Dostana poster


wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

With friends like these who needs enemies? A few laughs set aside, this one has a shallow attitude towards friendship, parenting, love and of course gay people.

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Director: Tarun Mansukhani
Running time: 160 minutes
More Movie Info

Dostana - Preview

NOT A REVIEW - Just wondering how badly homosexuals are going to be laughed at this time around...

As if it weren't enough how gay people are used as snigger-triggers in Hindi movies, we have a full-blown, star-studded feature film whose sole intention seems to be exactly that. But, good as we are at not pronouncing the judgment before fair trial, the following snippets give hope -

Director on the official site says that his movie is about relationships and more importantly friendships -

friendship is just like love. Unexplainable, Complicated and Predictable.

I keep reminding myself that this could very well be more about friendships than the friends pretending to be gay. Though buzz like this article in Times of India claims -

Priyadarshan was impressed with the subject of the movie and chipped in, “In Kollywood, one of the cardinal rules is not to discuss or show gay relationships on screen,” adding, “I’m eagerly waiting to watch Dostana.”


Karan Johar on his television programme said, “Dostana is trying to push the boundaries of male bonding, never seen before in Hindi cinema. The subject of gay bonding has been a taboo.”

Male-bonding is fine, "gay-bonding" - what in heaven's name is that supposed to mean? Somehow it gives me the feel that the characters being gay is more a marketing strategy than the "need of the script". Of course, these are just feelings without watching the movie. For all I know the movie might completely surprise us by bringing decent insights into friendships while respecting homosexuals and their lifestyles.

Meanwhile I share Sakshi's skepticism -

I pray that the film doesn’t turn out to be as tasteless as most of their previous gay adaptations

- meeta, a part of the audience

Mental check-list while walking in the theater to neutralize skepticism created by the promos - 10...9... It's Dharma productions - have a nagging feeling that they must have caught the violently contagious disease that's in the air these days called self-referencing. So make peace with Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai whenever they show up. 8...7...6... You'll be entering into the lives of super-happy, super-rich people - they even express anger with a smile. Don't be jealous of them. Breathe, don't fume. 5...4... Expect tasteless gay jokes - they exist to test your tolerance, this is what those meditation courses were meant for. 3...2...1... Don't complain about songs being random, it's on Miami beaches for goodness sake, try and understand, they need some excuse to show those beautiful ladies off... ...Boom... Not a moment wasted...some random song with digitally enhanced voices and extra blue skies. But it also has Shilpa Shetty literally all over both Abhishek Bachchan (Sam) and John Abraham (Kunal). Just so no one can complain. All the boys in the house need a gorgeous, barely-clad woman to drool over. And girls can take their pick - John 'Perfect V' Abraham just after a swim on the beach or the casually dressed Abhishek nodding his head in style.

Though most of the apprehensions mentioned above were appropriately done justice to, a lot of the mental preparation seemed to have worked. Because I was pleasantly surprised to hear myself laugh at regular intervals - Thanks to the situations created and some brilliant timing by Abhishek Bachchan. However, John is back to being a part of the furniture as far as acting goes.

Sure the jokes were intended to take advantage of the way the audience laughs at gay people. But, the situations they were places in made it funny. No credit to the dialogues though. Their only function was to remind us that they are cool enough to use the word 'gay' openly - every 10th minute. Anyway, like all good things, the laughter soon dried up too, largely due to repetition. And stop using the 'brother from another mother' line already!

It is amazing how a simple, sweet concept can be completely ruined by keeping the narrative absolutely flat. The superficial conflict is treated ever so lightly that you can't let the superfluous drama get you involved. Sam and Kunal both get annoyed, anxious, jealous, apologetic and turn into perfect arseholes (what else can people who use Taare Zameen Par to manipulate children be called?) at the exact same time. Was one character at conception stage split into two to give it the gay angle? And of course there's no necessity to show a single bonding moment between the males, they are after all so similar.

Neha (Priyanka Chopra) does have a shade more detailed character. But even those details seem to be just there as tokens rather than serving an arc. Yet, Priyanka sincerely expresses whatever Neha is going through. This is her fourth movie this year and yet she brings freshness to the screen. There's something superbly charming and warm about her and the way she carries herself. Can't blame her if Neha's feelings don't have a logical flow to them or if one moment all she cares about is her job and soon enough it barely matters.

Fluidity is in general lacking around here. I'm not talking about characters transforming by a preachy one-liner (remember the deep breathing exercises before the show?). It’s the absence of even that one-liner. I'll thank the climax for all the eye exercises it helped me with - so much eye-rolling I haven't done in a long long time.

The focus is on mockery here. Mockery of how the gay behave and of how they are perceived too. Mockery of how parents react when they know their child is homosexual and of how blinding love can really be. A movie on relationships and friendships, yeah right! Not this one.

- meeta, a part of the audience

37 reviewers(?) - 22 yays 7 so-so 8 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by noyon jyoti parasara, AOL INDIA : ...Dostana is essentially a love quadrangle. And it has enough moments of friendship to have its name Dostana.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ... ‘Dostana’ might have been a roller-coaster joyride had the director ( Tarun Mansukhani ) known where to take the story in the second half.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rahul Bhasin, Bolly Spice : ...It's a cute, light and at times witty comedy that people from all age groups will enjoy.... full review

Thumbs up, by Hetal Adesara, Business of Cinema : ...The story is simple but it's the chemistry and flawless sync between the two lead actors - Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham - that totally works in favour of this movie... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhishek Mande, Buzz18 : ...The two seem so perfectly made for each other you begin wishing they were really gay.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...Music was really good… liked the Jaane Kyon and couple of other songs… Cinematography was really good..... full review

Thumbs up, by Karishma Purshotam, desi hits : ...This film is absolutely on FIRE! Seriously worth a watch for the comedy, cast and the total madness, which all give the audience a truly entertaining experience!... full review

Thumbs up, by Udita Jhunjhunwala, DNA : ...So if you want a laugh, a good time out with friends, and some eye candy, Dostana is for you. If you are looking for a gay movie, this is not the right choice.... full review

Thumbs up, by Samrat Sharma, : ...Despite the vacuous plot, the broad stroke characterization, and the completely irreverent style of the film, Dostana manages to bring out a grin or two.... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, : ...Priyanka looks 'super hot'. Several notches higher than FASHION. She also dishes out a very confident performance. Her body language spells 'star value'.... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...the effort is remarkable for extending the limits of sexual permissiveness and for touching upon a subject that has remained largely in the studio closets.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Unapologetically irreverent, this week's new Bollywood release Dostana is a barrel of non-stop laughs; a film that pulls out all stops in its shameless attempt to win you over.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...It brings homosexuality out of the closet, gives it respect and dignity and doesn't treat gays as 'abnormal'.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...The screenplay adopts a multi-dimensional approach with sufficient twists and turns that steers away any monotony.... full review

Thumbs up, Indicine : ...Dostana is about Dosti. The friendship didn’t connect, a experienced director probably would have handled it a lot better.... full review

Thumbs up, by Harshita Kohli, : gives you the glam quotient you associate with Karan and all his films but it also gives you the edgy and hatke thinking of a new director on the circuit.... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...The actors are perfectly cast and do full justice to their roles. Everything about the film falls into place... full review

Thumbs up, by jehan handa, Passion for Cinema : ...The film is true at heart, true with its moments, and that’s what makes Dostana, a sweet watch, a must try... full review

Thumbs up, by Joxily John, Planet Bollywood : ...DOSTANA does provide a fun time at the theatres, and actually does provide better laughs than many of the overhyped comedies from this year.... full review

Thumbs up, by Goher Iqbal Punn, Radio Sargam : ...The movie carries forward the much loved Kanta Ben legacy from ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ reaching a whole new epitome of comic excellence.... full review

Thumbs up, by sampurn, real bollywoood : ...Vishal-Shekhar’s music is already topping the charts and the picturisation of songs take it one notch higher.... full review

Thumbs up, by deepa karmalkar, Screen : ...Only if the director could have maintained the tempo and the spirit of the film in the latter half, this could have been a film worth a repeat watch.... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Is this a failing of the screenplay – that Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham appear more of a couple with each other than either of them does with Priyanka Chopra... full review

So-So, by nita jatar kulkarni, Now : ...The movie is long, over two and a half hours, and the poor editing is visible throughout the movie.... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Now : ...The theme of heterosexual characters pretending to be gay to get a precious abode in the bustle of the metropolis is pretty cool.... full review

So-So, by dr. mandar, Passion for Cinema : ...Dostana is a comedy intended to shock Indian audiences and it does succeed there... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The characterisation, perhaps, is the culprit why one is never really involved in the goings on of the film.... full review

So-So, Upper Stall : ...Much of the film is a collage of largely silly scenes put together and not much more.... full review

So-So, by Neha Viswanathan, Within / Without : ...To be fair, this film was far better than I expected it to be.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sneha, DearCinema : ...this movie is another example (of the many) of how intolerant and un-accepting our society is about gay relationships.... full review

Thumbs down, by Amrita, Indiequill : ...Who knew a movie about a couple of homophobes could be this entertaining? Not me!... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Mumbai Mirror : ...Thank you Bollywood, for that. No thanks, for this film though. Intentions apart, this is exasperating entertainment.... full review

Thumbs down, : ...Dostana with Jr. Bachchan along with his Gay partner John is nothing but glossy eye candy with full of nonsense... full review

Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Now :'d find it difficult to notice, the only thing that really comes off well in this film is Abhishek Bachchan.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ashok Nayak, Now : ...The film is a mindless entertainer, and probably the best way would have been to promote it as a comedy... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...This film is a joke; but the last thing we need is India thinking homosexuality's just another gag.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by TimELiebe : MUCH Funnier, and More Heartfelt, Than I Expected Given the Subject Matter

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Sam (Abhishek Bachchan) and Kunal (John Abraham) need to rent an apartment where guys are not allowed but gay people are alright. So they decide to pronounce themselves boyfriend and boyfriend. Oops, but the third roomie is a very attractive Neha (Priyanka chopra).

What Worked

  • Sam and Kunal's lustful gaze being used to aid Priyanka Chopra's dramatic entry.
  • I liked the fact that Sam had no backstory. True, a backstory would have added depth, but come on...none is better than having some random, token history. Just imagine tolerating 3 moms instead of just Kirron Kher.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • John Abraham can be lip-read as saying "How do you know?" but he's heard saying the same line in Hindi! There must have been something really distracting around during dubbing!
  • No, no, no...make-up on men shouldn't show. The extra layer of foundation on Abhishek was too obvious. This is a movie for the looks, how can they not have the make-up person doing their job right?
  • Em (Boman Irani). Such a shabbily written character!
  • The changing room scene.
  • The auction scene.
  • Just didn't like the fact that two men intentionally are making a fool out of a woman and they say, "Didn't you see it? Are you a fool?"


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Are seat belts banned in Miami, Florida, US of A?

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Loads of skin-show. And a lip-lock.
  • Concept: Homosexuality; People shamelessly lying their way into situations and playing cute to find a way out.
  • General Look and Feel: Peppy, bright - in the Karan Johar way.

Dostana - Cast, crew, links

Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
160 minutes

Comments (16)

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Oh boy. What a waste of some crores. And now I'm going to have to endure this tonight. Maybe it would be a good idea to take a book and torch along? Or maybe an MP3 player. Or a portable movie player... I have a book... anyone care to lend the others?

I think it is about time that you added a sub-section highlighting the inspirations of a director. I watched Dostana yesterday and was somewhat angry to see that a majority of scenes (setup/plot etc.) have been lifted straight from Englist sitcoms (primarily FRIENDS) and movies (Three to Tango, I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry). Almost made me regret my decision to go watch it.

Huahahahaha Aditya, *evil grin* serves you right for buying those tickets before checking here. Like I said, with friends who don't read wogma, who needs enemies :P

Thanks Sumeet! :)

Great idea urmilesh, I was wondering whether there was a demand for that. Will certainly work on that now that I know there's interest. Yes, I noticed a few gags from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. The others I haven't seen yet.

[...] Meetu says “watch it if you have nothing better to do” With friends like these who needs enemies? [...]

Seaweed, I don't think the movie had any agenda or social message to pass on. If it did, not all non-pretending gays would have been shown as effeminate. It might not have made direct jokes but such things clarify the intention.

[...] finally Meetu puts it all together by pointing out the blandness of the storyline and ending with, Fluidity is in [...]

That bit with TZP thrown in really pissed me off.

neha, i was actually shocked!

Guys, my take on Dostana.

JM, I have no problem with the movie Dostana. Agreed it is a comedy, and I have also stated in my post why Sameer and Kunal tried to act effeminate and I'm really cool with all that. In fact, I was laughing my ass off during those scenes. I'm just pissed off by the way Karan is trying to parade that this movie doesn't shy to talk about gays without stereotyping them. And did you see even one scene like that in the movie?

JM, Crazy Sam and gaysforever - thanks a ton for the discussion here!

I strongly recommend Almodovar's movies too on alternate sexuality! "All about my mother" - is awesome!

Good to see you here, Longtime Friend! We can drool over John's physique together now! :)

I think I have as much problem with sardar/blonde jokes. Oh well...

And I don't know if this is a step in the right direction. If all through most of the movie gay people were treated as if they are suffering from a contagious disease of some sort. That the mom accepts her son's sexuality, albeit false, is sort-of a step in the right direction. Because it's not really that easy for parents and I don't see "maa da ladla bigad gaya" as acceptance "_

Geez, Meetu - we liked it a lot! I'd avoided seeing DOSTANA for the longest time having suffered through "straight guys pretending to be gay to gain some advantage" like the THREE'S COMPANY television series, an obscure Vietnam War comedy THE GAY DECEIVERS, and I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY. I was sure I'd seen this before, and - well, not done better, but with a similar Straight Guy's Gay Panic.

Imagine my surprise that, while yes there was plenty of Gay Panic humor, there was also a much stronger Gay Tolerance message in DOSTANA than in any of the US equivalents! I also liked that Sam and Kunal were as concerned with not destroying their friendship with Neha as getting her into bed - and I confess, the ending didn't go where I expected it to, and I liked that. I think it's probably a better Indian movie for gay rights than a lot of movies made for that purpose, because at the end of it (even though the Sam and Kunal keep saying they're not gay!) everybody in the movie accepts that it wouldn't really matter to them if they were.

Obviously, US Immigration doesn't work at all the way it's presented in the movie (they'd be trying harder to eject gay couples than make it easier for them to become legal residents), and given our gay masala-hating housekeeper just came back from a couple weeks' job in Florida, the idea of Miami as a hotbed of gay tolerance made him snort with derision! (The timing was too perfect - he was ranting about how homophobic Florida was, and we'd seen DOSTANA the night before....)

I also didn't know there were that many desi in Miami - unlike Syracuse, NY where I live now. We've got such a large Southern Asian Professional Class population an old theatre reopened a couple years back just to show classic Indian movies - I'd love to see a masala set here. ;)

@TimELiebe oh well, and yet again, to each his own. A Hindi film set in Syracuse, that will be really interesting :D

blockquote>A Hindi film set in Syracuse, that will be really interesting :D

I'd love to see it, Meetu - heck, I'd love to act in it, to prove that not all Westerners in Indian movies are incapable of acting their way out of a wet paper bag! ;)

@TimEliebe ha ha ha ha ha

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