This is not a sequel, but a fresh instalment, say the makers of the Deol family enterprise. The third ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’ movie is about an ‘Ayurvedic’ medicine practitioner in Amritsar who is threatened by a pharmaceutical company in Gujarat. The cursed Western style allopathic corporation wants to steal his herbal formulae and make patents from it for distribution to the rest of India. Naturally, the prices will be much higher after the proposed take-over, and the poor of Punjab, kept in good health by Pooran (Sunny Deol), and his forefathers, will no longer have access to inexpensive and safe medication.
So Pooran refuses, point blank, the offer from the CEO of Marfatia Pharmaceuticals (Mohan Kapoor). Since he also belongs to the ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’ style of commercial negotiation, he lands a few hefty blows on the jaw of Mr. Marfatia and breaks his teeth. The man swears revenge and hatches a dastardly plot. He sends a pretty doctor called Chikoo (Kriti Kharbanda) to intern with Poornan’s establishment and learn about the benefits of Ayurveda. Chikoo is a surgeon, but so impressed is she by our ancient system of medicine, that she is ready to abandon her scalpel for a pounding stone, and crush ‘jaribootia’ into fine powder to cure blindness, impotence and the like.
What she also does is to photograph the secret formulae for these powders, salts and crushed leaves, and send them to Marfatia to patent for national distribution. Unfortunately, by this time, Kaala (Bobby Deol), the good-for-nothing forty plus bachelor brother of Pooran, has fallen in love with Chikoo and is ready to give up the nightly bottle of rum that keeps him in good humour, and the family on even keel. The family looks headed to calamity. As good luck would have it, the tenant living upstairs, an elderly gentleman called Jaywant Parmar (Dharmendra), is a lawyer. He knocks some sense about the benefit of alcohol into Kaala. He is also ready to fight the Ayurveda versus Western medicine battle in the courts of Gujarat.
The movie is stuffed to the gills with cliches about the differences between Punjabis and Gujaratis, with a number of favourable views expressed on the former community’s happy and enjoyable lifestyle, as compared to the latter’s forbiddingly ascetic one. The Gujaratis want to ban chicken eating and alcohol consumption. The film shows this to be a demonstrably hypocritical attitude, since the esteemed Dr. Chikoo, now back in Gujarat with a brand new clinic earned for her skullduggery in Amritsar, drinks like a fish. She downs tequila shots and gyrates wildly, in skimpy clothes, to disco music. This is decidedly Punjabi behaviour, and her neighbours are scandalised with her lack of ethnic loyalty.
‘Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se’ is poorly made cinema, unconvincing in performance, script and technique. Amazingly, whenever there is talk about our ancient heritage, a new instalment of a film series appears, in order to validate the contemporary argument on the importance of our traditions – in this case, Ayurveda. It is really amazing how the makers of ‘masala’ Hindi movies, have this itch to gravitate towards the flavour of our political season.