are taken back again and again to Govinda-Kader Khan-Karisma Kapoor.

coolie no. 1, amazon prime, hindi, film, review, 2020
On sets of the film (image source: instagram)

This film doesn’t make you laugh, except for ONLY two moments, which involves physical comedy by Varun Dhawan and not the dialogue delivery. The problem lies with the film itself. Even if someone hasn’t watched the original version, he/she will find it difficult to enjoy this one.

There are parts that you like, working more for the behind-the-scenes rather than on the screen. The effort of all the actors shows, but the direction has made them all seem loud cartoons suffering at the hands of one man’s desire to ruin his own classic, without even attempting to put soul into the newer version. The only sane people are Bharati Acharekar, Sahil Vaid, and Shikha Talsania. Varun’s role is actually a tough one and the actor seems to have worked really hard. But sadly, it doesn’t translate.

PERFORMANCE

Varun Dhawan has tried really hard to get it right, and he does to some extent. Only to some extent. Since the effort isn’t channelized in the right direction, he is bound to suffer.

Sara Ali Khan is just okay, and nothing noticeable about her comes forth.

coolie no. 1, amazon prime, review, film, hindi, 2020
On sets of the film (image source: instagram)

Paresh Rawal, a genius otherwise is reduced to a mere caricature here always asked to go overboard. He is one of the most irritating characters on screen. Comparing his avatar to Kader Khan of original version, well leave it. It will be an insult to Khan. The only fault of Rawal is that he signed this film.

Bharati Acharekar has a special appearance and she does fine. It’s good to see her on screen. Shikha Talsania looks pretty, sensible, and acts well. Sahil Vaid is more humorous that all others put together. He gives some fabulous expressions in some of his scenes, making him excel.

Javed Jafferi is fine. He has been given an important role. He does try a lot with his body to evoke laughter. Doesn’t happen.

Anil Dhawan and Manoj Joshi- two great performers have been totally wasted here. Moreover, it’s sad to see stalwarts like Johnny Lever and Rajpal Yadav doing such roles. They are made to look cheap in the name of comedy, and it’s a disgrace to them.

READ ‘SHAKEELA’ MOVIE REVIEW HERE 

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

Music where two songs are reprised (keeping the vocals same) and two of them are new, hinder the film here. You are sure to skip them on Amazon Prime application. Background score by Salim Sulaiman is good and works nicely for the film. The typical signatures of Viju Shah brings some nostalgia.

Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran is bright and colorful. It’s simple though. The station sequences, even without the CGI train are very artificial. Production design by Rajat Poddar is just fine. Nothing great about it. There could be more locations rather than just sets to give audience a good flavor at least. A good connect may be.

Editing by Ritesh Soni is as good as the writing. Nothing spectacular there. You know all the episodes here, since the original film achieved cult status. The flow is not bad.

The idea of making this film was flawed. Wish Dhawan realized that. For one time and more so for the first timers, this will still be a little enjoyable. Otherwise it won’t appeal at all.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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