It has been a season of comebacks. And we are not just talking about India's historic victory in the forbidden African tip. The time perhaps then is just right to welcome back an old practitioner of the dying art of comedy - Govinda.
In his heyday, his repertoire was extensive - he could sometimes make you laugh with his mere presence in front of the camera. We don't know about the rest of you, but the residents of Mumbai North would definitely celebrate at knowing that Govinda hasn't lost his comic genius. Their favorite son after all has been a lousy Member of Parliament from their constituency. At least he can still make them laugh.
And make you laugh he does. He's in tow with Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal, both seasoned veterans of comedies (and director Priyadarshan's favourites), and together they make Bhagam Bhag a laugh riot definitely worth watching. Forget that the movie has a weak second half, forget that the story is as impregnable as a castle of cards. Keep your brains at home - you're here to give your jaws a good laugh-workout.
Over the past few years Priyadarshan has been churning out comedies faster than we can say "Supercalifragilistic". And why not - Garam Masala
and Malamaal Weekly
were both hits at the box office this year. He has followed it up with Bhagam Bhag - a movie destined to become a hit because of some aggressive marketing, foot-tapping numbers that are ruling the music charts, and virtually no competition in the multiplexes during the holiday season.
The story: Seth Champak (Paresh Rawal) runs a performance company in Mumbai, and his two stars are Bunty (Akshay Kumar) and Babla (Govinda). Bunty usually plays the villain in the shows and Babla romances the ladies. But the ladies don't stick around for too long when our two Casanovas are at work.
The troupe is invited to London for a big performance, but they are in a spot of bother. Their heroine has disappeared and their financer is threatening to back off. It is now up to Bunty and Babla to find a leading lady for their show and stay out of trouble in this strange land.
In walks Gullu (Rajpal Yadav), an Indian taxi driver and a man with ready answers to every question. Or so he thinks. With his help Bunty and Babla not only find a heroine with suicidal tendencies (Lara Dutta), but also stumble upon some heroin.
And so begins the Bhagam Bhag - the hapless mafia, the cops, roadside gangs, murder investigations, a taxi that breaks more than a few laws of physics - the works. Hilarity ensues.
The first half of the movie breezes past with enough rib-tickling moments to keep you glued to your seat. Akshay and Govinda share a good rapport, and along with Paresh Rawal, the trio delivers despite all the limitations of the script. Rajpal Yadav as always is refreshing, and Lara Dutta spends her on-screen time well.
Ah! If only the script were tighter, and the plot thicker, more intricate and logical. Bhagam Bhag in parts had the ability to match Hera Pheri
- the chaos, the rush, the madness. But it falls short. Still, the movie is a must see for those of us who enjoy our fallen heroes make spectacular returns.
It's the last big Bollywood movie of 2006 - so this is going to be your Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Bollywood. And a happy New Year it will be - Guru and Salaam-e-Ishq are not too far away!