Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty return today with All The Best. Their earlier offering –Golmaal and Golmaal Returns, happily showed the middle finger to critics and managed to make enough money to pump in for this third helping.
The team returns, bigger, bolder, brasher and sillier. Just what you may want for a festive weekend.
All The Best, starring Ajay Devgn, Fardeen Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu and Mugdha Godse, uses some very tried and tested formulae to evoke laughter and keep it going – mistaken identity, partners getting swapped, sprawling houses and lot of money at stake. Plus there’s plenty of car explosions and a band that comes in handy to accommodate a song with all the protagonists on stage.
To be honest, All the Best is quite an unpretentious film. It stakes no claim to high art, and you want to appreciate that. There is a space for Shahid Kapoor in Kaminey and there is also a space for the likes of Ajay Devgn and Sanjay Dutt, who seem to have successfully countered midlife career crises with some laugh lines.
Devgn has perfected his goofy act this time as Prem Chopra, the guy with plenty of creative ideas to bail out his friend Veer (Fardeen), who is always in the need of money. But one lie begets another and the foursome –Fardeen, Ajay, Bipasha and Mugdha- find themselves stumbling from one catastrophe to another, trying to put up a façade for Fardeen’s brother, Sanjay-moneybags-Dutt. There’s plenty of drama on the sides, with more laughs provided by Ashwini Kalsekar and Johnny Lever among the motley crew.
As said, this is Devgn’s film. Not only has he dropped the ‘a’ from his surname, he sports a designer beard, wears some cool graphic T-shirts, strips down to his red boxers, fights, kicks, drives some mean machines and messes things up royally. And as the mastermind behind the improbable scams, he evokes plenty of laughter in the theatre. Fardeen works well in comedies, we know that by now. Especially when he is the hapless, witless victim. Dutt throws his weight around, literally. Bipasha looks sexy but stiff- she could never get the comic timing right. Mugdha Godse, after carrying off a complex role proves she can handle slap stick too. Too bad she has precious little to do or say in the film.
Johnny Lever as the speech-impaired moneylender Tobu, is a delight to watch, while Ashwini Kalsekar’s Mary the maid, packs quite a punch. There are some scenes which are worth your money – the car race, Devgn’s attempts at keeping Sanjay Dutt away from his wife, and Johnny Lever’s ‘ice torture’ to name a few.
Shot in Goa, every frame of All The Best is a riot of storybook colors, with autumn Chinar leaves in Goa and water lilies in colors you never knew existed. Yes, plastic flowers grow in abundance – at airports, parks, homes, pools, churches. There are some picturesque Portuguese villas too and some vintage cars zipping around.
All The Best is fun to watch, but you also get the feeling that this is probably the last time you’d be laughing at these gags. Especially in the second half when things start to get a bit too repetitive.
But the good thing is, the film has the potential to entertain you, if you’re ok with letting go of your inhibitions. It is a formula which seems to be working, at least for now.
By Chandrima Pal