Movie Review: ‘Coolie No.1’ (Amazon Prime)


When David Dhawan announced that he was going to remake his own classic ‘Coolie No.1’ (1995), he stated that this film would not be replicating the 90s hit film, sadly it was exactly that; an action replay of the original brought up to date for the modern era with a few tweaks to make it ever so slightly different.

If you have watched the original, then you may find it hard not to make comparisons and it’s like you’re playing a game of spot the difference! Everything from the dialogues to the script was pretty much the same, just with a new set of actors playing the characters.

Varun Dhawan (Raju Coolie/Kunwar Mahendra Pratap Singh) has tried to make these characters his own, and you can tell he has worked hard to give it his best. When he was onscreen you do enjoy his performance, and even see him impersonating some legendary actors such as Amitabh Bachchan and Mithun Chakraborty which was impressive. But disappointingly his chemistry with Sara Ali Khan (Sarah Rosario) was amiss. For some reason they just didn’t gel and during the songs it seemed more obvious, they lacked that spark and synchronicity. Even though Dhawan and Ali Khan were not trying to follow in the footsteps of the great Govinda and Karisma Kapoor, it was always going to be a hard task not to be compared!

Paresh Raval steps in to reprise the late Kader Khan’s role as the new Hoshiyaar Chand or Geoffrey Rosario as he is known in the film. Big shoes to fill, but to give him credit he manages to pull it off in typical Raval style. From his screen presence to delivering his one-liners, he does make you chuckle. Dhawan definitely chose the right person to play the loving but money-obsessed father.

Other enjoyable performances have to be from Jaaved Jaaferi who essayed Shaadiram Gharchode, known as Pundit Jai Kishan. His camaraderie with Dhawan, Raval and Sahil Vaid (Deepak) was probably what held this film together. Shikha Talsania (Shalini Rosario), Ali Khan’s sister in the film played a good supporting role and her chemistry with Vaid came off better than the leads! It was nice to see Johnny Lever as the Inspector, that old school comedy acting was quite nostalgic to watch and affirms why he was much-loved in many of the 90s films for the characters he played.

‘Coolie No.1’ is still a family entertainer and is enjoyable if you want to watch something that doesn’t require much thought. Remakes are always risky and in this case if the filmmakers actually put some thought into re-writing the script instead of digging out the old one, then viewers may have appreciated it more.

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