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I love the original film. It would only make sense for me to completely hate this supposed remake. Right? But then again, I wouldn’t exactly call this a remake of the 80s comedy classic. It is more of a 90s David Dhawan film. Any pragmatic filmgoer wouldn’t take this director seriously but I have grown up on the Heroes and Coolies and Biwis that were No. 1 during a certain time. Haseena Maan Jayegi (1999) remains a bona fide guilty pleasure to this day. Govinda is one of my heroes of comedy.
I grew up and discovered films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) and Sai Paranjpye’s wonderful film and opened myself up to better forms of humor. This doesn’t mean I forget where my belly laughs come from, however unrefined that may be. I have mentioned previously that you shouldn’t take my word on comedies, especially when it comes to slapstick. I still ask you not to. I can enjoy literally anything that manages to crack my funny bone (which isn’t a difficult thing to do).
Now, since I have given you a clear idea that there isn’t a pole stuck up my ass (and there never will be), I’m sorry to disappoint you but I enjoyed the shit out of this film. It had the over the top humor, unintelligent plot and idiotic ridiculousness that even Mr. Dhawan had forgotten how to make, evident in his recent failures. Most importantly, he had forgotten how to induce fun into his movies and this film knows how to have some of that.
All this would lead you to believe I prefer this film to the original. No way. Before you go into that direction, let me point out that it is in another league altogether. For me it all boils down to two names – Farooq Shaikh and Deepti Naval. No matter how hard you try, you can’t match the chemistry of these two gifted actors. Neither can you top the writing and humor of the first film. (It has one-liners like: if you can’t change the girl, ‘change’ the girl). This doesn’t mean I couldn’t take this film for what it is and enjoy it. For starters, apart from having the same plot, there are hardly any gags that are taken from the original. There is hardly any cigarette smoking. I guess if you can’t change the story, change the jokes.
To be perfectly honest, when I saw the trailers I thought this remake would be a trashy and cheap version of the first film. You are free to disagree but I thought the characters in the earlier film were more vulgar than the new film (especially the eve-teasing, I don’t know how any self-respecting man or woman can watch the film today and not think the same). We all love the Playboy reading Dadi but excuse me if I love this slapacious (just created a new word) grandmother too. Certain issues I had with the earlier film were addressed here.
I love jokes that are lowbrow and completely unpretentious. I miss Anupam Kher acting like a buffoon. What wins me over is self-reflexive humor that is aware of the silliness of mainstream cinema. This could also be a reason why I enjoyed Bol Bachchan (2012) and didn’t consider it blasphemous despite loving the original. Many scenes in the film made light of the fact that the situations in the film were reminiscent of the classic. Good intentions prevail, even when the product isn’t top quality. Most importantly, I could recognize that it doesn’t try to reach for the quality of the original since it cannot.
Ali Zafar and Taapsee are adequate in their roles, even if their chemistry doesn’t “chamko”. Divyendu Sharma and Siddharth seem annoying at the start but soon become perfectly funny. Most of the laughs come from them but my favorite silly moment in this film is the one where Lillette Dubey (for some inconceivable godforsaken reason) seeks inspiration for her diet problems from the unlikeliest person. I had to remind myself that I’m sitting with a bunch of respected film critics to stop an impending fit of laughter.
Chashme Baddoor means keeping envious eyes at bay, warding off negative energies. We all expected that the original had the misfortune of having had David Dhawan’s eyes land up on it. To our dismay, the end result seems like the evil eyes are going to be that of the naysayers. Sometimes, I become a grumpy old fart myself but I usually like to be seated in that section of the audience, which is having more fun. To paraphrase, a dialogue from the film – “You don’t need classes when it’s a hit with the masses”. Chashme Baddoor is good clean entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Hey, this could have been a whole lot worse, like Kya Kool Hain Hum.) If your eyes aren’t clouded with prejudice and wish to see some fun, you won’t be disappointed.