Cast: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Prachi Desai, Neeraj Vora
Directed by Rohit Shetty
Rating: 0.25 *
Just after a cameo jig in the title song, Big B offers a disclaimer: he isn’t a part of this film, even though his name is. And that is hint enough for the wise. But for those who don’t know, Bol Bachchan (BB) jams chopsticks up the nose of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s comic classic ‘Gol Maal’ and digs itself six feet under with it. While the story is same in theory, being a Rohit Shetty film only adds some cars nailing somersaults, trucks attempting a ballet, baddies playing mid-air Garba after being biffed and Ajay Devgn drawing his eyebrows close enough to show that he means business.
Presenting the mightiest gunda of Ranakpur, human Google translator (Hindi to nonsensical) Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn). He comes, he punches, he delivers a line in two languages and he leaves. His opening shots and exits are in slow-mo and his lines leave you with loose motions. Lost in translation was adorable in ‘Chupke Chupke’. But more than 35 years hence, poking the nose of grammar and tweaking the tits of English can hardly squeeze out a chuckle. The next best idea: replace words with similar sounding ones or extend them to make little sense and cause a lot of hilarity. So when someone is excited, Prithvi calms him, “Pest control yourself” and when he is praised, he humbly responds, “Thanks for the Complan boy.” Yes, English used to be a phunny language.
Siblings, Abbas (Abhishek Bachchan) and Sania (Asin) have endured a difficult past before landing up in Ranakpur. Abbas pretends to be a Hindu and adopts the name- Abhishek Bachchan to avoid a communally volatile situation and is hired by Prithvi. Once his Muslim-self is exposed to his boss, a long and winding tale gives birth to his mooch-less step-twin brother Abbas. Like the original ‘Gol Maal’, he is also required to cast a mother, furnish her twin and so on. Deviations from the Amol Palekar version: here Prithvi falls for Sania as she is a photocopy of his late girlfriend. Also, Abbas fakes being gay while Abhishek is genuinely grumpy but collectively they don’t add up to make one convincing actor.
While this film is packed with epic fails, here are some of the best. 1. Twice in the film, Prithvi’s sister played by Prachi Desai is abducted and man-handled by Prithvi’s evil brother who lives in the neighbouring village. But wouldn’t Prithvi’s brother be Prachi’s brother too? #that awkward moment when you come to know... 2. Later in the film, Prachi throws a fit (to increase her screen presence?) and scoots to a village that can only be reached by crossing the evil brother’s village. While most of the cast is clueless about her plan, the evil brother is randomly aware of the exact bus she is on. But since he isn’t any wiser than the script writers of BB, he calls up Prithvi and announces his filthy plans. Obviously, epic dhishooming follows.
When re-inventing a classic, the obvious benefit for any filmmaker is that the story has already been told. This allows for time and opportunity to experiment with parallel screenplays or embellish characters with fascinating traits. But director Rohit Shetty not only assumes that his audience hasn’t seen the original ‘Gol Maal’ but also that they’ve been snoozing through this one. Reason: the finale has Devgn and his chamchas putting up a musical act that recaps the entire film.
Ajay Devgn tries his best to pull this one through but even his earnest efforts end up in vain. Whoever said two Bachchans are better than one had definitely not assumed even one of them would be Abhishek. AB junior is over 50 films old but the postfix after his name seems to find more meaning than to merely distinguish him from AB senior. Asin and Prachi Desai play up the high-intensity drama scenes and are mostly seen lamenting over some unfortunate event from the past. Archana Puran Singh is over-the-top and obnoxious and that is what she does best and that is exactly how you want her to be.
While the music in most Rohit Shetty films serves as the biggest promotional vehicle, here, even the title song can cause migraines to become your-grains. Action and stunt choreography subscribe to the ‘Dabangg-Singham’ genre of low-gravity fights and every strike results in a mid-air Moulin Rouge.
‘Mooch nahin toh kuch nahin’ may seem like an understatement in this film as almost everyone, excluding Asin and Prachi (thankfully!) proudly jounce their bushy glory on their upper lips. But with a cardboard set and not enough costumes for all the extras, glueing on a mooch can be a cost-effective and efficient way to portray a village in Rajasthan. Kay bole se, Producer-sa?
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