Govinda, the poor man's Amitabh Bachchan, the simpleton, the buffoon. Only,
these stereotypes of him have been appreciated and cheered only when those films
belong to the genre called slapstick - the leave-your-brains-behind-at-home,
David Dhawan steered comedies. His attempts at trying the same antics in a pathetically
illogical, dragging, hackneyed film like Albela, which does not even not claim
to be so, makes him a miserable parody of his original self. An actor who otherwise
has few rivals to match his timing in the comedy that he specializes in, Govinda's
foolishness gets onto your nerves here. So even what could have been the only
saving grace of this movie goes kaput.
Watching this kitsch, you wonder how demented filmmakers can get. They can get
a much-in-demand actress like Aishwarya Rai to act for them and spend crores
shooting in exotic locations, but they don't bother with basic things like doing
their homework on the script front. And when you see sensible, hard-hitting
films like Satya made on shoestring budgets and with virtual novices become
huge commercial hits, you wonder how lots of money makes some people lose respect
The stupidity piques you from the start itself. Tony (Govinda) is a tourist
guide in an island near Goa called Malaga. Honey Irani, the scriptwriter couldn't
get more foolish than that. Malaga is actually a port in Spain. In this film
Malaga is shown to be a part of India and inhabited by Indians, but the filming
has been done in places like Mauritius and Maldives.
A soothsayer has told Tony that a princess would come to Malaga and change his
fortunes. Sure enough, Sonia (Rai), the daughter of an Austrian ambassador (Syed
Jaffrey, whose hamming in this movie can be matched only by the senility in
his performance), comes to Malaga in search of the grave of her mother, who
has returned to India as soon as Sonia was born, despite her husband's objections.
Sonia hires Tony as her guide, and Govinda's histrionics are supposed to suggest
that he is already in love with her. Tony has a friend Nina (Namrata Shirodkar)
who loves him but who is used as a doormat by him remorselessly. Tony, as we
have said earlier, is foolish enough not to understand the difference between
a doormat and a bombshell. Now we have Tony's fantasies and songs at the most
illogical pretexts. Nina, meanwhile, pukes at the name of madam memsahib being
mentioned by Tony.
Sonia finds her mama's grave and decides to leave Malaga, when she encounters
a journalist Prem (a jaded, withered, man for all occasions: Jackie Shroff)
just before the intermission. A flashback shows Prem as a journalist with a
Hindi newspaper (and wearing Armani, traveling in a limousine and carrying a
laptop - no khadi-kurta-stubble stereotypes here). When he once goes to Austria
to interview the Ambassador, he meets Sonia and they fall in love. But our already
screaming Ambassador will have none of it, and after a harangue about Indians,
asks him to get lost.
The chance encounter in Malaga now keeps the inanity alive and they both prance
around. Our buffoon, meanwhile, relentlessly fantasizes singing with his memsahib.
The only difference between one fantasy and the other is the jarring increases
in the brightness of the shirts worn.
One fine day, to the dismay of Sonia and to the pain of the viewers, the senile
ambassador drops in. The scene of confrontation between Tony and Mr. Senile
will be one of the loudest, the most irritating and the most noisome scenes
for eons to come. And to top it all, it was supposed to be a comic scene.
When Mr. Senile comes to know about the Sonia-Journo affair, he asks Sonia to
pack her bags for Austria (which she has been doing since the beginning of the
movie). Sonia decides to take the buffoon along with her to get him a job there.
The climax starts here, and finally this doormat-loves-guide-loves-memsahib-loves-journo-loves-memsahib
thing comes to an abrupt and a happy ending (for everyone).
Rai looks her pre-HDDCS days with her gawky hairdo and unkempt makeup. Since
Govinda has already failed here and Jackie Shroff has long lost his fans, it's
Shirodkar with a 4-1/2 scene footage that looks like the crowd-puller. Any takers?