I was expecting huge laughs. I was expecting over the top performances. I was expecting an unexpected love story. What I got was a little of each.

Dostana is the story of two men, Sameer (Abhishek Bachchan) and Kunal (John Abraham), who bump into each other while heading to rent the same apartment owned by Neha (Priyanka Chopra). However, their inquiries are rebuffed because they do not meet the criteria laid out by the owner's Auntie - no men allowed. Sameer gets an idea when they are mistaken for a 'couple' that if Kunal and he pretend to be gay lovers, then the owner will agree to let them stay. Kunal initially refuses, but agrees out of desperation. Their plan works and they move in. Over a period of time Neha, Kunal, and Sameer become good friends, hanging out together and having fun. Here's is when the traditional love triangle would happen, but is thwarted with the introduction of a 4th party, Abhimanyu Singh (Bobby Deol). We find competing friends join forces to thwart Abhimanyu and Neha's budding relationship and we end up with, probably not the ending you really wanted, but the only one that I could see being feasible.

Abhishek is the pick of the actors, no doubt about it. Called on to play an over-the-top pink-loving straight man, who, let's be honest, seems far too interested in pretending to be gay. Bachchan hits the nail on the head as he stays over the top and ends up being exceptionally enjoyable. Clearly an actor who likes getting under the skin of his character, this is a role that calls for much self-deprecation and abashment, and Bachchan embraces both quite well.

Though I think Abhishek was the shining star, you have to give John Abraham his kudos, if for nothing else but his fantastic physique which has the power in and of itself to successfully convert the oblivious into a Bollywood fan. Both Abhishek and John compliment each other so well. In fact, had the chemistry and camaraderie been missing, the story would've failed to look convincing.

While I think the boys were the stars, I can't forget to give a little bit of credit to Priyanka Chopra, who is stunning, albeit completely blind, as Neha. I mean, if anyone of my male "friends" ever gave me such a beautiful gift as the album Sameer gives her... wait a minute, I don't think I know any straight men that would do that. Perhaps that was totally in character after all. Kirron Kher is absolutely hilarious in her portrayal of Sameer's shocked, over the top and ultimately accepting mother. The scene in which she welcomes Kunal into the family is definitely a heart warming one. While he looked the best I have ever seen him, Bobby Deol's Abhimanyu character simply felt like an afterthought to me.

I found it amusing to see director Tarun Mansukhani paying tribute to his mentor and Dostana producer Karan Johar at every place possible even going to the extent of making John & Priyanka act out a scene from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (though I was more interested at this point in watching Shah Rukh and Kajol dance than Kunal & Neha).

Vishal-Shekhar's music goes well with the mood of the film. It's young, peppy and energetic. Although none of the tunes make it to my top 10 (or even 25), 'Desi Girl', 'Maa Da Laadla Bigad Gaya,' and even 'Shout up & Bounce' are all foot-tapping compositions.

This movie has been hailed as everything from daringly fresh, with it's light & frothy take on homosexuality, though not without the stereotypical caricatures, to being genuinely entertaining while setting the gay rights movement in India back at least a decade. I, for one, found it pretty damned funny. Everyone learns a lesson about tolerance without actually embracing an alternative lifestyle, and any movie that can hoodwink two of today's most macho movie studs into a full-on smooch that doesn't disintegrate into slapstick gay panic is venturing into risky territory.

4 Response to "Dostana"

  1. bollywooddeewana says:
    April 28, 2009 at 10:31 PM

    Hmmm, i really remember loving this movie when i saw it at the cinema and everyone was calling it the gay bollywood movie, however as you've said it probabaly set the gay rights movement in India back by 10 years. One bit that really annoyed me and that i rant about so much is that last kiss at the end, the fussing and uhh's and screwed up faces i felt added to the line of thought that a kiss between two guys is disgusting, the fact they even faked it came across a little homophobic, although perhaps unintentionally so

    I liked the songs of the film particularly 'Jaane Kyun', it makes me feel upbeat :0)

  2. shell says:
    April 29, 2009 at 6:34 AM

    bollywooddeewana - I totally forgot about 'Jaane Kyun', which I think is a terrific song.

    I always think that you should go with your first gut reaction to movies, and, though I really enjoy doing the reviews, I find that I sometimes overanalyze, picking apart a movie that I immensely enjoyed while I was watching it.

  3. Jules says:
    April 30, 2009 at 9:44 PM

    I thought it was FUNNNNNY! I loved it. I think we (being part of the North American Continent) have been far more exposed to this type of subject matter in movies, so for us it's not really all that shocking anymore. I guess it's different in India, still. If only families got past the prejudices of gays as quickly as the Mom did in this movie... have to say, her witch doctor stuff was amusing though!

    I thought that the songs were upbeat but sort of strange... still had all of us tapping our toes though!

  4. shell says:
    May 1, 2009 at 6:39 AM

    Jules - I think you are right on the mark with that. Also, what do you mean strange? You were laughing your ass off at Desi Girl!