Apr 8, 2014

Review: Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007)

Is Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal a Bollywood remake of Goal! or not? I guess the answer is more no than yes. It seems like it's trying to capitalize on the title of Goal! but beyond featuring football there isn't really anything else that's similar. It's centered around a community of Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis who play in a football club on the side of their regular jobs.

Sunny Bhasin who is played by John Abraham is a talented player trying to break into a starting role on the Aston squad. He's the only Pakistani on the team and as a result gets singled out and doesn't get the role he actually deserves as a result. Racism is a recurring theme throughout Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal but never really explored very deeply. It feels cartoony in the way it's presented.
Unlike Aston, Southall is fully composed of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi players but is struggling financially. The property is leased by Mr. Dhariwahl who's had it for decades. Jane Fischer who is part of the city council arrives to announce that the lease is up. Unless they can pay up $3 million they'll be kicked out and a shopping mall will be put instead. This creates a comical situation where the whole affair is compared to British Colonialism.

Shaan Ali Khan is the nephew of Mr. Dhariwahl and vows to do whatever it takes to keep the property in his family. He's also the captain of Southall FC so how exactly can he get the $3 million? Easy, win the tournament.

The team at Southhall is pretty awful so Khan needs help. He recruits Tony Singh who has a long history with Southhall to be the coach. Coach Singh then recruits Sunny Bhasin, the Aston cast out because they absolutely need some talent. Sunny isn't too popular in his community because he's seen as a turncoat but it's never really fully explained what he did. Even his dad refuses to speak to him because of whatever it is he did. He just stares intensely at him.

There is of course some romance in this film and obviously there's a song/dance number. This is a Bollywood movie after all. There's only one real full blown dance number though which isn't too much. At 167 minutes in runtime, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal is still too long and the dance number would be a good scene to cut because it adds nothing to the story.

Southall's first few games don't go very well because the team just fights amongst themselves when goals are scored against them. I also find it inexplicable how Ali Khan is so against Sunny playing on his team. He even physically assaults him. Sunny is clearly the most dangerous weapon on Southall and he needs the money to save his family's plot!

This leads to a great commercial visit to Manchester United's field where Coach Singh wants to inspire his troops by talking about the rich history of MU. It's dramatic and utterly serious. It's also unintentionally hilarious, so there's that.

One good thing I'll say about Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal is that the games that are played don't just rely on overdone, fancy, slo-mo moves. However, the flow and pacing of these games are really uneven and the choice of music adds to the effect. The final game is especially guilty of this and adds some unfortunate green screen into the mix. Green screen is used to represent the stands full of people but it just comes off as really fake looking.

I'm a Marketing student so I just wanted to point out the laughable attempt at some product placement. Reebok becomes a sponsor for Southall and there's a scene where one teammate throws a Reebok shoe to another. The shoe is rendered in poor CGI and spins perfectly through the air. It doesn't last long or anything but really? A CGI spinning shoe?

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal is too long, it does not explore racism very well and acting ranges from OK to poor. It's supposed to be a sports movie but it doesn't portray the sport in a very exciting way. It's either flows weirdly or it's just a series of montages. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a frame for frame re-do of Goal! but this new direction leads nowhere.


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