Reviewing the Reviews: Rascals

10 Oct,2011

Rascals

Key cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Kangana Ranaut, Lisa Haydon

Written by: Yunus Sajawal

Directed by: David Dhawan

Produced by: Sanjay Dutt, Sanjay Ahluwalia, Vinay Choksey

 

Nobody expects masterpieces of comedy from David Dhawan, but now, more often than not his films are what would be called in Mumbai slang thakela (tired). The idea of Rascals is overused and in the hands of the two lead actors who have done better comedy before—Sanjay Dutt in the Munnabhai films, Ajay Devgan in the Golmaal series, it is quite disconcerting– more so when a large part of their comic antics involve pawing the much younger and very under-dressed leading ladies Kangana Ranaut and Lisa Haydon.

Most critics panned the film with one or one and a half stars. Only Taran Adarsh of bollywoodhungama.com found it worthy of three and a half. He writes, “Be forewarned. Rascals is strictly for the hoi polloi, those who relish masala entertainers with glee, those with an appetite for movies that transport them to a different world in those hours spent in the dark auditorium, those who swear by movies that defy logic, motive and intellect. Do you think you fit into this description of a moviegoer? If you do, Rascals is just for you.” A backhanded rave, sounds like.

Sukanya Verma of rediff.com finds it “lame” but still gives it a generous two and a half. “Recycling paper is nice. Recycling movies? Now that’s plain lame. But director David Dhawan has never been the discerning sort. He painstakingly built his brand around cheesy, slapstick wit, resolutely steering clear of logic, relying on spontaneity and a cast skilled in comedy to accomplish the shtick to which his coterie of writers like Rumi Jaffrey, Anees Bazmee, Sanjay Chhel, Kader Khan and Yunus Sajawal have contributed immensely.…Rascals, with no structure or motive, cannot (rather does not even try to) conceal its desperation to make itself funny. And this insecurity shows in each and every gag.” Then why the higher rating?

Anyway, Mayank Shekhar of the Hindustan Times goes with one star and cribs, “No one minds mindless movies. They come with known caveats: leave your brains behind, as they say. It may be hard to tell what your brains would do, alone at home. Replacing the hollow space between your ears with some hilarious stuff may not be a bad idea still. The unconnected, unfunny skits here offer you none of that relief. You just feel brain-dead instead.”

Rajeev Masand of IBNlive is understandably caustic. “David Dhawan, who’s no purveyor of good taste, plumbs new depths of crassness with this expectedly insensitive film that’s so short on real jokes that it makes light of everything from starving orphans in Somalia to the physically handicapped….The laughter, if it was ever intended in the film, is strictly incidental. The gags in the movie are so stale and tasteless and the situational comedy so devoid of any kind of originality or freshness, you wonder if David Dhawan just made this unfunny comedy to please his friends who play the major roles in the film.”

Manisha Lakhe, writing in DNA sounds anguished, “Surely smashing your toes by a hammer would be more entertaining. Invest in that hammer instead of buying a movie ticket. And please sign an online petition that will prevent David Dhawan from remaking Chupke Chupke.”

Gaurav Malani of TOI online writes, “Rascals is what one can call a ‘vacation’ filmmaking stint where everyone works on the film as if they were on a ‘holiday’ and the audience is expected to ‘leave’ their senses behind. The actors make least efforts to add conviction to their performances and the patchy writing just allows them to play as they please. Invariably the director tries to camouflage the shallowness in the story by adding depth only in the decibel levels of the dialogue delivery.”

In Outlook, Namrata Joshi commenting on the actors, writes, “Kangna makes a grand entry in a white bikini, goes on to wear assorted minis, shrieks, displays her shapely legs and cleavage and shows off her inability to pronounce difficult words like ‘congratulations’. Ajay goes loud, Sanjay sports multi-coloured shirts and Arjun looks perpetually flustered. The climax whimpers, is utterly clumsy and needlessly protracted, as though Dhawan forgot he needed to wrap up what he’d wrought. Let alone laugh, I could barely manage a smile through ‘Trashcals’ (oops!)”

There’s more of the same across publications. Clearly David Dhawan needs a sabbatical.

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