Directed by Raj Kanwar
I only chose to review this movie because it showed up on hulu.com. No library should buy it, but I imagine many people who are curious about Bollywood will watch it on hulu simply because it is easily accessible. If you are interested in Bollywood as a film industry that makes ridiculous movies at which you want to snicker at every aspect, then Deewana is for you. It and countless other Bollywood films trend towards the masala-type aesthetic in which many elements are thrown together, including stock characters, meaningless plots, and songs that do not cohere to the plotline. The only interesting aspect of this film is the inclusion of superstars Rishi Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan. Rishi plays the laughing innocent character, and it seems that he has gotten clubbed in the head since the 70’s — I seriously wondered whether he had sustained a serious head injury when I saw his acting here. In the 1970’s, he took on his various roles with skill and just enough of a wink at the fact that he knew some of it was all just for fun. But in this movie, his performance reminded me of Robbie Benson’s in Our Town–an amateur’s serious take on the role of someone who is supposed to be delightful and solid. As for Shah Rukh, it’s fun to see him in a younger role, and it is also interesting how obvious his charisma is on screen. He’s not my favorite actor, and I don’t think he has quite the chops, acting or dancing wise, as other fellows, but I can’t deny his charisma. He attacks his roles with gusto, and he has a palpable presence. It doesn’t hurt in this film that he rides with a crowd of motorcyclists. But as far as giving the regular viewer a taste of what Bollywood movies are capable of, Deewana falls very short indeed.