Say what you will about Dostana, but one thing's for certain...The entire cast had a blast filming this!!!
And why wouldn't they? Abhishek, comfortable with his own sexuality (Here's one man who doesn't care what anybody thinks about this film or him in it: He's laughing all the way home to the "Most Beautiful Woman In the World"), had no qualms about getting cozy with John Abraham. John, looking better than ever (Don't worry, we'll talk more about this later), seemed just as relaxed, soaring above my expectations for him in a comedic role. And Priyanka, though still lacking the fire her good looks command, had every reason to smile through the entire 142 minutes of the film--I'd be smiling too if I had Abhishek on my left and John on my right! Add to the mix Kirron Kher in a perfectly cast role (She's always perfectly cast as a mother, I know, but remarkably so for this one), normally boring Bobby Deol showing he does have a sense of humor, and several cute filmi goodies scattered about, and you've got a pretty fun timepass.
If you're not familiar with Dostana's plot, let me fill you in (Because I know you've seen the promos). Sameer (Abhishek Bachchan) is a male nurse (what is it about a man having this profession that guarantees instant snickers and giggles? Its 2009, for crying out loud!). Kunal (John Abraham) is a photographer. Both appear to be enjoying bachelorhood--especially Kunal (Surprised? Didn't think so). After a chance meeting,Sameer and Kunal continue to bump into one another, with crazy coincidences landing them both in line to rent dual rooms in a beautiful Miami apartment. Because the third room is occupied by the her niece, Neha, the landlord announces she will only accept women tenants. Naturally, Kunal and Sameer concoct an outlandish plan to get her to reconsider. They decide to pose as a gay couple, in hopes of convincing the landlord that they will not be a threat to her niece.
Seem farfetched? Well, it sort of is. A lot of this stuff happens rather quickly and unbelievably. I mean, yeah, its a great apartment, but who would go along with a lie that requires so much work to maintain...just for a stupid room. How many apartments are there in Miami? Come on. Remember, the boys decide on this plan before they even lay eyes on Neha. And, of course, once they do...
Well, lets just say its Priyanka Chopra. Obivously, now the guys are hooked...and the games begin!
The rest of the film is a good time, though not as funny as I expected. I mean, the guys did a grrreat job, but I think the screenwriters could have used their hilarious chemistry more. Abhishek and John appeared to really enjoy working with one another, and I'm sure they had tons of fun on the set. As far as I know, this was a very different role for both of them, one they pulled off effortlessly. As a matter of fact, they seemed capable of pushing the envelope even further for the sake of a few good laughs, but for some reason the film held out. I wished we would have gotten more scenes with the two of them clowning around...Not to mention a complete song featuring them dancing in those black tuxes. Oh, well. I can't really complain too much because the film still worked, mostly thanks to them.
Abhishek, who's impressed me before as a funny guy, was missing some of the goofiness he had in Bunty Aur Babli or Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. But that wasn't his fault--his character was a little on the low key side and not written to be as far out as Bunty or Rishi in those films. Still, he shined most here when sharing screentime with John.
And, of course, watching John onscreen was like being fed eye candy through an IV. No question about it--he brought the Pretty Boy back! I really have to say, this performance was the best I've seen from him. His looks fit the part, he seemed to be enjoying himself, and he was actually good at being funny! Looks like he's found his niche...Playboy bachelor who lies about his sexuality...Hmm, sounds like a few guys I know!
Piggy Chops (A name I hate for her) turned out another average performance as Neha, which was disappointing (C'mon, Priyanka, let's kick it in gear-you're one of the hottest chicks in Bollywood!). I think the only performance of hers I've been semi-satisfied with was her role in Salaam-E-Ishq. I don't mean to be hard on the poor girl, but geez, I've seen her exude more personality on a Koffee with Karan episode! But, to her credit, she didn't do an awful job and was at her very best when onscreen with John and Abhishek (Although, I can't blame her--I'd be happiest when working with them, too!). Still, I feel like I always get less than I expect from her, and its frustrating--can't help but wonder what Preity Zinta would have been like in this role instead. Oh, well...I just bought Fashion recently so here's hoping.
I'm sure you can guess that both Kunal and Sameer fall in love with Neha (Obviously a problem since she thinks they're both gay). Add to the mix Neha's boss (Bobby Deol) who also has the hots for her, and you've got a nice little quadrangle that could shake this happy household to the core.
In a quest to win Neha's heart, Sameer and Kunal simultaneusly try to woo her with little romantic gestures and even each take her out on a "date". Of course, since the three of them have become the best of friends, nothing about the guys' attention feels unnatural to Neha, and she goes along with it all, never suspecting either of them could actually be straight--much less in love with her.
Sameer rents out a carnival for his date. The two spend the evening laughing and frolicking on the rides like children, and he closes the night with a gift: A scrapbook he's put together in honor of their friendship. Oddly enough, Kunal is absent from all of the photos! Wouldn't that have been a red flag for Neha? Oh, I know he's the photographer, but still...they make tripods for that stuff. Anyways, the point is, the two had zero spark together, which I found surprising. I'd heard once that Abhishek had a real life crush on Priyanka in the past, so I was hoping for some traces of that to show. I mean, I know he's married now, but c'mon, guys, work is work! Give us something that would make Ash green with envy! Ok, I'm totally kidding, but seriously, these two had nothing. Maybe it was the annoyingly bland English tune playing in the background, but...let's just say I have no plans to see Drona.
Onto Kunal and Neha's date. First of all, whether he was straight or not, a date with John Abraham alone would make me swoon. But a candelight dinner followed by a widescreen viewing of "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"? Are you serious??!!Marry me now, Kunal!!
Not to mention the fact that Kunal and Neha reenacted my cherished gazebo scene. Aww...It didn't matter that Priyanka lacked Kajol's expressiveness or that Kunal wasn't as charasmatic as SRK. It wasn't meant to be as good as the original, anyways--this was all just for fun! And I, for one, welcomed the inclusion! Kjo, you can mention KKHH as much as you want--yes, its a little self-indulgent, but I don't mind(Speaking of which, there's also a reference to "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" in the film that had me laughing out loud)!
I can't tell you who I was rooting for at this point. I mean, the film didn't really show a preference for Neha/Sameer or Neha/Kunal so I honestly didn't know who she would end up with--if anyone. Of course, the real chemistry of the film belonged to Kunal and Sameer, but I'll admit that I still cared about Neha's fate, too. Would she fall for Sameer's sweetness? Or Kunal's charm? Or would it be a draw and go to Bobby Deol's dry character? You'll have to watch Dostana to find out!
I do have to mention, however, the two glaring problems in the film. First of all, the bland music--Dostana's tunes lacked the catchiness and originality that we can usually expect from a Karan Johar film. Instead, we got mediocre songs with boring picturizations. The best the film had to offer was the semi-catchy opening tune starring Shilpa Shetty in a smoking hot cameo (I know I've questioned this woman's sex appeal before, and I hereby take it all back--she's got it going on!), and an extremely dance-able closing song which I've included
Ahh, this really was a great song...Now here's the goofiness I longed to see in Abhishek during the film! And Priyanka's working it, looking better than she did in any of the other songs. And John...well, John's just looking hot. Again.
The second major complaint was the gay stereotypes the film seems to embrace, somewhat offensively. I took this with a grain of salt--Seriously, can we expect anything less than ignorance from Karan Johar? The man has never been the most tactful on his own show...why would he start now? But it was pretty irritating, in particular the way the writer's depicted "every" gay man as walking and speaking a certain way. Also, the assumption that "every" gay man would automatically be attracted to "every" other gay man bugged me. If you find any of this directly offensive, I would either advise you to stay away from Dostana or to consider the source.
Aside from its missteps, I did enjoy watching this. I don't think I've ever labeled a film as "a decent timepass" before. But if there's one that deserves the title, it's definitely Dostana. Though its not nearly as good as any of the other Karan Johar films I've seen (yep, I'll admit that I do like most of them), its still worth the time just to see John, Abhishek, and even Priyanka having a ball! Go into it with little expectations and you'll likely have some fun, too!