Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Prachi Desai, Ajay Devgan, Asrani, Archana Puran Singh
Synopsis: Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) lives in Karol Bagh, New Delhi withhissister Sania (Asin Thottumkal). They are legally fighting for their ancestral property but the odds turn against them and they lose. Their well wisher, Shastri Chacha, advises and convinces them to migrate to his village Ranakpur. He assures Abbas that he will get him a job at his owner`s place, the owner being none other than the powerful Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn).
But an incident occurs which compels Abbas to cook up a lie. From here starts a series of cover-ups, goof-ups and comic situations where to cover one lie, Abbas starts padding up with a bigger lie.
Review: Rohit Shetty has come a long way since directing Zameen in 2003. He’s proved his versatility with great panache in both comedy and action. Moviegoers are now well acquainted with his classic over-the-top car pile ups and uncanny slapstick routines. There’s no questioning the fact that he sets the cash registers ringing with blockbusters like Singham and the Golmaal franchise under his belt. The Devgn-Shetty partnership has given him the title as being one of the few ‘paisa- vasool’ directors of our time. Not to mention, it revived an otherwise intensely typecast career of one, Mr. Ajay Devgn. However, Bol Bachchan still had an awkward whisper going around when it’s trailer would go up during intervals. The average cynic who considered Shetty’s formulas as tried, tested and on the way to wash out. So does he manage to silence those few who still doubted his credibility as a director with this outing? Simply put, he almost converts them into ardent fans.
I personally believe that we’ve seen a slump when it comes to good comedies recently. May be the genre isn’t lucrative anymore or the audience has gotten way too used to outbursts of humor on their phones and instant messengers. Regardless, in today’s times, making people laugh is serious business. Thankfully, Mr. Shetty takes his job very seriously.
Abhishek Bachchan portrays Abbas Ali. A young, middle-class orphan who’s down in the dumps in terms of financial stability. His sister, Saniya Ali (Asin) is the silent and more rational type. Shastri (Asrani), they’re godfather of sorts, shows them a ray of light in the form of job opportunities in his village. He speaks of a rich and powerful yet fair and just leader of the village (Ajay Devgn). The siblings happily move there with starry eyed aspirations of getting both financial security and easy jobs. What transpires further, is a joyride of twists, turns and an unimaginably hilarious sequence of events.
Bol Bachchan is light-hearted, warm and astonishingly intelligent in parts. The first 25 minutes aren’t well executed but the parts post that, and especially the ones in the second half are what make this worth a watch. I found myself laughing in an embarrassingly uproarious manner post interval. The only solace was that I wasn’t the only one in a packed preview theatre who felt that way. I had an entire auditorium echoing my jovial sentiment.
Ajay Devgn steals the show with his admirable portrayal of Prithviraj, the naïve yet no-nonsense village head. His obsession with speaking English, coupled with his inability to speak it without making a debacle of the sentence, make for the majority of comedy. The double meaning vocabulary errors are indeed ROFL material. Abhishek Bachchan comes into his own after a series of below par performances. He shines brightly in the homo-erotic sequences, in particular. The director certainly cashes in on his Dostana exploits. In all fairness though, it’s no cake walk to match the comedic brilliance of a veteran like Devgn. AB Jr., however holds his own and that’s more than reasonable testament to his ability as a bankable actor. More so, his chemistry with Prachi Desai is endearing as well.
The leading ladies are given little to no scope to exhibit their talents. No surprise there, since the script is mainly dominated by the male leads and other supporting characters. It must be said though, that Prachi Desai portrays the stubborn little sister with poise. And on a side note, Asin makes the best out of whatever limited screen time she’s given.
The supporting characters, although repetitive and annoying in some scenarios, go on to play their part effectively. Krushna Abhishek is as annoying as he is on the obnoxious TV skits he attributes his fame to. That’s pretty much the best and worst that can be said about his over-zealous performance. Archana Puransingh is believable. Asrani provides the desired chuckles and lives up to the standard expected of him after a lifetime in the industry. The obese man who plays one of Ajay Devgn’s goons is worth a mention for his effortless comedic talent.
The cinematography is unique. The music however, is lack luster. The Himesh Reshamiya sung track, in particular. It could very well prove to be the last nail in the almost sealed coffin that is his career. Though the opening track adds a certain spark with Amitabh Bachchan’s exuberant charm. The action sequences look like the ones Shetty wanted to use in the Singham sequel. As exaggerated as they come.
All in all, Bol Bachchan is everything you expect out of a Rohit Shetty film. It leaves you with a feeling of Bollywood patriotism while wondering whether or not he owns a warehouse of Mahendra Scorpios. Give this one a watch if you’re looking for some genuine comedy. It’s way better than the recent, gimmicky nonsense on Indian celluloid.
Verdict: Shetty-Devgn combo delivers again. Most enjoyable comedy of the year.
– Jackie J. Thakkar