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In De Dana Dan Johnny Lever plays a hitman named Kala. He sits down in a coffee shop and introduces himself to someone: "hello, I’m Kala. The guys says: toh maine kab bola gora hai. This low-IQ, college canteen humour made me laugh, and it is as good as it gets in the film. The movie starts out funny but gradually becomes more and more exhausting. The film sticks to what seems to have become the standard formula for Bollywood comedies. Many characters with different agendas get together in one location. What follows is misunderstood identities, slaps, Tom and Jerry style chases and cartoonish violence. You recall Daddy Cool, Do Knot Disturb, All the Best – De Dana Dan is one more from that school of laughter. Akshay Kumar, the reason this film got made, plays Nitin, a glorified servant who works for someone called Singapore’s Cruella de Ville, playted by Archana Puran Singh. The only thing she loves is money and her dog named Moolchand ji. Nitin who is poor is desperate and kidnaps the dog hoping to get rich on the ransom but Moolchand ji is smarter. The dog escapes and the police believe that Nitin is the victim. There are around 22 characters in the film and soon every one lands up in a hotel. The hotel must have given rooms and shooting premises for free because the camera seems to pan to its name and exterior façade between every shot. And of course, the slaps, chases and violence that I mentioned follow. Some of this strictly low-brow humour is fun. Akshay, in full throttle, energises the lame scenes and keeps the momentum going for the first half. But in the second, he does a disappearing act. He gets shut in a cupboard and the film goes into free-fall. We see Shakti Kapoor attempting to bed Neha Duphia who in turn attempts to bed Vikram Gokhale. Meanwhile, Johnny Lever is trying to kill the wrong man; lots of money is being tossed around in suitcases, everybody screams and there is a wedding in progress. The film gets more tedious as the plot gets more convoluted and by the climax, in which everyone floats around as the hotel gets flooded, I could barely keep my eyes open. The humour is so labored that I felt like someone was beating me to laugh. And I finally understood why the credits in many Priyadarshan films say filmed by Priyadarshan instead of directed by Priyadarshan. Because there is little sense that someone is actually directing this circus. It feels like the actors are in a free-for all and a camera is filming the chaos. Cast: Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal, Sameera Reddy Director: Priyadarshan In our school days we were taught nonsense rhymes that were incoherent, jumbled words strung together trendily. "De Dana Dan" is a 150-minute-long nonsense rhyme. Its power to mock every rule of sensible and intelligent filmmaking simply infuriates and exasperates you to a point of complete breakdown of communication between cinema and art. The characters are fairly funny to begin with. Akshay Kumar as Archana Puran Singh's slave-cum-driver is the portrait of anguished hilarity. He brings to his part of the servile toy-boy a kind of facile fury that flaunts an easygoing sense of self-deprecating comedy. Suniel Shetty as Akshay's partner in the nonsense rhyme scheme seems to enjoy the comicality initially...At least he's relaxed until the frames begin to fill up with more characters than Noah's Ark and the spaceship invented to save mankind in Roland Emmerich's "2012" combined. There are more characters romping in confusion in "De Dena Dan" than in any of Priyadarshan's over-crowded comedies. Two marriageable women (Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy) with secret lovers, their harassed fathers, Tinu Anand and Manoj Joshi, an avaricious father-in-law-to-be (Paresh Rawal) and his son (Chunky Pandey), a tart (Neha Dhupia) willing to sleep with anyone who pays. And that includes poor Vikram Gokhale who looks out of place in the boisterous goings-on. "De Dana Dan" is like a jabbering juggernaut hurling with its fast-talking, constantly-moving army of characters into a region of utter chaos. The screenplay throws forward a gaggle of incoherent gags, which suggest that the melee of characters is more distressed by their financial than emotional condition in life. Soon we, the audience, cease to figure out what the characters are up to or how they are inter-related, if at all. Just go with the flow. At times, literally because at the climax we have the characters swimming and spluttering in a flood of water let loose from a bombed terrace tank in a luxury hotel. Who planted the bomb? Is it the funny hitman Johnny Lever? Or the funnier assassin Asrani roaming around the hotel trying to hard sell a corpse in a coffin? All this, mind it, is supposed to be the summit of hilarity. The jokes depend almost entirely on the actors' ability to say the atrocious lines as though they mean it. Some like Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal succeed. Others don't. At the end of the day, this comedy of incredible mistaken identities and monstrous errors of judgement coaches us on the meaning of 'slapstick'...literally. Everyone slaps the person closest to him or her regardless of the reason or the repercussion. Zany or just plain witless? You decide. If this is the present and future of mainstream Hindi entertainment then we need to do some serious thinking on the way a coterie of super-successful directors and actors have redefined entertainment to a state of utter inanity. "De Dana Dan" is not a film. It's a series of skits strung together to convey a sense of baggy fun and frivolous entertainment. Indo-Asian News Service I’m always happy to revel in pedestrian comedy but De Dana Dan feels more like work than entertainment.