Looking back at my thoughts on the second part of Yamla Pagla Deewana in 2013, it struck me that, besides changing a few names here and there, I could copy paste the analysis, sentiment and pain of that experience and it would be equally applicable to Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se.
Here are the things I would change:
- The name of the director: Navaniat Singh directs this third part
- The running time: That one was 155 minutes and this one runs at 147 minutes
- The name of the leading lady: Kriti Kharbanda takes on the three Deol men in part three
- The relationships: This time around, the setting is Amritsar. Sunny and Bobby Deol play brothers who run an Ayurvedic dispensary. Dharmendra is their tenant Parmar, who also happens to be a lawyer who enjoys visions of celestial beauties wandering close to him.
Here are the things that remain the same:
- If YPD2 was “incomprehensible, nonsensical and unfunny”, five years in between have not lifted the dreariness of a franchise that is well past its sell-by-date.
- There is still a reference to “dhai kilo ka haath”, which seems mandatory whenever Sunny Deol appears in a film.
- Like previous parts, here too there is a collection of cameos by veteran actors including Asrani and Shatrughan Sinha.
The plot is that a big pharma, represented by Mr. Marfatia (Mohan Kapoor) and his firm, will use any means – fair and foul (including theft) — to acquire the secret formula to a cure-all miracle medicine. The formula for ‘Vajra kavach’ has been handed down to vaid Puran Singh (Sunny Deol). Simpleton Kaala (Bobby Deol) is happy to sell the formula and get-rich-quick. But when Puran resists, Marfatia hatches a devious plan to bring him down.
Enter Chikoo (Kharbanda), an ENT doctor in Surat who is so partial to alcohol that one wonders if she is really capable of surgery. I wouldn’t trust her to stick a bandaid on a scratch, leave alone bring a scalpel anywhere close to me. Chikoo arrives in Amritsar to learn about the ancient practice of Ayurveda. Kaala falls in love with her instantly. They bond over a bottle, of course. She returns home and Kaala is heartbroken.
But then a case court-case related to the patent for Vajra kavach brings the Singhs and their lawyer Parmar to Surat where, coincidence of coincidences, they rent a flat next to Chikoo. The message — yes story writer Dheeraj Rattan has built one in – is that traditional medicines made in India are far superior to Allopathy.
Of the three main male actors, maximum screen time is devoted to Bobby Deol whose default option when attempting to “act” is to “shout” every line and emotion. Sunny Deol’s Puran is unrealistically saintly, but he has that violent streak and strength with which he can stop a speeding truck, singlehandedly.
If you delete the many superfluous scenes from YPD3, you would be left with a 90-minute film, and even that would be 90 minutes too long. In 2013, one wished we had seen the last of Yamla Pagla Deewana. Five years later, the wish remains the same – just much more fervently.