About the story: Jai (Sanjay Dutt) and Veeru (Govinda) are a well-attuned team of crooks playing their tricks all over Mumbai in most different disguises. During a fight at a gambling table with Jai and Veeru, Tiger (Rajat Bedi), brother of underworld don Sir John (Ashish Vidyarthi), gets lethally injured. In Sir John’s eyes, Jai and Veeru are his brother’s murderers, and now he has it in for them so the two friends escape to Goa. On their journey they meet NRI Vikram Singh (Aashif Sheikh) who just has returned from the U.S.A. Without further ado, Jai usurps Vikram’s identity and thus gains access to the NRI’s extended family in Goa, headed by industrialist Rai Bahadur (Anupam Kher) who hopes that "Vikram" will save the ailing family business. And indeed, Jai and his "personal assistant" Veeru shake things up in every way and as a sideline win the hearts of Rinky (Monica Bedi) and Tina (Twinkle Khanna). But Sir John keeps dogging their footsteps as well as the Mumbai police...
"Never change a winning team" is probably David Dhawan’s motto. In this case even in a double sense as he not only once again worked with Govinda, his leading actor in many other comedies, he also combined him again with Sanjay Dutt. After some former and more dramatic joint films in the end-80es and in the early 90es (among them Do Qaidi, a film Jodi No. 1 in one scene is shortly alluding to) Sanjay and Govinda had proved to be a delightful comedy duo in Haseena Maan Jaayegi. So now they should become the top duo = "jodi no. 1", and to underline these ambitions, their film figures got the names of the classical Sholay jodi Jai and Veeru (Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra), and this was not even an innuendo as Jai and Veeru permanently use Sholay parallels themselves.
Only that this plan didn’t work out. The story idea was quite nice, even though not new (Sanjay himself had interpreted it more worth seeing in Khoobsurat). But firstly, Anupam as the head of the family (in contradicition to his Khoobsurat colleague Anjaan Srivastav) fights a losing battle as the rest of the family leaves you rather cold; Anupam without doubt does his best but he plays against a vacuum. And secondly, even together as a jodi, Jai and Veeru are not half as lovable as Sanju alone is in Khoobsurat. Their permanent "control yourself yaar – not able to" is equally unnerving as Govinda’s harangues where you regularly want to turn down the volume regulator. Sanjay is visibly good-willed but can hardly excel anyhow as he is completely underemployed with this undemanding role and drowns in Govinda's nonstop jabbering. In a film like Jodi No. 1 Sanju’s sense for comedy is completely wasted. Sorry.
In short: Jodi No. 1 is no matter of duty, except you have a strong liking for simple slapstick and buddy comedies (which, on the other hand, are unscrupulous enough to make an innocent man suffer and die – another detail I resent this film for). If you are keen to watch Sanjay in an undemanding comedy film you surely get better off with Haseena Maan Jaayegi. Unless you’re dying to see Sanju in a Super-Zorro outfit – appear, Great Shakthiman! *g*
Produced by Dhirajlal Shah; Directed by David Dhawan
151 Min.; DVD: Eros, English Subtitles (not for the songs)