Base Industries Group's AWARA PAAGAL DEEWANA, directed by Vikram Bhatt, is loosely inspired by the English flick THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.
A mafia don (Om Puri) leaves behind a will that creates a feud between Guru Gulab Khatri (Akshay Kumar), his son-in-law, and Vikrant (Rahul Dev), the don's son.
As per the will, diamonds worth millions of rupees, which have been kept in a U.S. bank locker, can be claimed if the three inheritors â€“ Guru Gulab Khatri, Vikrant and Preeti (Preeti Jhangiani), the don's daughter â€“ personally sign the papers.
Vikrant wrongly implicates Guru Gulab in an assassination case, which forces Guru Gulab to flee the country.
Guru Gulab reaches America, where his immediate neighbour is Anmol (Aftab Shivdasani), a doctor by profession. Around this time, Vikrant announces a cash reward to anyone who reveals Guru Gulab's whereabouts.
Anmol's greedy wife Mona (Amrita Arora) and mother-in-law (Supriya) force Anmol and Manilal (Paresh Rawal), the father-in-law, to meet Vikrant in India and inform him about Guru Gulab's whereabouts and collect the prize money.
But upon reaching India, Anmol and Manilal are picked up by Yeda Anna (Sunil Shetty) and Chhota Chhatri (Johny Lever), who are contract killers. What happens next?
AWARA PAAGAL DEEWANA is one of the most stylish thrillers attempted this side of the Pacific, with all sorts of jokes and slapstick thrown in to enliven the proceedings. A glossy product, it takes a step forward in terms of technique, but stagnates when it comes to the script.
To an extent, director Vikram Bhatt succeeds in his mission of making you laugh, even if logic takes a backseat and the wafer-thin storyline is stretched beyond a point in the second half.
Despite a half-baked script, the film holds your attention, in the first half mainly, for several reasons â€“
* One, the stunts (Philip Ko, Abbas Ali Moghul) are breath-taking, comparable to any international flick;
* Two, the film has a larger than life look â€“ the stars, the visuals (U.S., Spain, Muscat), the overall rich and glossy look;
* Three, the pleasant-sounding music (Anu Maliik) and the outstanding picturization of all songs;
* Four, the light sequences in the first half and the witty one-liners (Neeraj Vora);
* Five, the packaging of the film, the technique used, is a cut above the rest.
Director Vikram Bhatt and his team of writers (Anand Vardhan, Mangesh Kulkarni) succeed in arresting the viewer's attention in the first half of this enterprise.
Notable sequences â€“
The introduction of Akshay Kumar is spell-bindingâ€¦ The sequences between Paresh Rawal and Aftab Shivdasani, their interaction with the women of the house (Amrita Arora, Supriya) and later with Akshay Kumar, drive you wildâ€¦ Sunil Shetty's introduction (action) is nail-bitingâ€¦ Upon landing in India, the scenes between Paresh Rawal and Johny Lever are hilariousâ€¦ The interval point, when Akshay and Sunil join hands, catches you unawareâ€¦
Together with stylish execution and superb cinematography (Pravin Bhatt), the outcome leaves you thirsting for more.
But the film suffers in the post-interval portions, since it gives an impression that the writers were, perhaps, trying to package just about everything to woo the viewer. The outcome is tedious and not as exciting as the first half.
The blemishes â€“
The 'lookalike' track of Rahul Dev gets complicated and is difficult to digestâ€¦ The wife swapping â€“ Aftab's wife Amrita Arora teaming with Sunil Shetty, Akshay's wife Preeti finding true love in Aftab (although he does nothing to win her love!) â€“ is difficult to absorbâ€¦ After Rahul Dev's exit, the viewer feels that the film is likely to end, but with the two heroes (Akshay, Sunil) coming to blows, the climax loses its impact to a great extent.
Directorially, Vikram Bhatt shows a flair for light entertainers, but he's handicapped to an extent by the screenplay. Technically speaking, his shot execution is fantastic.
Anu Maliik's music is of a hit quality. The songs are tuneful and the best part is, they come at the right places, complimenting the goings-on. Although difficult to choose, since all the songs are striking, 'Feenak, Ya Habibi Feenak' stands out due to its snazzy picturisation. The choreography of all songs (Ahmed Khan), in particular this number, is remarkable.
Special mention must be made of the witty one-liners penned by Neeraj Vora. This is amongst his best works to date. Those delivered by Paresh Rawal and Johny Lever are sure to bring the house down. The cinematography, stunts (Akshay and Sunil's separate introductions, and the car stunts in the climax deserve all the marks!) and choreography of songs (Ahmed Khan) are top class.
Producer Firoz A. Nadiadwala has spent lavishly and the results are eye-filling. The production values are simply grand.
And now to the performances!
AWARA PAAGAL DEEWANA undoubtedly belongs to Paresh Rawal, who is unbeatable when it comes to comedy. He contributes enormously to some of the best moments of the film. The role of a henpecked husband is sure to win him awards, accolades and plaudits.
Akshay Kumar is proficient, enacting his role with ?n. Sunil Shetty is not as convincing, mainly because the screenplay doesn't offer him enough scope. Aftab Shivdasani is alright. Johny Lever is superb. His scenes with Paresh Rawal and Aftab are thoroughly enjoyable.
The three leading ladies â€“ Preeti Jhangiani, Amrita Arora and Aarti Chhabria â€“ add glamour to the proceedings. However, they get no scope to display histrionics. Supriya is first-rate. Rahul Dev leaves a mark.
On the whole, AWARA PAAGAL DEEWANA has an excellent first half, but a just-about-okay second half. From the box-office point of view, the fabulous stunts, excellent music and an aggressive promotion will help the film reach the safety mark. Business in metros should prove to be the best. Well worth a watch!