Bol Bachchan Times of India Movie Review by Gaurav Malani

Bol Bachchan: Movie Review Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan

Comedy of errors is amongst one of the most popular and maximum exploited sub-genres in comedy. The humour, particularly, arising out of confusion of mistaken identities has been exploited in Bollywood forever from David Dhawan’s Coolie No.1 to Sajid Khan’s Housefull series, in more recent times. So when Rohit Shetty, who himself attempted the genre earlier in All The Best (his most enjoyable comedy film yet), and who made a brand of himself with the Golmaal trilogy, decides to make another film on similar lines, he revisits the original Golmaal made by Hrishikesh Mukherji, a cult-classic.

So the elderly Utpal Dutt from the original turns much younger and sturdier in the spin-off in the form of Ajay Devgn. While Utpal Dutt approved usage of chaste Hindi, Ajay Devgn is obsessed with the Queen’s language and literally translates Hindi adages into English in every second line. Abhishek Bachchan steps into the ‘pair’ of shoes of Amol Palekar by also posing as his fictitious twin brother. And while Palekar pretended to be a singer in his twin act, Abhishek plays a dancer and revives his sissy act from Dostana – a ploy the makers pull off on the pretext of adapting the classic cinema to contemporary context.

Thankfully the basic narrative of Bol Bachchan, more or less, follows that of the 1979 Golmaal and thereby Rohit Shetty’s film has a defined flow, which saves it from wandering aimlessly. Bettering the original would be an impractical idea that, perhaps, even Shetty is aware of. So he simply attempts to stay true to the original and keeps the cult scenes and characters untouched. So Archana Puran Singh reprises Dina Pathak’s role and poses as the mother (and also her twin sister) and makes the same backdoor entry when the scene demands it.

What Shetty adds of his own is a rival cousin to Devgn who would make for the archetypal villain in the otherwise feel-good story. Their inter-village rivalry reminds of Priyadarshan’s Virasat wherein Neeraj Vora reprises his role of a loyal sidekick to the hero. While this setting is peripheral to the plot, it gives enough scope for Shetty to add his brand of aerial action where cars and characters seem always airborne. However the additional track of Ajay Devgn’s past love being a lookalike of Asin (who plays Abhishek’s sister) doesn’t contribute anything to the narrative and was absolutely avoidable.

Interestingly while Hrishikesh Mukherji was a master of minimalism, Rohit Shetty is known for his ostentation and elaboration. And that doesn’t merely mean his ‘full-blown’ action sequences. Often he takes things a little too far, which doesn’t have hitting-to-the-hilt effect but seems rather exaggerated and backfires. Like Abhishek Bachchan’s effeminate dance-act just before the interval seems stretched and Ajay Devgn’s gibberish English transliterations, despite being frequently funny, is so overdone that you lose the semantic punches at several occasions. While giving a tribute to the original, a scene literally has Bachchan and Devgn imitating Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt from Gol Maal without flattering effect.

Nevertheless Rohit Shetty takes the most essential cue from Hrishida and doesn’t complicate the comedy or make the narrative ambiguous. Mercifully he also refrains from indulging in slapstick though the actors often ham and play it to the gallery. In the larger picture, you tend to ignore the amplification in the animated state-of-affairs.

Ajay Devgn as the authoritative yet gullible patriarch is adorable. Despite an artificial accent and exerted expressions, he often makes you laugh. Abhishek Bachchan, though not completely able to exploit the potential that his meaty role offers, is likeable. His sissy act invites more mirth. Both the female leads, Asin and Prachi Desai, take a backseat and have pretty less to do. Archana Puran Singh has a better part and is aptly amusing. Krushna Abhishek, who is an impeccable standup comedian, seems under-confident on the big screen. Neeraj Vora hams yet suits his suspecting-yet-scapegoat character well.

For a (pleasant) change, Rohit Shetty doesn’t do Golmaal ‘his’ style. Rather he does Golmaal in its ‘original’ form and that’s what creates a decent difference, making Bol Bachchan fairly entertaining!

Verdict: Good

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