Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Ek Se Badhkar Ek 

Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was such a cult comedy, that one was waiting expectantly for the director to hit that high again. Ek Se Badhkar Ek took a long time in the making, and came into the theatres suddenly, with no promotion. Since expectations from the film are nil, it ends up looking like an underdog, trying too hard to please.

While JBDY had farce, slapstick, black humour, and all the elements of a classic comedy, the plot was within the realm of possibility. Ek Se Badhkar Ek is based on a preposterous premise, and it can’t go anywhere from there, except to string together some gags—a few work, several don’t.

In a plot that could have been cooked up by a doped out college kid, Rahul (Sunil Shetty), a gardener’s son stands to inherit a fortune, but a lawyer’s error in the will puts forward the condition that he has to become the city’s biggest don! How such a will was signed by he millionaire and witnesses, is not explained.

With the help of the lawyer Anand (Shekhar Suman) and an inept but ambitions cop Kanchan (Raveena Tandon), Rahul makes brainless schemes to become a don. After a failed bank robbery and a hilarious boxing match with a don, they plan to kidnap a nuclear scientist (Makarand Deshpande), but pick up a major don Jindaal (Gulshan Grover) by mistake. The scientist, sought by the ISI, is kidnapped by Tracy (Ishaa Koppikar), a bizarre femme fatale.

It gets crazier as two look-alikes of the scientist appear and the entire cast lands up at a hotel to ‘exchange’ the scientist for money. There was scope for frantic comic chaos here, which Shah hasn’t quite managed to pull off with the same élan with which he did the caper with the corpse in JBDY.

The film delivers a few laughs (not the 501 promised in the ads), but it needed a lot more gags, a faster pace, better performances, and a complete eschewal of songs to make it work.

When you think of the wealth of talent Shah had gathered for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, this lot simply cannot cope. What does go in the film’s favour is that it is not boring, and it is not in the least vulgar.


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