Coolie No 1 (2020- Amazon Original): The Curse of Nepotism in Bollywood

A good part of the 90s was a golden time for David Dhawan and Govinda most of which were remakes of Tamil and Telugu films. For example Coolie No 1 is a remake of the Tamizh film Chinna Mapillai. 

David Dhawan is now on a quest to position his son as the next Superstar of Bollywood remaking his own remakes, but then this time it flatters to deceive. Coolie No 1 (1995) itself is a problematic film if you look at it. There is a person who catfishes a female to marry her and the film does not show any remorse on his part and justifies it by saying that as her father wanted her to have a secure life, the daughter deserves to be cheated.

Fast forward to 2020, 25 years later the film is much more problematic. Sara (Sara Ali Khan) manages her family hotel in Goa and her only ambition is to get married. Moreover, she is fine with marrying a rich person that is the only quality she sees in Raju (Varun Dhawan). It is 2020 and Bollywood thinks it is okay for a female character to stop working after marriage in a film. This is especially troublesome, especially when unlike the 90s our top heroines are married and still ruling the roost. 

The film still thinks body shaming and homophobic jokes are funny, given that it is 2020 and India has legalised homosexuality. The point of a remake is to make the film better or adapt to a modern context. Unfortunately, David Dhawan seems to forget this. There is a new animated title which gives the backstory of Raju which does not add up or contribute to the film at all. 

What made Coolie No 1 (1995) work despite the problematic storyline was the acting by Govinda, Kader Khan, Sadashiv, Shakti Kapoor and Karishma Kapoor. Here the camaraderie between the actors is clearly missing. Varun’s constant mimicking of Mithun Chakraborty for the entire second half gets tiring and it stops working after the first scene. 

Varun Dhawan is clearly out of his acting league while reprising the role of Govinda here. 

Coolie No 1 is a classic example of why people are tired of nepotism in Bollywood and creative bankruptcy facing Bollywood. 

My recommendation would be to watch the original film and save your holiday mood. 

P.S. If our actors or makers can still think making fun of accents or languages is funny, then I rest my case. I would have accepted this in 90’s ‘maybe but now even after the exposure to the world if we are still using the same crutches for humour then the fault clearly lies with the makers.

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