BOL BACHCHAN movie review: A hilarious gag reel

Jokes apart, the film is worth a watch for Abhishek Bachchan and Ajay Devgn’s comic timing

The last time Abhishek Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty came together was for Zameen, and the film tanked at the box office. But I have to admit, I did watch Zameen first day first show and still tune in whenever it is shown on television. After all, who can resist lines such as “Hamare desh mein kutton ko maarne ki permission nahin hai”? (we are not permitted to kill dogs in our country). In their second outing together, the trio has once again put together memorable punchlines, a somewhat solid story and powerful fight sequences to create magic – the kind that an amateur wizard generally would. There’s a lot of sizzle and hoodwinking going on, but the tricks are cheap.

Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) and his sister Sania (Asin Thottumkal) are orphans who have been cheated out of their rightful inheritance by their uncle. Abbas even loses his job. With no option left, the two move from Delhi to Ranakpur with their late father’s best friend, Shastri (Asrani). Shastri works for Prithiviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn), the benevolent lord protector of the village. Abbas gets a job at Prithvi’s estate under the fake name of Abhishek Bachchan! Yes, when circumstances make it difficult for Abbas to reveal his religion, the only name his friend Ravi (Krishna Abhishek) manages to come up with is Abhishek Bachchan. This one lie then snowballs into several others, and there comes a point when Abbas invents Abhishek’s effeminate twin stepbrother Abbas. He and Sania even co-opt Prithvi’s sister Radhika (Prachi Desai) into the plan.

Bol Bachchan begins on a slow note. Amitabh Bachchan’s item number is boring and feels totally out of place. The first fifteen minutes of the film drag and things perk up only when Ajay’s character is introduced. From that point onwards, it is a hilarious gag reel that guarantees to make you laugh. Unfortunately, a few jokes are repeated several times and that dilutes the impact. The pace falls again in the crucial climax so I can’t promise you’ll leave the theatre smiling. Abhishek Bachchan is good as the ‘honest’ and sincere Abhishek (the character) who fights well, but he shines in his portrayal of the fake twin Abbas. He carries off the gaudy shirts and ladylike mannerisms with aplomb.

Despite Abhishek’s impressive performance, Ajay is the one who steals the show. Prithvi is an honest, generous and strong man, who is intelligent enough to catch on to his evil brother’s machinations yet credulous enough to believe Abbas’ lies. Ajay balances his portrayal very well and makes Prithvi a believable person, even when he is mouthing lines such as “Brother-in-law will die Tommy’s death” or “I will make you remember milk no.6”. Prachi and Asin have nothing much to do in the film. It is good to see Archana Puran Singh back on the big screen in a comic avatar.

Rohit Shetty makes no attempt to hide the fact that his film is inspired from the Amol Palekar-Utpal Dutt-starrer Gol Maal (1979). The parallels are hard to miss, and Rohit makes the comparisons even more obvious by inserting a few scenes from the original and adding a supporting character to point them out to you! Bol Bachchan doesn’t match up to Gol Maal but it is a sincere, funny tribute that Rohit, Abhishek, Ajay and the rest of the team can be proud of.

Rating: ***

* Poor – Avoid!

** Average – Give it a shot if you are desperate!

*** Good – One time watch!

**** Very good – Must watch!

***** Excellent – Don’t miss!