Producers: Ajay Devgn, Shree Ashtavi-nayak Cine Vision Ltd
Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Prachi Desai
Music: Himesh Reshammiya, Ajay-Atul
The mark of a successful filmmaker is being able to change his style of filmmaking to suit changing times while retaining his signature style. It’s a tough balance but, in his latest offering Bol Bachchan, Rohit Shetty walks this tightrope with ease. He is known for making commercial and over-the-top films. With Bol Bachchan, he’s once again aimed at the hardcore movie buff but with a slight difference.
His movies are always full of fun, punches, and gags from the word ‘go’. This time, the film starts on a slow and emotional note and picks up only later. And once the humour begins to roll, there’s no looking back. Shetty and his writers build the tempo gradually and then keep the momentum going.
If the intermission starts on a high note (an item song by Abhishek Bachchan on various Hindi songs), the beginning of the second half is, once again, slow. The pace drops but picks up again and you enjoy the film till the end.
Shetty’s intentions are very clear: Full-on entertainment with humour and punches in every scene. Only a few characters are over-the-top. But that’s deliberate. Just like Shetty’s earlier films, Bol Bachchan too has many characters but some of them play mute (insignificant) roles while only a handful are assigned gags and punches. As always, the film is a clean family entertainer.
Bol Bachchan is based on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s successful film of yesteryear Gol Maal. The basic premise of a character posing as two different people was a gamble that paid off because even though it was accepted back then, it could quite easily have bombed today. Shetty has also woven in many new elements and they blend seamlessly. Thus the writers have made the pahalwan’s character (Ajay Devgn) very lovable unlike the original character played by Utpal Dutt. There’s also a dialogue where Devgn says he’s a pahalwan and he thinks from his heart. That’s why people make fun of him. Devgn’s character is so lovable that it is bound to score with the kids.
The film is set in Ranakpur, which is ruled by Prithviraj (Devgn). He’s the most powerful man in Ranakpur and also a pahalwan with a kushti gang. Meanwhile, Abbas (Abhishek Bachchan) and his sister decide to shift to Ranakpur after they are duped by their family. Abbas manages to open a temple that was shut for years and earns brownie points with Prithviraj, who offers him a job. One lie leads to another and Abbas ends up ‘becoming two people’ – Abbas and Abhishek Bachchan. This leads to loads of goof-ups and chaos all around.
The refreshing part is that the gags are new and bear no resemblance to Shetty’s earlier successful films, the Golmaal series, and All The Best. The characters have been well-fleshed out and each actor looks the part.
There are many scenes that make you laugh and they stay with you long after the credits roll. That’s where the film scores. There are many memorable sequences too – Ajay Devgn’s grand entry; Abhishek Bachchan opening the temple; the first lie and Abhishek being introduced to Ajay Devgn as Abhishek Bachchan, not Abbas; and Abhishek Bachchan and Krushna Abhishek coaxing Archana Puran Singh to act as Abhishek’s mother.
Other memorable scenes include the one where not one but three mothers walk in; the second time Ajay arrives at Abhishek Bachchan’s house to meet Archana Puran Singh; the pre-climax, where Devgn reveals that he is aware of their ploy via the Karz song; and the chase that follows. Apart from these comic scenes, there are two action scenes designed by Shetty that are major trump cards.
Despite the sometimes-slow, sometimes-fast tempo, the pre-climax song and final chase are hilarious and beautifully picturised. Krushna’s character has been given too much screen time and becomes irksome after a while. Since Archana Puran Singh’s track is hilarious, one hopes for more of her antics on screen.
Rohit Shetty is in top form again, and provides a smashing entertainer. Every frame has his stamp all over it. Yunus Sajawal’s screenplay may have some loopholes but it is still terrific. Dialogue (Farhad-Sajid) is the soul of the film.
The film has only three songs and they are all fine. The title track, which has Sr Bachchan in a cameo, is the highlight of the film. Editing could have been a little crisper in places.
Performance-wise, Ajay Devgn is hilarious in every scene. Despite the fact that Abhishek Bachchan has more screen time and plays two roles, Devgn dominates. His penchant for speaking in English clicks. If Abhishek Bachchan as Abbas is hilarious, he is equally funny as Abhishek Bachchan. In one word he’s OUTSTANDING.
Asin acts well but she needs to take care of her make-up. Prachi Desai has limited scope in the film and she’s fine. Krushna Abhishek impresses. Archana Puran Singh is first rate. Neeraj Vora is good. Asrani, though over-the-top all the time, makes you laugh. VIP has nothing much to do. Jeetu Verma makes his presence felt.