Cast: Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Divyendu Sharma
David Dhawan and Chashme Buddoor are inherently a mismatch. He is the creator of a specific kind of crass comedy, which, at its best, works as zany, energetic, disposable entertainment. Chashme Buddoor, on the other hand, is a classic, a film with a genuine sweetness.
Even 32 years after release, its moments are memorable. How can you forget Miss Chamko, or the two predatory friends constantly on the lookout for ‘shikaar’? Their attempts to get girls were so endearingly clumsy that the term never even seemed offensive. The original film had a certain lightness of being. The remake is loud and inevitably leaden. David and his writers, Renuka Kunzru and Farhad-Sajid, update it by making it in-your-face.
There isn’t a subtle frame in this film, and that goes for the costumes, background score and the jokes. Sample these lyrics: ‘Welcome to the ishq mohallah. Arre yahan hai sab kuch khullam khulla’. At one point Lillete Dubey, playing the well-preserved landlady, is described as a ‘dhhaki hui Mallika Sherawat’. The story of three roommates and their entanglement with one girl becomes high-pitched and frenzied, with songs set in malls and on beaches. This version is set in the go-to location for brainless comedies – Goa.
The fatal flaw, though, is the casting of Ali Zafar as the lead. He tries hard to locate his inner Dev Anand and be dashing, but he can’t manage an iota of the charm. Tapsi Pannu, who at regular intervals has to say ‘Dum hai, boss’, doesn’t fare much better. She’s totally forgettable. So it’s up to Siddharth and Divyendu Sharma, who play the friends, to salvage the film. They do manage, to some extent. So does Rishi Kapoor, as Joseph Furtado, the tattooed bar owner. But I really missed Saeed Jaffrey’s caustic Lallan Miyan from the original.
Chashme Buddoor delivers the occasional laugh but the level of the joke is someone slapping someone else or a tired Bollywood reference. If you can settle for that, check it out.