Rohit Shetty recently stated that he does not care much for critics, because they over-react to his films by questioning the lack of intellectual fare. If his latest offering, Bol Bachchan, is anything to go by, the action-comedy director seems to think that his target audience lacks any
intelligence, and the record-breaking advance booking collections only add to his conviction.
Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) is caught in a dilemma (through most of the film) - his relatives have seized his father's property, and his sister, the art director Sania (Asin), is his biggest responsibility. Why she cannot work and sustain both her brother and herself is not explained, but now enters their father's old friend Shastri (Asrani), who offers Abbas a chance to rebuild his life at Ranakpur.
From the looks of it, Ranakpur is a fort town, and seems to be ruled by the pehelwan zamindar
/thakur (of sorts), Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn). He is intimidating, to say the least, but he has a heart of gold that forgives every crime, except dishonesty.
Shastri tries to get Abbas a job as an accountant to Prithvi, but before the two men can meet, an incident forces Shastri's son to introduce Abbas as "Abhishek Bachchan". This is followed by a sequence in which Abbas narrates to Prithvi how every important event in his family coincided with an Amitabh Bachcan release, and that therefore his parents decided to name him thus.
Prithvi is impressed by Abhishek/Abbas, and employs him. The desperate Abbas keeps spinning a web of lies, albeit reluctantly, till he comes this close to losing his mind and job.
Bol Bachchan is Rohit Shetty's tribute to Hrishikesh Mukherjee's classic, Golmaal (not to be confused with Shetty's own franchise of films). Life imitates art as Abbas finds himself forced to invent a gay twin brother without a moustache, a mother who is actually a nautanki
artiste, an aunt who is actually the same artiste; and then juggles these lives to ensure that Prithvi does not suspect a thing.
As far as concepts go, this is one of Shetty's most interesting movies yet. However, he over-emphasises the Golmaal effect by not only showing footage from the original movie, but also by getting Ravi to stage a play on the same movie - which becomes an inspiration for the charade.
In the process of spoon-feeding the audience, the director makes the movie tedious and never-ending. The track of Prithvi's evil cousin is unnecessary, even when the villain kidnaps Prithvi's sister Radhika (Prachi Desai), twice.
The mindless dialogues form the humour element, and there is not much to write home about the comedy. In fact, Prithvi's supposedly funny English is so forced that it becomes predictable. And somebody please remind the director that it is no longer funny to be homophobic.
Then again, the movie is for the masses, and political correctness is not important. The music is forgettable, and the costumes are staid, despite all that colour. The movie may just bring back the dhoti-salwar from the 1980s, though.
The production design is typical of a Rohit Shetty movie - think Singham
and all the Golmaal
movies. The cinematography is credible, and the action sequences are obvious wire-work choreography, but enjoyable, nonetheless. There are more high-speed sequences than you would like, but they provide a distraction from the incredulous sequence of events that form the plot of the film.
Amitabh Bachchan introduces the movie in the title song, and stresses that he is not in the movie, but that his name is. By this, he means his son, of course. Make no mistake - this is an Abhishek Bachchan movie, and he seems to be having a blast. He gets all the lines, and the romantic track. Ajay Devgn is there for the action, and for some poker-faced humour, but he is almost sidelined by the Junior Bachchan.
Asin and Prachi Desai have nothing much to do - the latter at least gets kidnapped, and shows some fire in her performance, relatively. Asin makes inane faces, and her character is absolutely dispensable.
Krishna Abhishek has a pivotal role in the movie, but he overacts most of the time (in a bid to showcase his talents, no doubt, before the industry forgets about him again). He is irritating most of the time. The humour is best portrayed by Asrani and Archana Puran Singh, who go over the top but manage to be funny. Neeraj Vora could have done with some more importance - his character is, after all, the only one who is wise enough to see through all the lies - but he makes an impact nevertheless.
Bol Bachchan is not a patch on the Golmaal movies, but if you have three hours to spare for an assault on your senses, then watch it, by all means. Some bits may even get a titter out of you, but go with minimum expectations if you want to enjoy the film.