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De Dana Dan

Rating: 1.5

November 27, 2009

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal

Director: Priyadarshan

They couldn’t have come up with a more inappropriate title for the new Akshay Kumar starrer than De Dana Dan, a term usually used to signify something quick. The thing is, Priyadarshan’s latest comedy is anything but quick. At two hours and 40 minutes, it’s a laboriously long, patience-testing exercise in idiocy about some 20-odd characters stuck in a five-star hotel where mistaken identities and misunderstandings result in loud arguments, comic-book action and crude humor.

Akshay Kumar plays down-on-his-luck servant boy Nitin Bankar, who can’t take any more humiliation from his tyrant boss, and finally conspires with his buddy to kidnap her beloved pooch and demand a ransom. The dog, as it turns out, is smarter than the men. He escapes from their hands, but the police believe that Nitin has been kidnapped.

Don’t ask how this situation leads to the one in the hotel, but it does. There’s a wedding happening, a murder attempted, a prostitute being solicited, and lots of money changing hands. Eventually, it ends with a bomb exploding in the water tank and a flood – think Titanic here – gutting the entire hotel.

In the tradition of many recent low-brow comedies from the same director, De Dana Dan is cheerfully dumb and doesn’t aspire for anything more than cheap laughs. The film’s first half is dreadfully dull, and the second only marginally better.

Rajpal Yadav as a corrupt waiter, and Johnny Lever as a bumbling hitman are the two bright spots in this annoying ensemble that includes talented actors like Paresh Rawal, Vikram Gokhale and Archana Puran Singh who pretty much spend the entire film yelling at the top of their lungs. Neha Dhupia scores with a winning turn as the hot-headed hooker who just wants to get her money and leave.

The film’s leading man, Akshay Kumar, sportingly goes along with the silliness, but he’s done all of this many times before. In the film’s second half, he’s locked up in a closet for about 40 minutes, leaving the rest of the cast to carry on the show. How you wish you could hide somewhere too, or slip into a coma even – anything really to avoid watching the rest of this drivel.

Over the years one has lowered one’s expectations considerably when going in to watch a Priyadarshan comedy. De Dana Dan is no different.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Priyadarshan’s De Dana Dan; carry ear plugs with you, or a Saridon. Or both. A migraine is guaranteed.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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