Friday, November 25, 2011

Desi Boyz 

Grow up, Dudes!

An angry girl asks her fiancé who has been working as a male stripper/escort how he would feel if he saw her dancing in a hotel with men flinging money at her.  But the question is not given any importance in Rohit Dhawan’s Desi Boyz, which doesn’t care to get into the moral, ethical or emotional aspect of people selling their bodies to make a living.  It’s not comic, it tries to be pseudo tragic and end up being completely flippant. It’s not American Gigolo, not Deuce Bigelow, not The Full Monty, heck it’s not even half as complex as Oops!
Nick (John Abraham) and Jerry (Akshay Kumar) live in a lavish London apartment, paid for by the former’s fancy salary.  Jerry is a college drop-out who does petty jobs to get by.  Recession hits the world (surprise, Bollywood even heard of it!) and both of them get fired.  Nick can’t bring himself to do menial jobs, so he is in danger of losing his “high-maintenance” fiancée Radhika (Deepika Padukone), and Jerry will lose custody of his orphaned nephew Vir to foster care.
Before you can start sniffling in sympathy, the two ‘Boyz’ are recruited by a high class pimp (Sanjay Dutt) who runs an escort agency of muscled men. Nick at least has some qualms about it, but Jerry jumps right in, and they establish themselves as the most popular gigolos in London, in spite of their ‘no sex’ policy. Why the squeamishness or hypocrisy? What are the half clad women gyrating with them paying them for?  Can’t supposedly bold Hindi filmmakers believe that the lonely “empty” (one client describes herself thus) women would want more than just dancing with the Chippendale-style hunks?
By the interval, Radhika has found out what Nick does and dumped him, Jerry has to give up the kid to a foster home, and in the second half the two have to redeem themselves.  Nick, with the help of Radhika’s borderline creepy father (Anupam Kher) tries to woo her back, and, would you believe it, a girl as sexy as Deepika Padukone can only get Omi Vaidya (with his irritating 3 Idiots NRI accent) as a suitor?  But even more improbably, Jerry goes back to college—Trinity, no less—to get tutored by the decidedly desperate professor Tanya (Chitrangda Singh), who throws herself at him.  When Jerry does pass, he gets a job by cheating and blackmailing the boss!  Who’s laughing?
The film heads towards a custody battle for Vir, which brings the film already tottering with its absurdity, crashing down.  If Rohit Dhawan (who has inherited his father David Dhawan’s style and, unfortunately, also his cinematic vacuity) wanted to take up a mature subject like this, then why did he have to dumb it down so much?  In the end, what is the film saying? That being a man-whore and “spreading happiness among unhappy females” is a great, recession-proof profession to choose? Then why go through all the needless drama before?  The actors look good, that’s about it, they are not able to, or not expected to, convey the complexity or angst of their characters.


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