Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bol Bachchan provides silly humor but is fairly engaging

The first trailer of Bol Bachchan came out less than 2 months ago, emblazoned with the tagline 'Rohit Shetty and team are back'. Clearly, his equity as a director leaps ahead of many of his peers by a fair distance who are lesser known even at the time of their movies' release. Every production house wants to sign Rohit Shetty today because his wily ways fetch meaty returns at the Box Office. Following the first trailer, none of the songs or promos let go of the slam-bang Rohit Shetty style and ergo had almost failed to plant a must-watch element in my head. However, over the last week, 3-4 random people, in an otherwise disconnected conversation, brought up Bol Bachchan with much predilection for it stating how they were waiting for it. One would fancy as to how did Bol Bachchan garner so much word of mouth with not the most popular cast or music or ebullient marketing gimmicks. There is something about Rohit Shetty movies as they scuttle their way to grab the attention of the common man without much effort. I personally enjoyed Singham, but hated Golmaal 2 and 3, Shettys last three ventures. Bol Bachchan skeptically looked to belong to the crop of movies where Shetty's phalanx hands out another package of crap, in lieu of humor. But seeing the excitement amongst the common audience, I was prepared for a thumping opening. The surprise for this weekend is that Bol Bachchan isn't actually that bad, infact it is far from terrible.

What may seem a minuscule-ish factor but has actually helped Bol Bachchan is that the makers never bothered to project it as a remake, even when it is one, of Golmaal (1979) starring Amol Palekar. Most of the people talking about this one are oblivious to this piece of information which avoids any comparisons or divisions amongst the audience. Stealing the premise from a cult classic lent a vital bassline to Bol Bachchan at the cost of forgoing originality. They even go one step further and juggle this one with the spoofs of the original and constant references to it. However, the remake has been adapted into a new framework that yahoos about eye-popping colors, disruptive drama and imbecilic humor. Despite the constant silliness and pedestrian stuff, Bol Bachchan does not completely disengage you at any moment. The clunky plot is infused with redundant contrivances and lazy conveniences, where in Devgn's sister played by Prachi Desai is kidnapped and rescued twice in 2 hours in almost the same fashion shamelessly. The unnecessary break out into the most unreal action sequences every now and then shortchanges the screenplay by Sajid-Farhad which otherwise provides some genuine laughs. Bol Bachchan does not get dull at any instant because Shetty manages to maintain a supply of engaging sequences mainly revolving around the main confusion of the double identity and all the characters associated with it. The running gag of bad spoken English on Ajay's character could have the audience shrieking in laughter till the end, if not for Abhishek's alternate act as the pansy, as long as you are ready to be desensitized for the sake of humor. Akin to his claims, Shetty delivers a ramshackle cramped outing that contains a whiff of a plot but is handled well enough to induce laughs by sacrificing logic and inject emotions by serving cliched cheese. Shetty provides a mixture of all elements that muddles the narrative at a mildly sluggish pace for upto 2 hours 30 minutes.

Bol Bachchan is produced by Ajay Devgn Films and Shree Ashtavinyak Films. Since Shetty and Devgn have been collaborating for past so many films, BB boasts of all arrangements for an unencumbered filmmaking process. Music by Himesh Reshammiya and Ajay-Atul is passable and does not render a single memorable track. Cinematography by Dudley captures the glimpses of a small Indian town well with all its outrageously garishness. Editing by Steven Bernard could have done with some serious chopping to make it slicker. Production Design by Narendra Rahurikar is gawdy. Dialogues by Sajid-Farhad are a fantastical bunch of crass and lameness but they altruistically become pivotal in keeping you entertained. Stunts have been designed by Rohit Shetty himself and they only seem more unintentionally hilarious with each passing film.

Ajay Devgn is the soul of Bol Bachchan as he brings a wiry jumpiness to the screen everytime he appears. Devgn sinks his teeth into the character of a blonde-head village leader wanting to speak English and comes out with an earnest performance that counts for the majority of laughs. His crackling presence makes up for most of the fallacies in the screenplay. Abhishek Bachchan gets a meaty role but lacks the sunny charisma to play it without having to mooch from his previous roles. However, his portrayal of the effeminate character is eyeroll inducing funny, despite being tremendously cliched and insensitive. Asin and Prachi Desai do not get any scope to do anything out of the ordinary and get completely wasted. Neeraj Vora, as Ajay's right hand, is obnoxiously over-the-top and pretentiously hammy in a contrived role. Asrani is loud and annoying at most times. Krushna Abhishek lands a substantial role as the sidekick but ranges from pesky to comical in terms of acting. Archana Puran Singh, roped in to play a well-written character, is functionally funny delivering an efficient performance.

Bol Bachchan is not an entirely terrible film as it constantly retains its entertainment value. Rohit Shetty has always denounced critics and made his kind of masala films with much conviction. His movies cash in on the formulas that are thick into the hinterland. Bol Bachchan is already looking at a robust weekend and the word of mouth seems indefatigable for the first week which promises a much needed hit for Abhishek. I have never been against brainless comic capers as long as they are engaging and Bol Bachchan fits in well into the 'complete family entertainment' requirement of the majority audience in India and abroad. Despite being amusing for most parts, one could have done with a lot more on this idea. Go for it for Ajay Devgn who keeps it alive!

Rating - 2.5/5

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