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Movie Review: Coolie No. 1

Heaven on the docks, there’s a David Dhawan super hit out of the Christmas gift box, folks!

When David Dhawan’s 45th film starring his son, Varun Dhawan, was delayed due to the pandemic, not many of us could have envisioned a digital release. Christmas was the date announced, however the big screen only seemed appropriate for a grand-scale, commercial entertainer. However, when Amazon Prime Video attained the rights to showcase the film to the world, there was a ray of hope for fans worldwide, many of whom still cannot safely visit movie theatres.

It is not to say that this one would not have been even better on the big screen — it was a film made for the whistles and cheers. But the fact that we can all enjoy it safely from our homes feels like exactly what the holidays are all about, and exactly what David Dhawan is all about, too. His brand of cinema needs no introduction and neither does the plotline of this film.

The epic 1995 blockbuster starring Govinda did 136 crores at the Indian box-office off a budget of just 36 crores. David Dhawan set a standard with the masala comedy back then, and the reboot now brings Varun Dhawan as the hero. Varun plays Raju, a coolie (porter) who fakes being a billionaire to impress Rosario (Paresh Rawal), the father of Sara (Ali Khan), who Raju falls in love with at first sight. One lie leads to the next, resulting in chaos, action, comedy and loads of fun.

Varun is in top form here. The film almost feels like the younger brother of Dhawan’s first film with his father, Main Tera Hero (2014). That’s definitely a good thing. Main Tera Hero did double of its budget at the box-office, and while this one’s success will not be based on cinema tickets sold, it definitely should receive loads of love from audiences.

Paresh Rawal is at the top of his game as the wealthy, yet greedy Goan father-in-law while Javed Jaffrey, Rajpal Yadav and Johnny Lever all bring their star comic prowess to the table nicely. Sara Ali Khan does what she needs to as well and Sahil Vaid deserves a mention for his role as the hero’s best friend who falls for the heroines sister. Farhad Samji has been doing dialogue writing a lot of late and brings some classic one-liners to the table in this one while veteran Rumi Jaffery makes a comeback with some crisp screenplay.

The music really deserves a mention as well. Salim-Sulaiman freshen things up with a well-rounded background score while Javed-Mohsin’s music in Teri Bhabhi is a sure-shot hit, delivering one of the best party tracks of the year. Udit Narayan is as fresh as ever in Mummy Kasam and Tanishk Bagchi does surprisingly well with the recreated tracks. Finally, Tere Siva is all soul, with Ash King and Renessa Das singing their way into hearts.

The Verdict:

All in all, Coolie No. 1 is massy entertainer straight to your television sets this Christmas, which is probably something that any film fan would have dreamt of. Varun Dhawan and classic comic company shine in this worthy remake. Highly recommended!

Coolie No.1, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, rates a 7/10.

By Razeen Gutta

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