Bol Bachchan is imbecilic and banal

MUMBAI: The first half of Bol Bachchan is almost like Part II of Singham. It is totally South-influenced, with Ajay Devgn playing a mofusil landlord, who controls his town and people and who travels with a cavalcade of half a dozen SUVs of same make, model and colour. His only detractor is his own blood, a cousin.

The villain, Jeetu Verma, does not matter because he is just an excuse to show Devgn‘s fighting prowess. 

Ajay Devgn is a wrestler; he is all brawn and no brains. Like in all his Golmaal films, he is the Big Moose character from Archie comics who just flashes his muscles while the others are funny. He can‘t make you laugh for the life of it. He is laughed at and you join in most of the time; he is made a fool of and you enjoy it initially till it all gets senile and childish as the film progresses.

Rohit Shetty picks an old classic, Golmaal, a 1979 Hrishikesh Mukherjee hit and decides to make his own version based on it. So here is Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan), who has been conned out of his own taxi as well as the house he possesses in Delhi by some conniving loan sharks. With Hindi films being the flag bearers of secularism, his father‘s best buddy, Asrani, tells Abhishek that more than buddies, he and Abhishek‘s father were like brothers and offers to take him to his native Ranakpur where a job is waiting for him at Devgn‘s estate. Ajay Devgn rules the land with his own laws and diktats but he is his people‘s beloved for his fair ways. So what if he takes along a posse of musclemen to punish a worker who conned him of 99 rupees.

Having arrived in Ranakpur, Abhishek makes his presence felt instantly when he breaks the lock of a disputed temple to save a child who has fallen in a lake in the temple premises. He catches Devgn‘s eye for his brave act. He is introduced to him as Abhishek Bachchan instead of Abbas by his sidekick, Krishna, as the mob that has gathered to watch the event would not take lightly to a Muslim breaking open a temple door even if to save a child. This sets the ball rolling for the lie after lie they tell Devgn and more lies to cover the previous lie. Devgn is generous and lenient but deception is one thing he punishes brutally. Abhishek the Abbas is devout and keeps roza and his lie is almost found out as Devgn and his yes man, Neeraj Vora, see him offering the Eid namaaz.

So far Bol Bachchan was fun and games but this is where the director decides to fall back on the 1979 Golmaal as Abhishek wriggles out of the namaaz episode by saying it must be his brother, Abbas who was offering the namaaz; he does not sport a moustache which Abhishek does. What is more, Abbas is gay. Devgn, the soft heart do-gooder that he is, also wants to employ waylaid Abbas/Abhishek to teach his sister, Prachi Desai, classical dance. Thereafter, the writers and director go berserk and there is a double role galore; Asin, who plays Abbas/Abhishek‘s siter has two identities too, so does Archana Puran Singh and you forget who else! With Devgn having a sister and Abhishek Bachchan too having one, a cross connection is obvious. Both guys love the others‘ sister; Abhishek loves Prachi Desai because of no apparent reason and Devgn loves Asin because she is a pixel for pixel look alike of his deceased girlfriend! Even the late Manmohan Desai would not have found this worth trying; and he was the king of make-believe!

The truth has to come out someday and, when it happens, it is on a car balancing on a mountain boulder. The problem is that it is a long drawn sequence with poor audio. Humour, if any in this scene, is lost. What is more, such a sequence needs avant-garde special effects and, on that count, the scene is shoddy.

Rohit Shetty was good with his Golmaal series but this time he has taken his audience for granted and dished out an imbecile, banal stuff; he has lost his direction to put it mildly. Script goes haywire and an editor is sorely missed in this 154-minute marathon of forced comedy. First half is tolerably fun but second half is a farce. The film lacks totally on music, emotions and romance, the three vital ingredients in an Indian film. The item song at the start of the film with Amitabh Bachchan is uninspiring and a waste.

This is not a performance film really and, considering that, Ajay Devgn just about passes muster as Mr Duh. Abhishek Bachchan is okay as Abhishek Bachchan but totally at sea as the gay Abbas; he is just not made to play gay. Prachi Desai and Asin are just decorative pieces and bad ones at that. Archana Puran Singh and Krishna ham all the way through. Only good performances come from Asrani and Neeraj Vora.

Bol Bachchan has a rather huge price tag attached to it and with average opening and uncomplimentary reports, it will fall way short of its recovery target.

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