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Ek Aur Ek Gyarah: Once is bad enough

MADCAP SHOW GOES ON:

MADCAP SHOW GOES ON: "Ek Aur Ek Gyarah" is the latest assembly production by David Dhawan.  

EK AUR EK GYARAH

(At Delite, M2K and other Delhi theatres)

JODI NUMBER One is back. So are the jokes. In this latest assembly line presentation from David Dhawan, old faithful Sanjay Dutt and Govinda keep company, crack jokes, have frequent digs, make you laugh occasionally, smile often. Clad in their garish best - or worst, if you please - they are two small-time crooks who turn big-time thieves. Now robbing a don of sorts, now browbeating a bank manager into directing them to the locker, they are predictably pleasant. There is a method in madness. There is some thought in their jokes, some wit in their humour. In tact are their antics, their buffoonery, their ribald jokes which evoke frequent laughter from the old faithful. Also in tact, is the on-screen chemistry between the two performers. If Govinda is natural, Sanjay Dutt matches him with cultivated timing. If one has the ants-in-the-pants expression after every gaffe, the other wears `what's up, mate' facade with innocent ease. Apply the lowest common denominator formula and you might just find them a shade better than tolerable.

As usual they have lovely dames to drape around their arms. They might be crooks, out of job Punjabi youth given to frequent indiscretions but that does not prevent them from falling for and winning over the charms of the Army officers' sister and her friend.

Amrita Arora and Nandini Singh try their best in the dance-and-disappear routine. When they come on the screen, nobody notices them; when they move off, nobody misses them. Neither of them is a Karisma Kapoor waiting to happen.

Does the film score? Well, at best only partially. If it fails it is not due to the lead pair. They are as trustworthy here as they ever have been. They share their usual banter here. What is not are the one-liners which come with an interval long enough to step out, light and finish a cigarette and come back. You would have missed nothing. In between these smart jokes, have a yawn, attend to other body needs as the nubile young things prance around in clothes your grandma won't approve of if she were to see them. Or your college-going daughter risk demanding as a birthday gift from her parents.

As director, David Dhawan misses his threads somewhere in this madcap show which just got too mad for easy assimilation. Though he keeps his pace brisk and the flimsy story of two crooks entering the Army-man's home and winning over everybody going with situational humour, he is not able to imbue his light-hearted venture with sufficient dollops of laughter to make it a laugh-a-minute riot. Each of the scenes is self-contained but the sum of the parts does not add up to more than the whole. Also, the fine art of understatement goes missing and with that the director loses control over this typically loud, brash, brazen film where he expects you to send your brains on an extended vacation when you step into the cinema hall.

Ek Aur Ek Gyarah: Once is bad enough

It is not a film you would like to be seen watching. And it is a film you may find just a tad tedious to watch if you have seen the master craftsman that is David Dhawan at work in films like "Coolie Number One' and "Biwi Number One". On the crest of those films, David became almost a school of direction, far removed from the "Aag Ka Gola", "Gola Barood" and "Swarg" days. But by now we all know what to expect. And viewers don't settle for anything but the best of David. He was below par last year in "Hum Kisise Kum Nahin" and "Jalwa". He is a shade better here but still some distance from his best. If he needs some inspiration to churn out his best, he does not need to look beyond his earlier films. He will find plenty there.

As for the viewers, well, they too will find plenty of better films from him. In the past. And hopefully in the future. "Ek Aur Ek Gyarah" can at best be a one-time encounter for the die-hard suffering from the World Cup hangover.

For others who prefer to pick and choose, well here is a case for exercising discretion.

ZIYA US SALAM

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