Coolie No. 1, the big ticket Christmas release is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Directed by David Dhawan, with Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan reprising the roles of Govinda and Karishma Kapoor, the film is a pale shadow of old Coolie No. 1 which was released in 1995.
Pandit Jai Kishen (Javed Jaffery) is a matchmaker who is insulted by Rosario (Paresh Rawal) when he goes to Rosario with a prospective groom for his daughter Sara (Sara Ali Khan). Rosario wants a millionaire groom for his daughter and hence insults the middle class groom family and Jai Kishen.
Jai Kishen decides to teach him a lesson and as fate plays he meets Raju at the railway station in Mumbai. Raju (Varun Dhawan) is a porter (coolie) in Mumbai, who is known as Coolie No. 1 among his fellow coolies. He is an orphan and his multiple attempts to get married have failed.
Raju sees Sara’s pictures and falls in love with her. Jaikishen comes up with a plan where Raju (as Kunwar Raj Pratap Singh) acts as heir to a billionaire, visiting Goa for a business trip, and they trick Rosario into marrying his daughter to Raju.
When Raju and Sara move back to Mumbai, Raju acts as if his father is upset with him and has thrown him out of the house. One fine day Rosario visits Mumbai and meets Raju at the railway station and finds out he is a coolie.
Jaikishen comes up with another lie, pretending that coolie is Raj’s twin brother Raju who is already disowned by his father. Rosario then tries to fix his other daughter’s marriage with Raju, but the daughter is already in love with Raju’s friend.
Can Raj manage to keep his identity hidden or will Roasario come to know Pandit and his lies is what the remaining movie deals with.
Ideally for Coolie No. 1 nothing works. Only positive part about the movie is the nostalgia about the old Coolie No. 1 it brings with it.
The movie has a couple of songs from the old Coolie No. 1 (Husn hai Suhana and Main toh raste se ja raha tha) and both of them, though not as good as the old one, are good.
The old Coolie No. 1 relied heavily on performances and camaraderie between Govinda, Karishma, Kader Khan and Sadashiv Amrapurkar. Sadly, In this new version, performances are too over the top and the characters are very bad imitations of old ones.
The film remade after 25 years needs to have some adjustments to fit in current times, but David Dhawan has made no efforts on that part, which is a big negative for the film. The film just copies the sequences resulting in too many loopholes in the plot
All the actors ham their way throughout, not even a single performance is decent. The dialogues are very cringeworthy and none of the jokes cracked is funny. Director has tried to pass on stereotyping and body shaming as comedy which is not at all funny.
The VFX is too poor to say the least, it seems as the director gave up post production efforts as it was going to be released on OTT.
Not even a single performance in Coolie No.1 is worth mentioning. Varun Dhawan as Coolie and Raj, is too over the top. He tries to mimic Govinda and Salman, and as Raju he has mimicked Mithun for the entire second half which is too irritating.
Paresh Rawal as Rosario reprises the role by Kader Khan in the original, and does a very bad job at that. It is disappointing to see an actor of the calibre of Paresh Rawal being wasted this way.
Sara Ali Khan has very little to do and still somehow manages to overact in the limited opportunities. The other artists be it Rajpal Yadav as Sara’s uncle or Johnny Lever as inspector, it is saddening to see them trying hard with badly written dialogues and scenes in this poor remake.
Overall, Coolie No. 1 released in 1995 was thrashed by critics but still went on to do very well on box office. With this new remake, maybe the critics will appreciate how good the old one was.
This Coolie No. 1 is a classic lesson on how not to remake a film. It is a comedy film with no funny punchlines, over the top performances, cringeworthy dialogues and very bad VFX.
If you liked old Coolie No. 1, don’t spoil the good memories. And if you have not watched the old one, go for that instead. This one doesn’t deserve a watch.