I agree with the fact that David Dhawan’s films have always had this loud nature in them, and with actors like Govinda, there was a period where that style worked immensely. But the one question that pops up in your head from the very beginning of the brand new version of Coolie No. 1 is a simple “why.” Coolie No. 1 is competing with movies like Humshakals and Race 3 in terms of taking the audience for granted.
Raju, our hero, is a porter. He is an orphan, and the fellow Coolies at the railway station are like his family. One day he sees the photo of a beautiful looking girl named Sarah and falls in love with her. A Pandit who wanted to take revenge on Sarah’s rich father plans a con operation, and he presented Raju as a rich prince. And very soon, Raju got married to Sarah. The series of lies that follow after this marriage in hiding the actual identity of Raju is what we see in the rest of the movie.
Yes, it is a slapstick comedy, and searching for logic is not ideal for enjoying this movie, and I get that. The “why” that I mentioned at the beginning of the review becomes relevant at this point. Barring the costumes, mobile phones, and celebrities’ names, there is absolutely no creative inclusion or improvement to this movie. I don’t have any vivid memories of the original starring Govinda. Still, I can confidently say that nobody needs to know the older version to call this Varun Dhawan version an utter crap. David Dhawan should have wrapped the project after taking Varun’s audition for this role.
The level of creative laziness in Coolie No. 1 can really irritate you. They seem to have improvised many of the scenes, but all of it just made it unbearably old school. The movie is so lazily made that they haven’t even tried to blend the direct OTT version’s interval point. There have been many debates off-late about how women were shown in the ’90s movies, and David Dhawan seems to have no plans to acknowledge those discussions. One can forget about physics if the filmmaker intends to provide some humor. But when you have absolute disregard for physics, even in serious or sentimental sequences, it becomes a test of patience. Ravi K Chandran’s cinematography is merely focusing on making the frames look rich in terms of colors and glossiness. The songs and action sequences in this movie have zero connection with the plot.
Except Judwa 2, I have seen all of Varun Dhawan’s performances, and this one was an absolute mess. It was like seeing a grown-up man acting like a child who is imitating actors like Govinda and Mithun Chakraborty and expecting us to clap. At times, Sarah Ali Khan looks like she is struggling to control her laughter as she knows the level of mediocrity of the scenes she is performing. Paresh Rawal is the next caricature here. Rajpal Yadav, Johnny Lever, and Javed Jaffrey are all here, but they can’t do anything to reduce the annoyance caused by Farhad Samji’s pun-driven dialogues.
Varun Dhawan might be a product of nepotism, but through movies like October, Badlapur, Humpty Sharma, Sui Dhaaga, etc., he has proved that he can be a solid actor and a star. I hope Coolie No.1 would become that wake-up call for him to respect the audience who has appreciated his talent over the years.
I hope Coolie No.1 would become that wake-up call for him to respect the audience who has appreciated his talent over the years.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended