Dostana was one of those movies that rode solely and squarely on Amitabh Bachchan's
shoulders. And however accomplished he might be, the role of Atlas proves to
be a little too much of a burden for him, and his shoulders sag. And consequently,
so does the movie.
The name "Dostana" has an entire story to tell any Bollywood fan, conditioned
as we are to the scores of film-makers who consider themselves experts on the
subject of male-bonding.
Vijay (Bachchan) and Ravi (Shatrughan Sinha) are "jigri dosts", swearing eternal
friendship and loyalty to each other. Vijay is the honest and efficient police
inspector, Ravi the not-so-honest but equally efficient lawyer. Both meet Sheetal
(Zeenat Aman) under different circumstances, and both promptly fall for her.
How surprising, no?
Sheetal prefers the tall and cocky Vijay, but a confession by Ravi about his
feelings for Sheetal sends Vijay into jitters and he decides to sacrifice his
love for friendship. Fortunately, Sheetal refuses to comply, a certain and welcome
improvement over previous movies in this genre.
Ravi takes Sheetal's rejection and Vijay's betrayal quite personally, and, with
the help of Vijay's enemy, Daka (Prem Chopra), sets out to make life miserable
for his erstwhile friend. After a few clashes, some heavy dialogue-baazi and
a lot of senti stuff, the misunderstanding clears and they become friends again.
But Daka does not give up so easily, and so the movie ends with more violence
than love in the air.
Interspersed with this tale is the one that speaks of Vijay's victories over
the smuggler, Daka. This provides plenty of opportunity for some unbelievable
action sequences involving bridges, cars, trains and helicopters, which Bachchan
handles with efficient ease. The rest of the cast is as impressive as you would
expect in this kind of a movie, but you often get the feeling that they have
been plucked right out of another movie to be planted here. Zeenat Aman's dress
code is confusing - she looks like a peacock in the first half, a housewife
in the second.
The songs, except for the title track, have nothing much to offer. But Dostana
is not altogether unwatchable. If you enjoy action sequences and don't mind
a little bit of stereotyping, you might enjoy it. And if you are a fan of the
Big B, nothing I say makes any difference, does it?