What do you get when two losers are besotted by a gorgeous woman? The answer is... a David Dhawan comedy called Deewana Mastana. Suspend your sense of logic for a couple of hours and enter the fun-and-frolic of Dhawan World: nothing is impossible and laughter permeates the air.
Raja (Anil Kapoor) and his sidekick (Johnny Lever) are a couple of small-time thieves who have robbed Rs. 25 lakhs from their home town┬┤s railway station before jetting off to Mumbai. Bunnu (Govinda) is a spoilt rich kid aka chicken incarnate. (Bunnu has a phobia of everything.) Through different circumstances both Bunnu and Raja fall in love with Dr. Neha (Juhi Chawla). And since neither ┬┤hero┬┤ is the sacrificial type (thank God), we begin a game of one-upmanship, where the winner gets the hand of the fair psychiatrist. Or so you would like to believe...
The film┬┤s major advantages include Dhawan┬┤s directorial skills, the performances and some wickedly funny dialogues. Bunnu┬┤s introductory scene alone is so amusing, that at first, you want to hand over this year┬┤s Best Actor Award to Govinda. After a bit of thinking, you will decide that it is the dialogues in the scene which really make it outstanding. The care put into the direction is equally applause-worthy. One cannot decide which really deserves an award.
Govinda┬┤s comedic talents are indisputable. In this movie he shows us a partially Forrest Gump-inspired performance. The trump card lies in the fact that Govinda is, and always will be, a far better comedian than Tom Hanks. Anil Kapoor works hard on his comedic drive, matching Govinda┬┤s impeccable timing perfectly and consistently. Everyone knows however that there is no beating Bollywood┬┤s Comedy King, so Johnny Lever is Anil┬┤s comrade in the battle. (It must be said that from all the films in his career, this performance is Mr. Lever┬┤s best. He is quite subdued in Deewana Mastana, yet so effective at eliciting laughter, that you wonder why he would need to be LOUD in some of his earlier movies like Daraar.)
Juhi needs to look gorgeous in the movie, while showing indifference towards the monkeys who are after her. She succeeds in the acting requirements, but looking beautiful is not always easy since working in a David Dhawan movie requires the hero and heroine to wear garishly coloured/designed outfits. However, in the end Juhi probably won over David and for the climax scenes her attire and looks could both kill.
Dialogues, as mentioned earlier, are a major highlight of the movie. Bunnu┬┤s "Baby Steps" and, "It┬┤s okay... I┬┤m all right... I┬┤m feeling better now..." refrains stay in the mind of the viewer even after the movie is over. If it were possible to remember Satish Kaushik┬┤s Mr. Pager scenes and the thickly-accented goonda dialogues he uses, I would probably have my friends, who have yet to see the movie, also rolling around in laughter.
Technically the movie is a bit above average. Periodically, continuity suffers due to the two-year time period it took to complete the movie. Rajan Kinagi┬┤s cinematography is competent, but it is nothing compared to his work in Mrityu Dand. Choreography and the songs are passable, but considering the long wait for the movie, they could have been better. Only the climax version of "Tere Bina Dil Lagta Nahin" is innovative and a pleasure to watch (besides being the best song in the film for listening purposes).
I now believe that David Dhawan is Bollywood┬┤s best ever director of simple, frothy comedies. Considering the number of projects the man has on his platter at any given time, his work is often of remarkably high standards. Manmohan Desai
was good, but he used his cinematic license too liberally, and the continuity problems in his films (especially Amar Akbar Anthony) were funnier than the movies themselves. The ending for Deewana Mastana is novel, refreshing (as was Dhawan┬┤s Saajan Chale Sasural) and even some-what realistic. Individuals claim that the end was modified due to star ego clashes -- it is likely considering the character interplay in some scenes -- but the climax is handled with so much care and conviction by Dhawan that one cannot help applaud him for it. 1997 is the year for David Dhawan to be recognized amongst the forefront of Indian directors. His tremendous talents have been neglected by the rest of the industry far too long.