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"Yeh Hai Jalwa"

THERE'S NOT much to expect when you go to see a David Dhawan film — they are supposed to make you laugh (either out of sheer frustration or for lack of any other reaction) and you come out without giving it a thought after it is over. While the latter does happen, the laughs are few and far between since the director himself is rather unsure about whether he wants to make a comedy or go for the usual quota of melodrama.

"Yeh Hai Jalwa"... it quickly deviates into the ludicrous and the routine.

In Manmohan Desai presented MKD Films, after having combed through several films for inspiration, Dhawan has come up with the `most original tale' of an illegitimate son, Raju (Salman Khan) seeking acceptance from the biological father, Rajesh Mittal (Rishi Kapoor). While the mother (Poonam Dhillon) remains a photograph on the wall, to which he is constantly conversing, the father, a chubby, prosperous Asian Of The Decade or some such thing in UK, is settled with his family (Rathi Agnihotri, Khader Khan, Rinkie Khanna, Ajay Nagrath). And yes he is blissfully ignorant of his nemesis.

The nightmare begins for the father, once this `mistake' makes his appearance. He then demands that the father accept and acknowledge his association with his mother and him as his first-born!

This is where the comic element is supposed to have begun. However, only the parts that feature Rishi Kapoor and Ajay have moments of genuine humour. But it quickly deviates into the ludicrous and the routine — which are, unbearable songs and dances, romancing showpieces in the guise of heroines, some impossible situations and huge doses of martyrdom by the loving first born (who is steadfastly rejected by the father), and a happy ending when everybody tiredly troop out of the cinema hall. In all this, Rishi Kapoor plays a rather cute, harassed father with Anupam Kher as his friend, and father of Sonia (Amisha Patel), showing bits of genuine flair for comedy. Salman Khan does not have the panache to carry out this incredulous theme and still look convincing. Romancing the pretty Amisha lacks chemistry and neither of them looks particularly interested in the proceedings.

A sub-plot with Sharad Kapoor as the conman trying to swindle Rajesh Mittal of his millions through his dalliance with the daughter, gnashes his teeth to look fearsome.

While Rathi Agnihotri, Rinke Khanna stand around, not doing much except endorse whatever Salman has to say or do . And yes how can one fail to mention Sanjay Dutt in a guest appearance? As the true Indian doing bhangra on the streets of London at will, this is Dhawan's way of saying India is Punjab!

Usually these days, even if the film lacks credibility it is made up by good cinematography, special effects or sometimes even the music — in this case, however, none of these elements help in salvaging either the story or the proceedings. At best it's a film you can watch if you are terribly jobless!


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