Awara Paagal Deewana (2002)
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Aftab, Preeti Jhangiani, Aarti Chhabria, Amrita Arora
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Music Director: Anu Malik
Nutshell: Action packed no brainer is still quite a gas – yet another guilty pleasure?
When Vikram Bhatt says that you have to leave your brains behind, or words to that effect, and just sit back and enjoy the film, he has a point…because all APD seeks to provide is slick entertainment which to some extent, it does manage to do.
Underworld Don (Om Puri) kicks the bucket leaving Son in Law Guru Gulab Khatri (Akshay Kumar), daughter (Preeti Jhangiani) and son (Rahul Dev) to lust over the crores of diamonds that he has stashed away in a bank in New York. Except that pining daughter does not love her hubby and is willing to give up her share of the diamonds if only he will divorce her,which he refuses to do. A mini don himself, he walks on walls and fights “Matrix” style, usually against his evil brother in law. Having been set up by the brother in law with the help of a “mask”, Guru Gulab Khatri, now a wanted murderer escapes to the US. He then moves into a house whose neighbours happen to be the shrewish Amrita Arora and mother who have henpecked husbands to boot. (Paresh Rawal and Aftab). On seeing the infamous Guru Gulab Khatri, they send off the two henpecked hubbies to collect a reward on Khatri’s head. Enter contract killer Yedda Anna (Sunil Shetty), a not too bright fellow hired by Rahul Dev to eliminate Gulab Khatri.
If you feel that it follows a familiar path, its not because you have seen this before in Bollywood because as a plot itself, it has a certain novelty to it. Also, you have all the heroines playing musical chairs with the heroes, all ending up with different men than they had started out with. The familiarity stems from the fact that APD is an adaptation of Bruce Willis’ The Whole Nine Yards. That is not a film which I would automatically consider fit to remake for hindi audiences but Vikram Bhatt does this with a considerable panache and gusto. It never really matches the speed or edge that Aankhen managed to some extent, but its action scenes are spectacularly done and fun to watch. Perhaps this is because it is aimed at being a comedy more than an action drama and whilst the comedy is engaging, it is never really witty enough and certainly not in the bracket of the highly superior Hera Pheri. What this proves is that Vikram Bhatt is alive and kicking after his deathly aap mujhe achche lagne lage but it also proves that he is more comfortable with his adaptations and remakes then with anything original. Perhaps that is not a fair comment because directorially, Raaz is superb and even though it does borrow from what lies beneath, it is a completely different film.
Akshay Kumar shines once again in a rather unconventional role. Good for him that he should try different styles and different genres. I missed his presence when he was not on screen. Sunil Shetty is amusing enough though comes out a poor third compared to the other heroes. Aftab shows a good feel for comedy and is really very good in this. Paresh Rawal is now beginning to jar with his comedy, even though he manages a few sniggers here and there. One word for the heroines..disasterous. What is cinema coming to if we are now casting the likes of these three very ordinary looking and talent less babes. Sorry girls, better luck next time. In this one, all three are enough to give anyone indigestion.
Music is unimpressive although probably fits the bill. Too many songs and a plethora of scantily clad women gyrating in many of the songs. Oh so dull really. Great locations especially the ones in Spain. A slick product…after a long hard day, it may be just the thing to switch off.