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Review: 'Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal' lacks pace, humour

Review: 'Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal' lacks pace, humour

Shreyas tries hard but the director's intention of showing too many things in a limited period mars his chances.

Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Nana Patekar, Madhurima, Sona Nair, Om Puri, Paresh Rawal, Neeraj Vora

Director: Priyadarshan

If Priyadarshan’s earlier ‘comedy of errors’ left you wanting for more then you’re in for some ‘serious’ fun in ‘Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal’. The film has borrowed its theme and basic premise from a Malayalam film ‘Marykkundoru Kunjaadu’ but somehow the comic elements remained with the original only.

‘KDM’ is about two friends and their rivalry, a hopeless lover, a hungry criminal, over protective brothers, a scheming goon, a fashionable village girl…it’s indeed difficult to find the central theme of the film. At the first glance, ‘KDM’ seems to be the story of a coward village boy Johny (Shreyas Talpade) who is in love with a shrewd man Peter’s (Paresh Rawal) daughter Maria (Madhurima), but then slowly and steadily so many characters take the center-stage that one gets confused about the real protagonist of the story.

David aka Ghanta Singh (Om Puri) and peter were best friends till Peter’s girlfriend Maria (Sona Nair) decides to marry David. Peter is determined to take its revenge and thus his muscular sons keep beating Johny aka Bakri, who likes Peter’s daughter Maria, every now and then.

The super sad life of Johny becomes vibrant when a stranger Sam aka Kallu (Nana Patekar) starts living with his family. This Kallu guy eats a lot but Johny keeps feeding him in exchange of his protection from Madhurima’s brothers. However, a sudden turn of events hints that there are a lot of strange things about Kallu that the villagers need to know.

The primary storyline is flawed. The writer takes at least one hour to establish the inefficiencies imbibed in Shreyas Talpade’s character and then we realise that the film has become centered on some other character. The set-up is similar to ‘Malamaal Weekly’ and some other Priyadarshan films but it lacks the coherence this time. There are attempts to provide the backstories of the major characters but they operate on different islands which restricts one character from connecting to the other. It’s not like that the screenplay writer hasn’t tried to give the answers to probable questions, but they come at such points where the audience would guess them anyway.

Unlike other Priyadarshan films, ‘KDM’ spoon feeds the viewers. Neeraj Vora comes handy in this situation who repeats the same punch line at least thrice.

Probably characterisation needed a little more attention. Nana Patekar’s eating habits generate repulsion more than genuine laughter. He is shown as Om Puri’s son, which is a bit hard to digest, mostly because of the image baggage these actors carry. Nana is either eating or digging the farm in ‘KDM’, sometimes he does weird gestures which are difficult to understand.

Confusions are meant to bring smiles in Priyadarshan’s films but jokes fall flat in ‘KDM’. Shreyas Talpade’s worries about Nana Patekar’s integrity are so lame and un-enthusiastically shot that the spectator starts to doubt his own eyes.

Sona Nair chews words before uttering them. She looks like a typical motherly figure and suits the character but finds it hard to match up to Om Puri’s ‘shuddh’ Hindi.

Madhurima’s brothers are the caricatures of traditional village goons and they seem to be forced at times. Other characteristic actors of Priyadarshan’s films are there to fill the slots; none of them does anything new.

Madhurima appears to understand her limits too well and doesn’t go beyond looking good and dancing stylishly. She was given a good role but she fails to utilise the chance to the optimum. However, she looks confident on the screen and can do better in future.

Paresh Rawal is the pick of the actors. His relaxed dialogue delivery makes him believable and enjoyable.

Shreyas tries hard but the director’s intention of showing too many things in a limited period mars his chances. He is so repetitive that the audience stops expecting anything from him towards the climax. In fact, Anjana Sukhani’s item number is the biggest monotony breaker of the film.

The camera department has put soul in the songs. Some of the shots are breath-taking and imaginative. The scenic beauty of the locales looks poster perfect in ‘Dariya ho’.

The film shies away from delivering a distinct political and cultural message. It doesn’t even try to propagate a philosophy which is a trademark of Priyadarshan’s earlier acclaimed films, but he should be praised for showcasing a rural setup (How many village based films we see in a year?). At least, he is featuring the lives of people who form the major chunk of Indian population.

The storyteller’s biggest problem in ‘KDM’ is his too much dependency on the actors rather than the characters. He could instruct the actors but ultimately the situations will be enacted by the people who are in front of the camera. Had he focussed more on elevating a concrete conflict line, ‘Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal’ would have become a better film.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.