It’s hard to believe that the same man who brought us Hera Pheri has gone ahead and made something like Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal (KDM). A remake of a Malyalam blockbuster, KDM claims to be a “mad copic caper” but fails, in its duration of two and a half hours, to draw out even a single genuine laugh.
The film boasts of a strong cast that includes names like Om Puri, Nana Patekar, Shreyas Talpade and Paresh Rawal but a strong cast can only do so much for a film that has been scripted to include every comedy cliché Bollywood has ever seen. Priyadarshan is losing his comic touch and is repeatedly depending on the seniors of Bollywood to bail him out.
The plot, along with being unoriginal, is boring and way too long. Set in a little catholic village, KDM’s protagonist is Johnny (Shreyas Talpade) aka Bakri. A cowardly Johnny, who is scared of the dark and gets beaten up every five minutes, is in love with Maria, the daughter of his father’s ex-best friend. They can’t be together because Maria’s hulk-like brothers won’t let them (Hulchul, anyone?). The first half hour is dedicated to establishing Johnny’s uselessness. Enter Kallu (Nana Patekar), a stranger who saves Johnny’s butt all the time, talks mostly in monosyllables and eats a lot (which is supposed to be funny).
The film, I'm assuming, is supposed to be about how Kallu’s entry into their lives saves them all but increasingly focuses on Johnny’s utter lack of respect for an honest day’s work and refusal to stand up for himself. Johnny, as a character, is weak, spineless and why anyone would feel any sympathy for such a protagonist is beyond me. What is fascinating is that he continues to be a gutless little boy and at no point in the film can you look at him and say “now he is a man” (I almost judge Maria for not giving up on him).
Performances by the aforementioned cast members are good but lack of decent dialogues and strong character sketches hold them back. As for Talpade, why an actor like him continues to associate himself with comedies like Golmaal, Housefull and now KDM is mystifying.
The supporting cast is a mishmash of Bollywood sidekicks and fail to provide any relief from the mind-numbingly un-funny saga that is KMD. Falling down, being beaten to a pulp and getting kicked in the groin is expected to be funny.
With Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal, what you see is what you get. The only way to get any laughs watching this film is to go with someone who will sit next to you and tell you knock-knock jokes throughout.