Son Of Sardaar review by Anupama Chopra

India, Nov. 13 -- Direction: Ashwni Dhir

Actors: Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Sanjay Dutt

Rating: **

In 1923, Buster Keaton directed a delightful comedy titled Our Hospitality, about a multi-generational family feud. The last descendent of one family returns to his native village after many years. The rival family wants to kill him but they have a rule about not harming houseguests, so as long as he is in their house, he's safe.

Now, 89 years later, the story arrives in Bollywood via Telugu cinema (SS Rajamouli first made it here, as Maryada Ramanna). In the hands of director and co-writer Ashwni Dhir, it has become one of those high-decibel, low-IQ masala movies that hit the screen every few months.

These aren't so much films as series of running gags, interspersed with action sequences, instantly forgettable songs and nonsensical dialogue. The idea, I think, is to be entertained without straining your brain. I'm all for it, as long as there is significant entertainment.

There was none here.

Son of Sardaar is exhausting, painfully loud and way too long, with too few laughs.

Ajay Devgn as the buffoonish and burly Jassi has some moments of genuine comedy, but Sanjay Dutt, playing the ferocious Billu Paaji, is just large and lumbering. The one bright spot here is Juhi Chawla as Billu Paaji's mooh-boli biwi - she sparkles in every scene she has.

Son of Sardaar made me miss Rohit Shetty, the reigning king of this type of cinema. That says it all.

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Son of Sardaar

Budget: Rs. 30 crore

Number of screens booked: Around 1,700

Promotional strategy: Ajay Devgn has gone all out for the film. He and Sonakshi sung the national anthem at the Delhi F1 race, shot for a special Diwali programme (for Star) and appeared on reality shows (KBC and Bigg Boss). In addition to a YouTube campaign, it has also generated some buzz on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

Buzz so far: For an item song, 'Po po', Ajay roped in Salman Khan. The music is fast gaining popularity.

Diwali clashes in the last five years

2011: RA.One, Tell Me O Kkhuda and Damadamm

Only RA.One worked moderately well.

2010: Golmaal 3 and Action Replayy

Golmaal 3 was the bigger hit.

2009: All The Best, Main Aur Mrs Khanna and Blue

Only All The Best made any profit.

2008: Fashion, Golmaal Returns, Roadside Romeo and Heroes

Only the first two did well.

2007: Saawariya and Om Shanti Om (OSO)

OSO was the clear winner.

- With inputs from Shalvi Mangaokar

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.