Friday, July 20, 2007


You have to be in a particularly sunny frame of mind to enjoy a comedy in which a flabby, 40 plus guy wants to know if you breathe in or breathe out while kissing!

David Dhawan, rips off Hollywood comedies the way Abbas-Mustan rip off thriller--- so this one is Hitch (with a bit of Jerry McGuire, which even gets a blink and miss tribute) with Mumbai tadka.

Dhawan does have a light touch and with good actors plus a good dialogue writer, he is often able to churn out crowd-pleasers, and Partner might turn out to be one of those, but now the effort is so strenuous that the seams show.

A cute animated opening explains why Prem (Salman Khan) turned out to be “Love Guru”—he was born along with 30 girls in maternity hospital and grew up with six sisters! So he supposedly knows what women want, and helps nerds with romantic advice on how to woo them.

Bhaskar (Govinda) is the “stupid” guy who wants to marry his wealthy boss Priya (Katrina Kaif), and won’t stop chasing Prem till he agrees to coach him. Now the idea of an overage Govinda paired with a very young and dewy-looking Katrina is mildly distasteful. Salman Khan is no spring chicken either but at least he looks fit and attractive—even though his hair job changes several times in one scene—and one can believe he knows how to attract women!

While Bhaskar has a fair amount of success with a particularly dumb Priya, Prem is smitten by newspaper reporter Naina (Lara Dutta), who shows no interest in him. So Dhawan plants a precocious brat (Ali Haji) as Naina’s son Rohan, who comes up with granny-like pearls of wisdom and plays match-maker between Prem and his mother (that’s not so common in Hindi films).

Despite the exertions of the two leading men, the one who walks away with the real laughs is Rajpal Yadav as a parody of Shah Rukh Khan’s Don-- a comic ‘item’, who disappears rather abruptly.

Dhawan comes into his element towards the end when the film hits risqué zone, with the honeymoon sequence, and you can see that this is what he does best. Then he invites titters the vulgarity in his own films in a self-referential sequence where Govinda and Salman Khan demonstrate their own dance moves from earlier Dhawan films.

If at all Partner is not disappointing, it’s because not much is expected from Dhawan’s films and if you are not too picky, there is a money’s worth of laughs in there somewhere-- you just have to hunt harder.


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