Just once in a million times, if you hit upon a runaway idea for a great movie, you won't dare to bare it of all the compulsory lust and gore elements, and still hope to see the making of your next film. But the genes for creativity, judgement and torpedoing the box-office are next to each other on the same chromosome, at least for Shaad Ali Sahgal. Shaad did it with Sathiya, and he has done it again with this one. Everything that could go right has almost gone right for Bunty Aur Babli.
With a heady dash of humor, but none in the high frequency that only canines can understand, Bunty And Babli remarkably portrays the plight of millions of those who feel suffocated by the mundane contentment of their routine existence. And of those unfortunate ones who have to co-exist with these skywardly inclined ones.
The world has two types of people - those who live in small towns, and, well, live, and those who live in small towns and dream. The sooner you get yourself selected in the latter group, the better it will be. For no plane, train or rickshaw can take you to places your dreams can.
Or so believes Rakesh (Abhishek Bachchan), the just-missed-becoming-a-TCE-for-life son of a railway employee.
Vimmi (Rani Mukherjee) is another small-town-afflicted stargazer. As a daughter and a soon-to-be-wife, she had her past perfect and her future secure. She decides to do something about her present, which will make her appear at least 200 times per week on the local news.
Inadvertently they run into each other, and conspiratorially team up as Bunty and Babli, to have a blast of life. It proves to be their first step towards a notorious and lucrative career in the controversial con world.
While chasing dreams, the chase becomes more enjoyable and the dreams take a backseat for them. Their travails leave behind a tail of conned intelligentsia, including a rich foreigner who is left with a lease deed for the Taj Mahal on his hands, and the RBI, who are left with the empty bowels of their gold carrying planes.
Dashrath Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) is the ACP sniffing hot on their cold trail. Dashrath is probably among Amitabh's best roles, despite the ruffled and aged appearance. Aided by his excellent ease with the local vocab, he brilliantly personifies the tangible instincts of a policeman.
His panache is potent enough to stun you once again, as he juggles Aishwarya Rai in an out-of-turn, if luscious, item number. Even Bunty and Babli find plenty of time to sing songs composed by the sprightly Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio. Dhadak Dhadak and Chup Chup Ke are beautifully penned by Gulzar.
Rani Mukherjee has the rare ability of being at ease as both a small town girl and a seductress bent on a catch. With the chutzpah it takes to outrage the status quo, she carries off both Babli and Vimmi on her solo shoulders.
Abhishek too has a rare talent - of spoofing it up, whatever the role be. But you must remember his Refugee days, and give him credit for coming nearer home this time.
Amitabh Bachchan is contained only by his kanduva over a supercop's leather jacket.
Raj Babbar's cameo appearance as Rakesh's father is aptly convincing, showing that people who have small ambitions, like doing a secure government job, spend more time toiling out their dream lives. For Rakesh, life itself was one long highway of ambition.
Bunty Aur Babli could be the story of anyone, for small towns nourish big dreams, and big ones, even bigger. Despite having almost no formula-masala, the movie is all set for the gravy train of success.