Boyz on the loose
Rohit Dhawan’s first feature film Desi Boyz is, well, Dhawanesque. Facile, derisive and preposterous, like all Hindi comedies of the genre David Dhawan, his father, pioneered in the 1990s. The only difference is that those films contained the worst kind of homophobic sentiments. Desi Boyz acknowledges, and even celebrates, homosexuality. There’s a scene where two men, of different age groups, smoke marijuana together, suspended on a plastic floating device in a swimming pool.
Besides this kind of forced “cool” quotient, Desi Boyz has a few knee-slapping funny moments, which makes it a shade better than the mindless comedies of Bollywood. But it is not an entirely tolerable film.
It’s 2009 London. Best friends Jerry Patel (Akshay Kumar) and Nick Mathur (John Abraham) lose their jobs to the economic meltdown. Jerry is uneducated, lives with Nick and is entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of his orphaned nephew. Nick, a banker, is engaged to Radhika (Deepika Padukone), and is overwhelmed by the idea of an exotic honeymoon and a mansion in London. Jerry and Radhika don’t like each other. Jerry even tells Nick, albeit jokingly, that he would be better off marrying him. Jerry later meets his match, a sultry economics professor, Tanya (Chitrangda Singh), who teaches at Trinity College. Faced with financial pressures, Nick and Jerry end up with lucrative jobs as escorts, in an escorts company run by a nameless, tattooed hulk (Sanjay Dutt).
The film tethers in the cracks of soft musical porn and soppy drama. The camerawork and editing are mediocre, resorting to banal fast motion sequences and freeze-frames. While the film looks big, its bigness is banal. Omi Vaidya, who has a cameo as a nerd suitor for Radhika and is the target of Nick’s ire, delivers a well-timed comic performance. Abraham’s bare chest is possibly the only weak antidote to his flat performance—not a shade better than how we’ve seen him in his earlier roles. Kumar has some comic moments, but overall he can’t do anything to lift an already predictable script. Padukone and Singh are peripheral characters, as in all films of this genre, and their performances begin and end with looking good. Singh’s laboured act of combining the cerebral and the sexual stands out sorely.
Clips from Desi Boyz, certainly those in which the two men are dancing in elaborately designed nightclubs, punctuated by frozen champagne fountains and red, pouted lips, may well scream cool at the “desi” dance clubs of Times Square and Southall, but at the theatres, this film is a waste of your time.
Desi Boyz released in theatres on Friday.