Producer Karan Johar presented a movie (not directed by him) titled as Dostana in 2008 which starred Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham, Bobby Deol and above all, Abhishek Bachchan whom he had earlier directed in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006) alongwith his legendary father – Amitabh Bachchan. This relatively new movie is a comedy and Karan had used this title because of having its copyrights for the past three decades as his father – Yash Johar had made a movie under the same title in 1980. Today I am presenting the review of that old Dostana whose lead cast features none other than Amitabh Bachchan himself. This movie is not a comedy but an action-emotion-packed thriller written by the renowned writer-duo, Salim-Javed and directed by the famous film director, Raj Khosla.Dostana (friendship) is the story of the friendship of a cop, Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) and a criminal lawyer, Ravi (Shatrughan Sinha). Ravi’s father had fostered Vijay just like his son and sponsored his education as well. Now these close friends of childhood are moving ahead in their respective careers without allowing the professional commitments to create any block in their enviable friendship. Ravi’s professional services have been hired by a smuggler – Daaga (Prem Chopra) and he gets his men bailed out from the court whenever they are arrested and booked by Vijay. A mysterious person – Tony (Pran) acts as an informer for Vijay. Now comes the twist in the tale.
It’s an Indian saying that there are three main reasons for dispute (between males) – 1. Jar (wealth), 2. Joroo (woman), 3. Zameen (land). And true to this saying, the very strong friendship of Vijay and Ravi suffers a jolt on account of a girl whom both these bachelors fall for. This girl is Sheetal (Zeenat Aman) who comes into contact of both Ravi and Vijay and things move in such a way that Ravi falls in love with Sheetal without knowing her feelings for him. On the other hand, Sheetal and Vijay get smitten by each other and love blossoms between them like anything. When Daaga comes to know of this fact, he utilizes it to distance Ravi from Vijay. The friends remain no more friends when Ravi gets to know of the relationship of Sheetal and Vijay. However when a man of Daaga’s gang (Sajjan) dies in the police custody and Vijay is charged for his murder, Sheetal has to approach Ravi to save him. What happens thereafter takes the story to its desired finale.Dostana is a damn interesting movie which I had watched on the big screen of the club of McNally Bharat Engineering Company Limited at Kumaardhubi (Bihar) which I had visited as a member of the audit team while undergoing my C.A. course in 1988. And I liked it so much that I watched it on TV many times in later years. This movie is so entertaining that I am never tired of watching it again and again. Friendship, rivalry for a girl’s love, romance, comedy, action, sentiments and a little bit of suspense; all the Bollywoodish formulae have been mixed and remixed so well in the narrative and it has been directed so proficiently that if something is missing in it, it’s boredom only. Once you are in, you will not be willing to leave this movie even for a couple of minutes in between.
The courtroom scenes involving Shatrughan Sinha (playing the role of a criminal lawyer) are quite impressive and the seasoned script-writers who are the dialog-writers as well have shown their class once again. Despite being too simplistic, the court-room scenes are just too good and must have been able to generate claps in the theatres when this movie was released. And keeping the angry young man image of the larger than life hero – Amitabh Bachchan, scenes have been written specially for him. The scene in which Amitabh slaps Prem Chopra’s man (Amrish Puri) in his presence is highly effective and quite in line with the towering personality of the legendary hero of the Indian cinema.Romance between Amitabh and Zeenat has been exasperated quite well. Their romantic interactions alongwith the song Teri Meri Dosti Pyar Mein Badal Gayi are heart-winners. There is a good balance between romance and comedy on one hand and action and thrill on the other in the script. The friendship of the heroes and its breakage proves to be the icing on the cake.
Dostana is one of the few movies done by Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha together and both of them have done superbly. Alongwith the seasoned writers, the seasoned director (Raj Khosla) has also left no stone unturned in utilizing the talent and the popularity of the twosome to the optimum. That was the time when the advertisements of action-packed movies were given in the newspapers as – …. vs …. And in the same line, the advertisement of Dostana used to be published in those days as – Amitabh Bachchan vs. Shatrughan Sinha. Well, it’s a pleasure to watch first the friendship and then the enmity of these two stalwarts on the screen which has been presented quite admirably by the filmmaker.
Zeenat Aman was at the peak of her career at that time and she has completed the glamour quota alongwith some good acting too. Pran, Prem Chopra and Helen have also done exceedingly well. The character of Helen is such in the script that it takes you aback as the story heads towards its ending scene. All others are also perfectly in place.
Technically and production value wise, the movie is up to the mark. Editing is sharp. The fight and chase sequences have been executed very well. The narrator has not allowed the momentum of the movie to slacken at any place. The pre-climax scene involving Zeenat Aman and Shatrughan Sinha reminds me of the climax of a classic movie – Aarti (1962) involving Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar.
Laxmikant Pyarelaal have composed good songs for the movie. The music may not be great but it’s quite pleasant for sure. The lyrics of Anand Bakshi are quite touching for the songs – Bane Chaahe Dushman Zamaana Hamaara (the title track), Mere Dost Kissa Ye Kya Ho Gaya and Kitna Aasaan Hai Kehna Bhool Jao. Dillagi Ne Di Hawa (Teri Meri Dosti Pyar Mein Badal Gayi) and Bahut Khoobsurat Jawaan Ek Ladki are full of romance and frolic. The latter one is Kishore Kumar’s solo whereas the former one is a duet of Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle. I love watching Dostana again and again because it has a great repeat value. Whether or not you are a fan of Amitabh Bachchan or Shatrughan Sinha (or both), you will love them in the movie. It’s a formula-based Bollywood movie with guaranteed entertainment presented by Yash Johar, the father of Karan Johar. If you want wholesome entertainment for more than two and a half hours, please don’t miss it.
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