Actor Binnu Dhillon is my latest discovery at the movies. Just a few weeks ago I spotted him in a kooky Punjabi comedy
Vadhayiyaan Ji Vadhayiyaan.
His mere presence in
Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se
is enough to make the film feel more a Punjabi than a Hindi film; the Gujarati, Daman-Surat, clash of cultures side of the story notwithstanding. The fact that it is helmed by a Punjabi filmmaker, Navaniat Singh only adds to the flavour.
But that’s not a problem with the film. It’s how the Deols have also fallen in the “please-the-Establishment” trap that’s highly disconcerting. The film plays on the familiar tropes of the present day Whatsapp discourse—India’s civilisational and cultural purity and superiority before it started getting ruled by invaders, from the Moghuls to the British, who along with other things brought in the much inferior allopathic system of medicine. I am not saying so, the film does. It is a more than a two-hour-long advertisement for Ministry of Ayush, that advocates a move back to Ayurveda and all but an abandonment of allopathy.
Pooran (Sunny Deol) is the last vaidya of his
(dynasty) of physicians. He cures the Amritsar populace with
(herbs and plants) that he gives out from his Khajanchi Dawakhana (Treasury of medicines). The cure-all is Vajrakavach that only he has the formula for but is coveted by the evil owner of Marfatia Pharmaceuticals (Mohan Kapoor). Dhillon plays Pooran’s compounder and right hand man Billa and Bobby Deol is Kaala, the good for nothing 40 plus younger brother.
When not doling out medicines with a shy and sanctimonious smile, Sunny mangles and distorts steel glasses from his own kitchen with his “
dhai kilo ka haath
” and halts moving trucks in the middle of the road with the same pair of hands. When not pulling unfunny faces Bobby doffs the hat to his father’s drunk act atop the tank scene in
Meanwhile, dad Dharmendra plays a lawyer with a roving eye who is made to utter inanities like “c’mon baby lets enjoy the party,” when he is not listening to his own songs from yore on Saregama Carvaan. He also happens to be Pooran’s stingy tenant who pays him a mere Rs. 115 per month for rent yet fights the legal battle over Vajrakavach’s patent.
Last but not the least there’s Shatrughan Sinha looking befuddled in a cameo and Salman Khan dancing to the end credits song.
Far from being mad fun,
is dull and dreary. It bored me to death save one nice line, “
Dar dar ke dhokle khana
” (being forced to run from pillar to post). But the film is likely to have the boundless blessings of Baba Ramdev, Patanjali and Ministry of Ayush. Sadly, that’s all the Deols seem to gunning for.
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