Back in the ‘90s when weekends were still fun and homework was a thing, it was a fun Sunday when there was a David Dhawan and Govinda film playing on the TV. The OG Coolie No 1 was so damn funny, despite its logical loopholes and some shameless suspension of disbelief. The plot doesn’t really matter but if you insist, here it is. A “lowly” shaadi ka Pandit (Javed Jaaferi) decides to avenge his insult by a millionaire Jeffrey Rozario (Paresh Rawal), who’s looking for a rich husband for his daughter Sara (Sara Ali Khan). Pandit decides to lure Rozario with a fake rich son-in-law, who’s really a “maamooli” coolie, apna Coolie No1 (Varun Dhawan). Then the plot just goes wherever it sees the funnies.
The script has been tweaked for the better so that’s nice
Firstly, the opening sequence is quite sweet and adds a little context to why Raju is an orphan or why Deepak (Sahil Vaid), his best friend, is so dedicated to him. In the original, there was one “why…why would they do that” moment too many. However, the script does try to cement those holes, albeit with the David Dhawan brand of logic. But it works and it does make the story more put together and enjoyable, ngl. The characters are also more polished and the actors can contribute more to the film.
The cast holds its own against the original…most of them anyway
From a brief cameo by Rakesh Bedi to getting Rajpal Yadav and Johny Lever on board, Coolie No 1 has taken some good casting calls. Paresh Rawal fills Kader Khan’s shoes quite well and Javed Jaffrey is fun in his short role. You obviously miss Govinda’s unparalleled improv (or at least improv-seeming) muttering of a line here and there and his immaculate comic timing that made you pause that VHS till you could catch your breath but Varun Dhawan is not bad at all. Dhawan has given into the unbridled silliness that is needed to write, make, act in, and watch such a film. You have to admit that’s not half bad. Sara Ali Khan looked pretty.
The aforementioned suspension of disbelief is real
Oh this needs to be elaborated. As we mentioned earlier, go for the humor and not for the logic. Carry a “Yeh bhi theek hai” attitude when you press play and you will have a fun ride. Gather all your silly friends, call for some pizza, and play Coolie No 1. That’s a good plan.
The songs deserve a couple of lines of their own
Songs from Govinda films may not be on your playlist today but if you were to listen to it in a rickshaw randomly, you’d have fun with it don’t even lie. However, you can totally forward the songs except maybe the two originals that the film retains. Again, Sara Ali Khan looks pretty.
WATCH OR NOT
If we are being honest, you should definitely give it a try if you like the original. It’s slightly different and fairly funny. The cast is impressive and the film wraps up in a peaceful and tidy little bundle towards the end, which may not be “realistic” but has its own merits, especially as this wretched year ends. Merry Christmas!