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    I Re-Watched "Dostana" As A Queer Adult, And I Wish This Movie Could Shut Up And Bounce From My Memory

    Dostana basically tried very hard to convince me that Bobby Deol is hot, but failed miserably.

    I am going to start this post with a confession — I was ten years old when "Dostana" first came out and the only memory I have is of the film making headlines on every news channel. That was when my extraordinarily smart brain went, "Hahahahahha, look at how these news channels are spelling the word 'guy' wrong". This was something I proclaimed to everyone and their mother.

    Dharma Productions

    Cut to 2021 — it’s pride month and we have come so far in terms of queer representation in India, so it only makes sense for me to go back to my roots and re-watch this gem.  

    So here we go: A glistening, well-oiled, and super-tanned John Abraham appears!

    Dharma Productions

    "Dostana" opens with a shot of Kunal (played by John Abraham) emerging out of the water, while the iconic "Shut Up And Bounce" plays in the background, and Shilpa Shetty dances on the beaches of Miami. 

    I mean this is exactly what happens on the beaches of Miami, on the daily, right? Just people brooding, dancing, and flexing their unparalleled beauty. Right???!!!???

    We're introduced to Sam (Abhishek Bachchan), who is a nurse because he likes giving sponge baths — really weird reason to go to med school, if you ask me. Kunal, on the other hand, is a photographer.

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    I am ten minutes into the movie and I am yet to see this man wear proper clothes.

    Dharma Productions

    Or he maybe just doesn’t know how to wear clothes??? But, hey! I’m not here to ask these questions.

    This movie really set out to give the gays what they want!

    Dharma Productions

    Queer representation? Complex characters? An intriguing storyline? — Naaaah!

    Two and a half hours of meticulously curated clothes that show John Abraham in the thirstiest way possible? — YES! A thousand times yes!

    On that note:

    Rajshri Productions

    Sam and Kunal are looking for a new apartment and both of them somehow end up in the same place. And only in the DCU (Dharma Cinematic Universe) can a nurse and a photographer afford a house that has a fantastic view of the Miami skyline and comes with an indoor pool and concierge service.

    Dharma Productions

    But they don’t get the house because the owner — whose outfit choices affirm my faith in the sentiment that rich people DO NOT deserve to have money — says that she will only allow girls to rent the apartment.  

    Kunal and Sam are justifiably bummed out and go and eat hotdogs. Why? Because if there’s not at least one innuendo with hotdogs in this movie, our lives will just not be complete. Conveniently, they run into a gay person, who helps Sam come up with the idea that they should pose as a gay couple and get the apartment.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    Kunal finally agrees to this plan.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    The things I do for l̶o̶v̶e̶ a house.

    But wait! There's trouble in paradise because here comes Neha (Priyanka Chopra).

    Dharma Productions

    Neha squeals with delight when she finds out that Kunal and Sam are gay. To me, she just seems like the girl who’ll throw a "YASSSSS QWEEN! WERK! OMG DIVAAA" every fucking moment — at every gay person she happens to meet. 

    Gays, you know who I’m talking about. Girls, you know who you are. SMH.

    Sam narrates his made up story about how he and Kunal met, which basically goes like this: Sam confesses his love, Kunal ghosts him at first and then sends him a love letter. And now, they're living h̶a̶p̶p̶i̶l̶y̶ snappily ever after. 

    Btw, being ghosted is the one thing this movie has gotten absolutely right about gay culture.

    To drive home the fact that they truly belonged with each other, the costume department put them on two different ends of the gay fashion™ spectrum.

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    Even by 2008’s standard — COME ON!  

    A quick reminder at this point — We still don't know how Neha bought this apartment or what she does for a living, but what we do know is that her parents died in a car crash. Perhaps that’s the kind of trauma that leads you to this? I dunno!

    Dharma Productions

    Neha advises Sam and Kunal to apply for Kunal’s residency permit as a couple so that he can get it within a year. Well, I am just going to believe her because I don’t have that kind of dedication for this movie to actually look up facts.

    Enter M, which stands for Murli, which also stands for a poor man's version of Miranda Priestly. I swear, ever since "The Devil Wears Prada" released, every gay guy with a shirt from Zara thinks he's THAT bitch.

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    No. Sorry but you're absolutely not that bitch. 

    Gay men of the world, I am taking this opportunity to say that please, please feel free to release yourselves from the shackles of being a self-appointed expert in fashion and culture critique. You don't have to bear this burden.

    Anyway, a bunch of people end up at Neha and co.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    And why are they here, you ask?

    M — Because Neha wants Sam and Kunal to seduce him into giving his position to Neha. If this isn't several thousand layers of messed up, I don't really know what is. But hey, it flies in the DCU!

    Sam’s mom — Remember the whole immigration plot line? YEP. So that letter has managed to reach Sam’s mother and she shows up with raging homophobia.

    The immigration officer— Well, because there has to be at least one more stereotype in the scene.

    *The oh-so-popular "Maa Da Ladla" comes on* — Don’t hate me, but the song lowkey slaps in an ironic, but also not an ironic way. You get me?

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    Now that we're done with all the song and dance, it's time for Abhimanyu (Bobby Deol) to make a grand entrance.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    And his entrance gets THIS reaction.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    I can tolerate these over-the-top queer tropes but I draw the line at anything that tries to convince me that Bobby Deol is hot. Just no. Strike one.  

    Also, the first thing Abhimanyu does is give the job of redesigning the magazine to Priyanka. Does this work IRL? I mean, bro, you just met her.

    Neha is now having a bit of a crisis thinking about how she’ll pull this off. Sam tries to placate her by saying that everyone hates their jobs. But Kunal decides to be THAT person in a group project who just does not contribute.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    The lesson here is if you want to succeed in life, just be a straight guy with abs.  

    Since this is the DCU, the boys are all falling in love with one person in particular. Who would've guessed, right? This, obviously, is depicted by a lot intense staring and smiling because #sanskaar.

    Dharma Productions/Aqib Khan

    To that end, when Kunal is not in town, Sam seizes the opportunity to get romantic with Neha. And what does he do? Well, he books her A WHOLE GODDAMN amusement park.

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    Again, how much do nurses earn in America?

    Soon after, a demon...err...child suddenly makes an appearance.

    Dharma Productions

    We’re supposed to feel the feels for him because his mom left him and Neha accidentally steps on his ice cream.

    But no, I am not falling for that. Thank you, next, demon-child.

    PS: He is also Abhimanyu's son.

    It’s Neha’s birthday and time for Kunal to shine so he arranges a wine, dine, and s̶i̶x̶t̶y̶ ̶n̶i̶n̶e̶ rain dance experience for her. Oh and yes, they're watching "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai".

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    I told you, we're deep into the DCU.

    The shady bunch are now at an auction where Sam and Kunal accidentally destroy an artefact. I would also totally destroy this shit on purpose (Reason 2 why rich people should not be allowed to have money).

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    Important note: This is the first time we see Kunal in proper clothes.

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    *Two minutes later*

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    Never mind.

    We’re somehow transported into a 2000s saas-bahu vamp sub-plot wherein Sam's Komolika and Kunal's Ramola are trying hard to break Neha and Abhimanyu up (yes, they are together), by making him do the opposite of what Neha wants.

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     Dude, all Neha wants is for “someone to make her feel like a girl”. Duh.

    Their master plan does not work and Neha ends up thinking that they’re in love with Abhimanyu. Oh boy — strike two. Like Neha, your attraction to this man is already making this movie extremely unrealistic. Please don’t drag Kunal’s abs into your personal Disneyland.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    Demon-child is scared that Neha will replace him and send him to boarding school. And we all know that this is courtesy of our very own DCU Komolika and Ramola. But no, I am still not falling for your puppy face, li'l demon.

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    Oh and here's strike three.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    This movie is really testing my patience at this point.  

    Abhimanyu was totally going to propose to Neha, but doesn't because of demon spawn (Do you agree with me now?) and, to make matters more complicated, Kunal and Sam confess their love for her at the same time.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    Neha breaks down — weird thing to be sad about, if you ask me. 

    "Oh noooo! My life sucks now because three guys are in love with me instead of one" — Real first world problem.

    Anyway, major drama ensues and the group splits up. Neha is feeling the FOMO without her homo(s).

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    Oh but wait — After yet another song break, Sam and Kunal have an epiphany and decide to come clean about their evil plans. They apologise to Neha and Abhimanyu by publicly acknowledging that they’re actually not gay.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    But that's obviously not enough for Abhimanyu, so the best thing he could come up with, as a form of punishment, was asking them to kiss in front of everybody! Hilarious — NOT.

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    Is there any logic to this? No. Do I have an explanation for it? Nope. I told you, this movie was testing my patience.

    Maybe he just REALLY wants you to think that he’s not gay. *Wink Wink*

    Dharma Productions/Md Aqib Khan

    Yeah! He is *totally not gay*.

    To sum up, what did we learn from this movie? Children are basically demons and the "Bobby Deol is SO hot" propaganda will just not work on me. Oh and promoting gay stereotypes is perfectly okay.

    h/t to Imaan Sheikh for her "Accurate and Honest Summaries".

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