Home » Masala Reviews: Coolie No.1 (2020)

Masala Reviews: Coolie No.1 (2020)

by Ashima

The epitome of uncool, the film fails to score on chemistry and comedy.

By Muskan Shah

Warning, spoilers ahead!

While remakes have been all the craze recently, this particular 2020 reimagining of the hit 1995 comedy film Coolie No. 1 by director David Dhawan, falls a little flat, posing as a humourless spoof with forced jokes and too much overacting.

Varun Dhawan plays the titular role of Raju Coolie, aka Coolie No.1. The plot follows his character as he tells a series of lies to get the love of his life, Sarah (Sara Ali Khan), a girl he’s decided he’s in love with after a photo of her flutters into his lap, having dropped out of the hands of pandit Jai Kishen (Javed Jaffrey).

A strange character, it’s conveyed to audiences that the pandit is looking for revenge after being thrown out by the egoistic Jeffery Rozario (Paresh Rawal) who is currently searching for an affluent rishta for his daughter, Sarah. Confused yet? Good luck because this was only the first 10 minutes of the movie!

Like many of the recent comedies to come out of Bollywood, Coolie No.1’s jokes lack creativity and finesse in their delivery. Moreover, the film’s twists were more like predictable turns, dragging out the story unnecessarily.

While Paresh Rawal normally stuns in comedic roles, his recurring line of ‘Heavens in the dock’ throws all common sense out the window. A line that doesn’t do his character any favours when he’s already being fooled time and time again by Raju Coolie’s antics and incessant lies.

Starring alongside Varun Dhawan and Paresh Rawal, Sara Ali Khan doesn’t exactly put her acting chops to the challenge, appearing as a damsel in distress with unappealing comedic timing. Not to mention, the chemistry between her and Varun was lacklustre.

With a mediocre Bollywood movie, you’d hope that the songs would at least save the day, but instead, it felt like the musical team threw everything but the kitchen sink into their sets. While you may catch me nodding my head to some of the beats, the use of over-the-top backdrops and cringe-worthy acting during the dances, made even their modern rendition of “Mirchi Lagi Toh” feel tacky.

The disastrous film culminates with a chase scene, which was the last straw for me. Just when I thought the movie was over, madness ensues when Raju Coolie’s friends are forced to form a human pyramid up the side of a wall to save a falling Paresh Rawal. What?! Trust me, I don’t know either!  

The only breath of fresh air through the gruelling 130 minutes airtime is the appearance of Bollywood veterans Johnny Lever and Rajpal Yadav as a police officer and Sarah’s mama ji respectively. The duo manage to generate a few giggles thanks to their years of experience in comedic roles.

While I do love the occasional goofy and masaledar Bollywood movie, it’s safe to say that Coolie No.1 isn’t number 1 on any list. The only time to justify watching this bizarre remake of the classic film, is if you’re in the mood to watch something silly. Star rating: 1/5.

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