When I heard Rohit Shetty of the BIG senseless songs, exploding cars and loud clothing in Golmaal and Golmaal Returns, was directing this Ajay DevGN productions film and it had the usual suspects in the cast, it did not inspire me to seek the film out. Ajay Devgan (oops DevGN) as the cool guy would annoy me, Fardeen can’t act saala, and Sunjay Dutt has only shown disinterest in almost every recent film. I like Bipasha and Mugdha was an unknown quantity for me. The name was intriguing though – it reminded me of Shakespearean comedies that had names like As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing etc. and were usually frothy pieces about identity confusion and the madness that ensues.
The film started with the usual nonsensical lavishly mounted carnivale type title song and then almost immediately went into another song with “cool” moves where the hero flips his car over to give his lady love a rose. People with low tolerance might have exited the movie by this time. But those who persisted had a surprise in store. After these two abysmal and non-contextual numbers the film took an abrupt turn for the better and gradually moved into the realm highly entertaining.
The story draws on identity confusion, and role playing, very much in the vein of Golmaal (Amol Palekar) and Chupke Chupke (Amitabh and Dharam) which it acknowledges blatantly and without much of a wink or nod. Briefly – Veer’s (Fardeen Khan) Step-brother Dharam (played by Sunjay Dutt) is a badass rich guy. Veer lives in his brother’s mansion, pretends to be married to his girlfriend Vidya (Mugdha Godse) so his brother will up his allowance. In the meantime he wastes time and money on his band and his buddy Prem Chopra (sic! Ajay Devgan) who is married to Jhanvi (Bipasha Basu). The fun starts when Vidya goes off in a huff just as Dharam Bhaiyya lands up in the country after his flight to Lesotho (don’t ask!) is rerouted. Now he wants to meet Vidya and there is scurry to procure a Vidya – first choice being Ashwini Kalsekar, who play the maid or “aaya”, Mary. Ajay quips – haven’t you heard that one – Bahaaron Phool Barsao mera mehboob AAYA hai!!! Yes, as corny as it sounds the line cracks me up every time I think about it. But she cannot hear the hurried phone instructions and somehow Jhanvi (Bipasha) ends up as Vidya and this leads to royal confusion all around. Much like a Shakespeare or Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy the laughs start to pile up. The boys have taken a loan from the dumb Don Tobu (Johnny Lever in a brilliant role after an age), they need money desperately and so Prem has rented out Dharam Bhaiyya’s mansion. Now a “SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE” lottery winner Raghu aka RGV (Sanjay Mishra) has arrived on the doorstep in a tempo/lorry full of stuff and driven by Dondhu (Atul Parchure). These guys have the body language that reeks comedy. Watch RGV sit on a chair as Sanju Baba explains the philosophy of life to him “Aaj tera tha, kal mera hai, parson kissi aur kaa”, to which he aggressively responds “Kal Tera thaa, aaj mera hai aur kal bhi mera rahega”! The comedy escalates as Dharam Bhaiyya tries to figure out why Jhanvi/Vidya’s photo is in Prem’s wallet, and why phones for her come on Prem’s phone. A night sequence when Prem tries to sneak into Jhanvi/Vidya’s room, is the stuff of legends. The film is let down by a silly washed out climax, but even there Rohit Shetty is brave enough to not import some Africans and keeps the lampoon quotient high with boot-black on faces!
The casts performs exceptionally well. Sanjay Dutt is awesome and totally in comic mode, Ajay and Fardeen do the job, with Ajay actually managing the buffoonish hero well. The minor cast is superb, right from Ashwini Kalsekar, to Atul Parchure to Sanjay Mishra to Johnny lever and his gang. Even Asrani manages to invoke some laughs after a long time! Bipasha is good and Mugdha has barely any role but does well with it.
If only the film did not have any songs, and was 10 minutes shorter with a different climax, it would be top notch. As it is, I found it better than either Golmaals and a little below the level of 99 this year.