Directed by Rohit Dhawan. Starring Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, and Chitrangda Singh. In Hindi with English subtitles. Rated PG.
In Rohit Dhawan’s first film, Desi Boyz, he follows in his father David’s directorial footsteps by creating an extended sophomoric male fantasy that is predicated on the audience suspending their logic, judgment, and good taste.
The film is set in some imagined projection of London where Hindi and English can be used interchangeably and which bears no relation to the actual experience of the South Asian diaspora in the U.K. Jerry (Akshay Kumar) is a college dropout and mall cop whose lifestyle is dependent on the earnings of his friend and roommate, Nick (John Abraham). Things change rapidly when the recession hits and Nick loses his job as a financial analyst the same day that Jerry gets fired.
The pressure is on as Nick fears losing his high-maintenance fiancée, Radhika (Deepika Padukone), and Jerry’s custody of his orphaned nephew is threatened by social services. They turn to the lucrative escort business and are pimped out by the owner of the Desi Boyz agency (Sanjay Dutt).
They take to their new jobs like pros, and this provides the premise for extended sequences where the boys dance to a series of awful songs surrounded by scores of white women who stare into the camera with vacant eyes. These scenes are interchanged with ones where the male leads walk in slow motion toward the camera, often without shirt, so that we can admire their upper-body musculature and the apelike expressions on their faces.
Although Akshay Kumar hits the same notes as he does in every film, this role is beneath the talents of John Abraham, whose work in films like New York reveal his potential. This might have worked if the film had more heart. As it is, it is just sad.