This spy-thriller was the first Hindi feature film to release in cinema halls after they re-opened to the public at 50 per cent capacity. Naturally, this also made it one of the most anticipated releases of 2021. Inspired by true events, the story revolves around the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight that occurred in August 1984. The fact that this is the fifth Indian Airlines hijacking incident in the last seven years, makes the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi (Lara Dutta) furious. Enter Anshul Malhotra (Akshay Kumar), a RAW agent on a secret mission. His codename? Bell Bottom. While the PM and her cabinet want to let the Pakistani government handle negotiations with the hijackers, Anshul has other plans. Because he is personally invested in cases like these, he wants to capture the hijackers and rescue every single passenger on board. The movie, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, showcases the team’s efforts to see this covert mission through successfully.
An engaging first half
Akshay Kumar slips easily into character. Fans will be reminded of similar roles he has played in ‘Airlift’ and ‘Baby’. In this movie, he’s an undercover agent with excellent observation skills, near-photographic memory and a desire to deliver justice. Vaani Kapoor plays his wife Radhika. The first-half of the movie is both fast-paced and absorbing, as characters are introduced and built and the action is swiftly driven forward. The film shows us what happens behind the scenes during such national crises, in particular the actions of politicians. There is a heightened sense of anticipation as Bell Bottom and his team of agents get close to nailing the hijackers. The second half is rather long drawn-out. But despite the length, the film has enough twists and turns, many of which will blindside you, right till the very end.
Lara Dutta could have done with more screen time
Before the film’s release, there was a lot of buzz around Lara Dutta’s look as Indira Gandhi. Indeed, the make-up and prosthetics used on the actor have resulted in a terrific transformation. Dutta is composed, delivering a sense of Gandhi’s power. You want more of Dutta but there’s precious little of her.
WATCH OR NOT
If you enjoy spy thrillers or Hindi films with a patriotic touch, you will like ‘Bell Bottom’. Plus, Lara Dutta, Akshay Kumar and Adil Hussain deliver fine performances.
Director: Ranjit M Tewari
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta, Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Adil Hussain
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video