Reviewing the Reviews: Desi Boyz

28 Nov,2011

By Deepa Gahlot

 

David Dhawan’s son Rohit Dhawan makes his debut with a film about two London-based, recession-hit dudes who become male escorts with a peculiar (for that profession) no sex policy.  Yet, bevies of semi-dressed writhing babes pay good money just to see them… dance and in one instance, play cards.  Really!

 

The film with its mild dose of amusement and full on hokey-ness got between one-and-a-half to four stars-and as it usually happens, the audiences don’t know what to make of it.

 

DNA’s Soumyadipta Banerjee gives if two-and-a-half stars and writes, quite aptly, “This film is a nightmare for the thinking audience. People who are used to world cinema, parallel cinema or intellectual cinema will squirm in their seats as some of the critics did when we were watching a press show of the film. But they are not the audience this film is looking for.”

 

Rajeev Masand of IBNLive calls it a generic, indifferent comedy. “‘Desi Boyz’ borrows scenes from ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Back To School’, and ‘Fight Club’ even, but at its heart it’s not very different from Sajid Khan’s similarly unremarkable ‘Heyy Babyy’. Akshay Kumar and John Abraham perform earnestly and get a few moments to shine, but the gorgeous Deepika Padukone gets none. The greatest disservice, however, is done to Chitrangada Singh. Clothed in fancy designer togs, buried under pancake, and saddled with a thankless part, the actress is robbed of her smoldering presence, and homogenized into the mould of a typical Bollywood starlet.”

 

Surprisingly, Komal Nahta gives it a generous four stars and writes, “The best part of the screenplay is that it treats the subject of recession, break-up of friendship, heartbreak, and family drama in a light-hearted manner and keeps the audience entertained throughout.”

 

His trade mag counterpart Taran Adarsh is uncharacteristicly harsh with two stars. “Desi Boyz is a lot of fun as the male protagonists take to pleasing their female clientele. The first hour, frankly, is akin to a roller coaster ride with lots of fascinating developments unfolding at a feverish pace. The best part is that a tinge of realism [economic crisis] has been injected to the plot, which makes the motives appear convincing on screen. In fact, it’s pretty evident that this is not a no-brainer rom-com. But it’s the second half that does a complete somersault.”

 

Of course, three-and-a-half stars are expected from The Times Of India’s Nikhat Kazmi. She writes, “Desi Boyz goes beyond the fair sex. It makes everyone smile most of the while. The editing (Nitin Rokade) is seamless, bringing together the four principal actors’ individual charms into a collective space without crowding the canvas. To their credit every principal actor, and that includes Anupam Kher (playing Deepika Padukone’s zany dad) and Omi Vaidya (as her wimpy fiance) seems to get into the film’s vivacious frothy mood without letting the dark underbelly of the film be squandered in frivolity.”

 

In Hindustan Times, Mayank Shekhar is unimpressed. “One unrelated song follows another. You wonder why producers don’t just release albums with starry music videos instead. Why bother with a willfully moronic movie attempting to string a soundtrack together. Songs survive. Films rarely do. Filmmakers themselves don’t care enough about the characters. Why should the audience, so what’s the point?”

 

The Hindu’s Anuj Kumar writes, “The son of David Dhawan, who gave us some mindless comedies in the last decade before missing the trick, lives up to expectations. He has given us a sleek, upmarket version of what his father has been dishing out all these years. A cute orphan, a staple patriotic moment, a court-room climax and that at the end of the day, heroes can’t go morally wrong – it has all the chapters from Bollywood’s book of clichés but is packaged in the proverbial new bottle.”

 

India Today’s Kaveree Bamzai’ gives it a zero rating and rants, “Two men become male escorts but because they’re good Indian boys they don’t do sex. Every supposed female fantasy of men dressed as Dhoni and Yuvraj, firefighters, Tom Cruise from Top Gun and police officers is addressed in a series of songs which see Akshay Kumar and John Abraham jiggle their pelvis and shake their butts. These are Bollywood superstars? Watch them behaving like porn stars, flaunting their chests and their lack of acting talent in an assault on sense and sensibility.”

 

Shubhra Gupta goes with one star and sneers, “Dhawan Jr hasn’t learnt a lesson from Papa Dhawan on how to make you laugh in spite of you. He unleashes a Desi Boyz holding everything in spite. So a middle-aged star and another more than halfway there strip down and gyrate among equally underclothed women in song after song. The aforesaid Jerry (Kumar) and Nick (Abraham) are working as “male escorts”, you see, after recession took care of their jobs. Recession is a word that occurs most often in this film, followed closely by sex one way or the other. One of their rules, not surprisingly, is that they won’t sleep with these women. But then again, Jerry leaves a woman in the morning as she lovingly hands him a card saying “thanks for last night”.  Presumably he danced all night, around a bed?”

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