Director: Navaniat Singh
Cast: Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Kriti Kharbanda
Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se, the third film in the franchise, is an ode to Ayurveda. Yes, you heard that right. Sunny Deol plays vaid Puran Singh who can cure any ailment with an ancient herbal concoction called the ‘Vajra Kavach’. This medicine is such a miracle that big pharma companies want to buy it but Puran refuses to take the crores being dangled in front of him. Which then leads to theft and a court case – at one point, Puran and a lawyer are screaming in court about the curative properties of haldi. I’ve aged in the two-and-a-half hours it takes to get to the happy ending. By then, I needed a dose of Vajra Kavach myself.
The truth is that watching Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se made me sad. The film, directed by Navaniat Singh heavily relies on two things – our goodwill for the Deol family and our nostalgia for all the good times at the movies that Dharmendra, who I have to refer to as Dharam ji, has given us. The title of course comes from one of his most popular songs. And the film ends with an item number in which he, Salman Khan, Rekha and Sonakshi Sinha, are grooving to the Rafta Rafta medley – he and Rekha did the original song in a 1973 film called Kahani Kismat Ki.
Dharam ji still has dollops of charm but even he or Sunny Deol’s iconic dhai kilo ka haath can’t lift this incoherent film. Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se tries to be a comedy, an Ayurveda commercial, a plea for national integration – specifically between Gujaratis and Punjabis – a love story and a moral science lesson.
The humor is painfully low grade. A running gag is that Dharam ji is so charming that apsaras from heaven hover around him but of course only he can see them. At one point, he’s telling them, “You are all jealous babies.” Dharam ji plays a lawyer. Women are so besotted with him that a female judge refuses to pass judgment because she wants him back in her court.
To make matters more excruciating, the background music attempts to force humor and emotion into the dead writing. So each time the younger brother Kaala, played by Bobby Deol, gets drunk, we are helpfully told ‘oye chad gayi oye.’
Among the three of them, the Deols have over 100 years of making movies. I think it’s time to reinvent.