David Dhawan is rightly credited as the king of masala films. His movies are targeted at an audience that craves for entertainers. As a matter of fact, barring a few exceptions, a majority of his movies have made the spectators smile and his producers and distributors laugh all the way to the bank. His success rate is, without doubt, enviable.
That’s one of the reasons why his 45th directorial venture COOLIE NO. 1 is looked forward to. However, this time, Dhawan Sr is competing with himself. 25 years ago, in 1995, he helmed a film — starring Govinda and Karisma Kapoor — which was loved not just for its humour, songs and drama, but just about everything. It’s a film that stays fresh in our minds to date. Naturally, when he attempts to remake the much-adored entertainer, the updated version is bound to be judged minutely, perhaps with a magnifying glass.
Let’s get to the point. Is the updated / rebooted version of COOLIE NO. 1 equally entertaining? The comparisons are inevitable. If Dhawan Sr stumbles, the armchair critics will tear the updated version to shreds, while son Varun Dhawan — who reprises Govinda’s character — will face severe backlash for stepping into the supremely talented actor’s shoes.
Be forewarned. COOLIE NO. 1 is strictly for those who relish crazy entertainers. Those with an appetite for movies that defy logic, motive and intellect. The funda is crystal clear: Entertain. Make you laugh. To transport you to a different world. The trailers had prepared us about what to expect and COOLIE NO. 1 lives up to those expectations.
The plot in a nutshell [no spoilers here]. COOLIE NO. 1 tells the story of a porter / coolie Raj [Varun Dhawan], who falls in love with Sara [Sara Ali Khan]. However, her father [Paresh Rawal] is extremely keen that she marries a millionaire. The porter pretends to be a tycoon, but the cat is out of the bag soon. What happens next?
This one’s an updated version of Dhawan Sr’s COOLIE NO. 1 , which, in turn, was a remake of Tamil film CHINNA MAPILLAI . Dhawan Sr maintains the essence of the Hindi original — including some chartbusters — but sprinkles it with some fresh punches, to adapt to the current times.
Like most Dhawan Sr movies, COOLIE NO. 1 is a joyride laced with several outrageous situations. More of a fun-fest that’s aimed at pleasing the hardcore masses. The punches may seem frivolous, but what works is the chemistry between Varun and Paresh. That’s the prime reason why the proceedings work for most parts.
Additionally, the actors that show up during the course of the journey [Johny Lever, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rajpal Yadav] enhance the funny moments. On the flip side, a few sequences look forced and could’ve been curtailed. Especially at the start of the second hour.
COOLIE NO.1 QUIZ- Varun Dhawan vs Sara Ali Khan- PAISA VASOOL fight Govinda David Dhawan
Dhawan Sr is in a familiar zone, hence it’s not much of an effort to get it right. The writing is wacky. Also, the witty one-liners make sure you have a constant smile on your face. The soundtrack is energetic and the idea to retain the original songs from the 1995 movie [‘Mirchi Lagi To’, ‘Husn Hain Suhana’] is a master stroke, since these are timeless melodies.
Varun glides into the character effortlessly. The role demands that he plays to the gallery and the actor follows the diktat. The act may come across loud and at times, he may be overstepping the boundaries, but it works well in a film of this genre. Matching Varun is Paresh Rawal, who is an absolute joy to watch. In fact, the comic timing of the two actors is fantastic.
Sara Ali Khan gets limited scope to prove her credentials. She is decent. Ditto for Shikha Talsania. The supporting characters — Sahil Vaid, Johny Lever, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rajpal Yadav and Manoj Joshi — fit their parts wonderfully.
On the whole, COOLIE NO. 1 is a typical David Dhawan entertainer — crazy, outrageous and over the top — but funny and entertaining. Sit back and enjoy this ride!