wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
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.Read more
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.
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.
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
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 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 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, fullhyd.com : ...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, Glamsham.com : ...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 Harshita Kohli, indya.com : ...it 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, 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 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
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
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).