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Devgan shoots from the lip, rescues 'Parwana'

Savera R Someshwar | September 12, 2003 19:35 IST

Click here for a short review of Parwana

The cons:

  1. Terrorists who want to intimidate India so much that she will let go of Kashmir.
  2. References to 'help' these terrorists are getting from 'across the border'.
  3. Bombs that, according to the villains, are guaranteed to shake heaven and earth.
  4. Tacky special effects.
  5. A plot that is as old as the hills.
  6. Picturisation that takes you back a couple of decades at the very minimum.

The pros:

  1. Dialogues that appeal to the frontbenchers.
  2. Songs -- especially the Jo pallu gira diya number -- aimed at the frontbenchers.
  3. Ajay Devgan.
  4. Ajay Devgan.
  5. Ajay Devgan.
  6. Ajay Devgan.

Ajay DevganThat, in essence, sums up Parwana.

Now for the plot:

For those of you interested in a more detailed storyline, here goes: Shahtaj (Sharat Saxena) of the Lashkar-e-Mujahideen has one dream he has been nurturing for 20 long years -- he wants independence for Kashmir for which he, but naturally, gets help from 'across the border'.

Devgan's latest films:



Chori Chori


He is supplied with a bomb, which he sets off in a crowded amusement park. A rather tacky special effect -- which looks like it came straight out of a bad 1970s film -- later, there is mayhem and murder of hundreds of innocents.

Shahtaj is captured by the law and interrogated by an officer (Pramod Moutho) to much seeti (whistle)-raising dialogue. Take, for example, 'Tumhare godown mein itna anaj nahin hai jitne humare arsenal mein barood [We have more explosives in our arsenal than you have grain in your godowns].' The upper stall at Mumbai's Gaiety theatre just erupted at this one-liner.

Enter Parwana (Devgan), the small-time conman with Robin Hood's golden heart. Every time he runs into trouble, in this case the long arm of the law represented by Inspector Hardev Singh Haryanvi (Sadashiv Amrapurkar), he is rescued by Haryanvi's wife (Ketaki Dave reprising her 'aa ra ra' Junagadhi avatar from the television serial, Kyon Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi).

Next, Pooja (Amisha Patel) makes her appearance. Two funny encounters and one rescue later, Ajay and Amisha fall in love. It takes just one song for them to get married and Parwana gives up his beyond-the-pale-of-the-law activities.

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Pooja, the dutiful bride, brings her now-holding-a-respectable-job hubby khana, only to be hit by a car. Hubby is asked to deposit Rs 50,000 for her life-saving operation and is faced with no choice but to steal it. Only, the briefcase he grabs is hiding a bomb.

A still from ParwanaParwana is branded a terrorist. To add to his woes, the villains decide he needs to be eliminated from the picture. Now, is a popular Hindi cinema action hero really going to allow that?

What the frontbenchers loved:

Ajay Devgan's trademark entry scene.

Seth Malpani (Jagdeep) getting conned by Parwana.

Yashwantrao Waghmare (Sayaji Shinde) who appears in one scene only to be beaten to pulp by Parwana.

Ismailbhai Muskurahat (Kader Khan) and his comic encounters with Devgan and Amrapurkar.

Parwana's two-liners. For example: Mere junoon ka misaal dega zamana; Desh ke liye mit jayega yeh parwana.

Devgan's comic turns in the first half of the film.

Ketaki Dave as she takes on hubby Sadashiv Amrapurkar in Devgan's defence in the first half of the film.

Amrapurkar defending Devgan when Dave decides he is a terrorist in the second half of the film.

The barely clad dancers who make an appearance in every song.

Inspector Tode (Gulshan Grover), who is given the task of eliminating Parwana.

Devgan's reiteration of his action star status as he makes good his escape.

The action sequences in the climax.

What I didn't understand:

Why the background score needed to be so screechy.

How the film moved between Indian and foreign locales without even a pause for continuity.

Ajay Devgan's hairstyles, which went from simple to spiked to crew to streaked... No attempt was even made to hide the lack of continuity.

Gulshan GroverThe character of P P Yadav (Nawab Shah), who, like Yashwantrao Waghmare, exists for one scene, whose only purpose seems to be to showcase firang belly dancers and Devgan's fighting skills.

Amisha Patel's role, which if not for the songs would have been shorter than Ketaki Dave's.

What the heck Pooja Batra was doing in the film. All she did was dance to one song, help Devgan carry out a couple of conman tricks, and disappear as soon as he married Patel.

How the audience is dumped from Kashmir to Mumbai without even a warning shout.

How Devgan could ride a bike through Mumbai's Ganesh visarjan (immersion) crowds.

The incredibly inane special effects. They are worse than the ones we saw in Bollywood films in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the end:

In a recent interview to a local newspaper, Devgan was asked if he was embarrassed about Parwana, a film that dragged for more than four years in the making.

Devgan replied: 'I don't know... Work is work. It was an old commitment and people can see that. I don't think it can affect my career in any way. Ramu [Ram Gopal Varma] SMS-ed me the other day saying, 'If Parwana works it isn't you, it's your luck that's working!' There's nothing to be embarrassed about.'

Well, if one goes by the whistles, the hoots and the claps, Mumbai's frontbenchers loved Parwana. North India and the interiors should welcome the film as well.

Ajay Devgan's luck, it seems, is working overtime.

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Cast: Ajay Devgan, Amisha Patel, Pooja Batra, Sharat Saxena, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Akhilendra Mishra (as the police commissioner), Ketki Dave, Kader Khan, Jagdeep, Sayaji Shinde, Nawab Shah, Pramod Moutho, Gulshan Grover
Production, direction, screenplay: Deepak Bahry
Story: Rajeev Kaul, Praful Parekh
Dialogues: Tanveer Khan
Music: Sanjeev-Darshan
Lyrics: Sameer, Afsar
Cinematography: Damodar Naidu
Action: Veeru Devgan

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