Priyadarshan is on a mission; the mission being, to create a worthy successor to Hera Pheri or something close. And it is this quest that restricts the creativity of a talented maker like him. Because, a Hera Pheri happens; it cannot be devised. The poster boys of the film, Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty and Paresh Rawal are common to De Dana Dan.
The story is about Nitin Bankar (Akshay Kumar), a servant cum driver of ‘Madam’, a rich, heartless lady (Archana Puran Singh), his friend Ram Mishra (Suneil Shetty), a courier boy and Harbans Chaddha (Paresh Rawal). All three of them are under heavy debts. While the fathers of both the heroes’ girlfriends (Katrina Kaif) and (Sameera Reddy) are against their match, Paresh Rawal is scheming to trade his son (Chunkey Pandey) against dowry so that he can ward off his creditors. To marry their girlfriends and get out of debt, Akshay and Suniel plan to kidnap Madam’s pet dog ‘Moolchandji’. Everybody (from Paresh Rawal with his son Chunkey Pandey to a ‘peshewar khooni’ Johnny Lever) land up in the same hotel where Akshay Kumar and Suneil Shetty are hiding after their failed kidnap drama.
While, initially it is only Akshay and Katrina Kaif who share the screen, Suneil Shetty enters much later. However, even when Akshay and Suniel combine, there is not much happening except for some forced gags. It is only when more characters enter the arena and the total action shifts to a hotel where a wedding is planned, where hired killer Johnny Lever is camping and where Akshay, Suneil, Katrina and Sameera shack up waiting for the ransom money, the fun starts. As more and more characters fill up the screen, it is they who create ripples of laughter, salvaging the film. Also, there is no interaction between Akshay-Suneil with Paresh Rawal, which one would take for granted. Besides, Akshay vanishes in much of the later parts.
The film needs no histrionics and Akshay or Suneil offer none. Since there are no intense romantic songs, Katrina and Sameera Reddy just provide glamour quotient. Paresh Rawal excels but he would have been more fun had he been provided a foil. Neha Dhupia does her bit very well. Much of the comic relief comes from Johnny Lever, Asrani and Rajpal Yadav while Sharat Saxena is good. Rest fill the bill.
Directorially, Priyadarshan is visible only in later parts, deftly handling multiple actors and cleverly executing the climax scenes. Music is mundane. Photography is good. As for dialogue, there are no witty repartees and only the gags save the situation.
De Dana Dan has an open week and an additional holiday of Eid to help it make it to the safety mark.