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|April 14, 2001||
As humorous as canned laughter
Jodi No 1 is all that a Govinda fan could dream of.
Oft repeated, but circumstance-based gags, songs with nonsensical lyrics to help display his funny antics, some toilet humour (literally) and a storyline that generously allows for these cliches.
Jai (Govinda) and Veeru (Sanjay Dutt) are friends and conmen with a Sholay hang-up. The duo make a career out of conning everyone in sight before they get embroiled in a brawl at a gambling den where dreaded mafia don, Sir John's (Ashish Vidyarthi) younger brother Tiger (Rajat Bedi) is killed.
With the police, Sir John and his henchmen hot on their heels, the two flee from Bombay to Goa. A case of mistaken identity ensues and the two land up at industrialist Rai Sahab's (Anupam Kher) house, impersonating an NRI whom they meet while fleeing to Goa.
Only, once they get there, the two realise that conning the industrialist is not as easy as it seems. And that staying in the house is not as much of a money-spinning proposition as it seems. Rai Bahadur's factory is threatened by strikes. And the two have a change of heart and decide to play the good guys for change.
A few action sequences and songs later, the story ends on a happy note.
The script and screenplay are two areas where David Dhawan has always fallen short at. Unlike his earlier Govinda flicks, the comic situations now seem very forced and stale. The gags here really take the story forward rather than blended in with the script. Double entendres coupled with a strong chauvinistic streak in the jokes and situational humour don't really raise more than a few rounds of forced laughter.
More often than not, the situations seem contrived. Like the Anupam Kher being in trouble scene. Or like Govinda meeting Twinkle Khanna in the train or simply just Sanjay Dutt and Govinda hoodwinking the cops. More than one scene more than once arouse a strong sense of deja vu.
Unlike most David Dhawan films which rely strongly on music, this film has, at most, two songs which will appeal to the crowds -- Ande mein anda and Lal chunariya. The rest not only grate and look out of place in the script, even Chi Chi can't manage to liven the pace in these songs. What's more, his movements look very repetitive now.
The actresses Twinkle Khanna and Monica Bedi might as well not have acted in the film.Their existence in the film is not really justified what with two scenes apiece; the romantic angle is unfathomable, limited to two songs. Both up the glam factor, suitably simpering when required.
As for Ashish Vidyarthi and Sayaji Shinde, both fine actors, they are simpy wasted, as are Shakti Kapoor and Anupam Kher.
Govinda does what he is best at. (Even that's a cliche now!) Whether it is making unrealistic songs, locales and situations look plausible, or adopting a Punjabi accent or making bidding for a tender look like easy pie.
Sanjay Dutt displays his flair for comedy. What works also for Govinda and Dutt is their sense of comic timing with each other, which helps raise a few more laughs than the script really deserves.
All said and done, Jodi No.1 is as humorous as canned laughter.
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