When you think of Kundan Shah, memories of the truly funny JAANE BHI DO YAARO, the likeable KABHI HAAN KABHI NAA and the bold and sensitive KYA KEHNA cross your mind.
Kundan's latest endeavour EK SE BADHKAR EK promises '501 laughs' [that's what the posters claim!], but what you get in turn are barely a few enjoyable moments. Yes, a few sequences do bring a smile on your face, but they aren't enough. This time around, Kundan is saddled with a half-baked script!
A gardener's son Rahul [Suniel Shetty] inherits Rs. 400 crores when a wealthy millionaire passes away. But Rahul cannot inherit it simply because a clause in the will states that he must prove himself as the most dreaded don of the city.
The will has been drafted by Anand [Shekhar Suman], who soon realizes his folly and comes up with a novel idea: Rahul must actually become a don to inherit the fortune!
Rahul's neighbour happens to be a police officer, Kanchan [Raveena Tandon], who aspires to nab the biggest don in the city, thereby proving to be the worthy daughter of an illustrious father.
After their initial scuffle, Rahul and Kanchan reach an understanding: Kanchan will get Rahul an entry into the world of crime. In turn, Rahul must help her with information about the underworld. They also come to an agreement that their relationship would be strictly platonic, with no strings attached.
The story takes a turn when Kanchan gets to know that the most-wanted criminal Jindaal [Gulshan Grover] plans to kidnap nuclear scientist Krishnamurthy [Makrand Deshpande]. Tracy [Isha Koppikar], who works for a secret organization, is also hatching a plot to kidnap the scientist.
However, Rahul ends up kidnapping Jindaal, assuming him to be the scientist. The climax gets complicated when two look-alikes of the scientist surface and create pandemonium.
EK SE BADHKAR EK is a preposterous comedy that emphasizes on light moments. With a bizarre plot on your hand, all you need to do is come up with several wacky and outlandish ideas to make a 2.30-hour caper.
But in an effort to make a laughathon, EK SE BADHKAR EK gets asinine in the process, thereby making it look absolutely outlandish. Barring a few jokes that are truly funny - the scene in the club when Raveena challenges Suniel to fight the don, Deepak Shirke and the sequence when Gulshan Grover eliminates his henchmen to increase his tally of murders - there are times when the viewer feels exasperated. The jokes simply fall flat!
EK SE BADHKAR EK runs out of steam by the time it reaches the finale. The look-alike factor gets so confusing that instead of raising peels of laughter, it brings a frown on your face. The conclusion is also abrupt and seems like a rushed job, with the two men suddenly expressing the love for their girl-friends.
Director Kundan Shah is not in form this time around. Partly because the film has taken a real long time to make and also because some of the actors don't have the timing for comedy. Music is also a negative aspect. In fact, the film could've done without three/four songs. They seem like a stumbling block in the narrative. Cinematography is inconsistent. Dialogues are witty.
Suniel Shetty tries hard to act. Shekhar Suman is lively, coming up with one-liners effortlessly. The gifted actor needs to do more films! Raveena Tandon is effectual in a few scenes, but mechanical otherwise. Isha Koppikar lacks the power to carry off the role.
Amongst character actors, Gulshan Grover is most efficient. Sadashiv Amrapurkar does his part quite well, while Shakti Kapoor is wasted in an insignificant role. Deepak Shirke does manage to make you laugh. Makrand Deshpande looks disinterested. Asrani is first-rate. Rana Jung Bahadur and Vivek Shauq support well, although the Indo-Pak angle in the story seems ludicrous.
On the whole, EK SE BADHKAR EK is no Number Ek entertainer. It falls short of expectations and at best, might appeal to a small segment of audience in metros mainly. Its lackluster start will only prove a hindrance, despite its reasonable price!