Film Review: Bol Bachchan

Directed by: Rohit Shetty

Starring: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Prachi Desai

All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com

Sometimes, I am left in bemused wonderment that the director of one of my favourite films of 2011, Singham also made the dreadful Golmaal 3 (which I loathe with a passion). But then just like actors, directors also have a spectrum of excellence in their work, so that they get it right at times and dreadfully wrong at others. As for Bol Bachchan (BB), it sits somewhere in the middle between Singham and Golmaal 3. To be fair, it is on par with the first installment of Golmaal (which I quite like) which will be the yardstick for whether you like BB or not.

I thought BB had quite a lot going for it – inspired by the 70’s classic Golmaal (seriously, someone needs to perform a title intervention – there are too many Golmaals!) the premise is simple and slightly weak but then this isn’t about plot – the film makes it clear that it wants to entertain and have fun which it does – there are many scenes which are universally funny and successfully marry the writing and performances (I’m thinking in particular of the three mothers scene and Prithviraj’s English idioms, some of which are far more subtle than they seem). Also, BB moves at a choppy pace which helps, even if it is towards an inevitable but entertaining climax.

However, my usual bugbear comes into play with BB – the film could have cut out a great deal; the songs (except the title song) are weak and unnecessary, the Prithviraj back story of a lost love was pointless and if you’ve ever wondered what a visual representation of phoning it in looks like, refer to Asin who literally looks like she came straight from the table read to the set and er, phoned it in. I also thought the over-blown action sequences could have been reined in – so by all means, have cars and goons flying all over the shop but give us less of it so it actually makes an impact rather than eliciting a dull thrill.

All that saved screen time could have given more time to Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan who are both on top form in BB. Abhishek does well as Abhishek/Abbas, giving his role a nice sincerity and average joe appeal but also giving plenty of energy and attacking the comedy with gutso. I felt Abhishek was challenged by the loud brand of comedy but threw his all into it and as a result, gave an endearing performance. Abhishek also shares a fantastic chemistry with Ajay but is not overshadowed by him. Having said that, Ajay is a rather generous co-actor, allowing Abhishek the spotlight but not dimming his own shine by any means – the way Ajay adds nuance and adjusts to the wavelength of each of his roles with apparent ease is quite simply remarkable and it is little wonder he is one of the top actors in the Hindi film industry today. Say what you want about BB but Ajay rocks.

I enjoyed BB more than I thought I would and was relieved that it wasn’t a comedy like No Entry or Golmaal 3 with a level of humour I couldn’t comprehend (read as it wasn’t funny in the slightest). It is also does no disservice to the Devgn-Shetty partnership which is proving to be quite a formidable team. Yes, the duo’s sensibilities may not be to everyone’s taste but there is no denying they know their brand and how to make it work on a large scale. To paraphrase Prithviraj in the film, even if this isn’t your cup of lassi, it is still worth a watch and a lot smarter than its haters would like to admit. Give it a try!

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