Bol Bachchan

Bol Bachchan

Less loud, more laughs

Director: Rohit Shetty

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Prachi Desai, Asrani, Archana Puran Singh

Rating: ***1/2

This is a Rohit Shetty film. Which means it is full of primary colours. I counted a red-blue-green-yellow palette more than a couple of times, all in the same frame. It is full of cars and jeeps hurtling down roads and crashing and getting smashed up. It is also full of Ajay Devgn, which is a given because Shetty and Devgn are long-time collaborators. Additionally, the star is the producer of the film. But this time around, there's a slight difference. It's also got Abhishek Bachchan, and that makes Bol Bachchan not as much a Rohit Shetty film as his previous ones, which is not such a bad thing : I laughed more in this one than I have in his previous loud comedies.

Prithvi (Devgn) is a pehelwaan who lives in a Rajasthani haveli in a village called Ranakpur. He is surrounded by a bunch of musclebound, dhoti-clad body-builders, is called hukum by his serfs, and acts like a benevolent despot to the villagers. Abbas (Bachchan) turns up at Prithvi's doorstep, goaded by a helpful family friend (Asrani). Owing to a twist, which involves a mandir and a drowning boy and local sentiments, the muslim Abbas has to masquerade as the Hindu Abhishek. For good measure, the Bachchan surname is also added. So Abhishek Bachchan gets to do what very few actors do: play a character with their own name.

This is where Shetty's tribute to Hrishikesh Mukherjee's classic Golmaal kicks in. Prithvi, like the Utpal Dutt character, hates liars. But because he is not as old as the Dutt character, it is not a daughter who falls for the Janus-faced Abbas-Abhishek, but a sister (Desai). And to keep the balance, Abbas-Abhishek is also given a sister (Asin), who becomes Prithvi's lady love. But because it is the job of the men to keep us regaled with their jokes and their biceps, the women are relegated to being colourful add ons for the songs and to be part of the crowd.

... contd.

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