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Ajay Devgn-Tabu-starrer Bholaa has a barely-there plot but is still fun for its high-octane action

Directed by Ajay Devgn, the film also stars Deepak Dobriyal, Sanjay Mishra and Gajraj Rao

Chandreyee Chatterjee Calcutta Published 31.03.23, 01:11 PM
Ajay Devgn in and as Bholaa

Ajay Devgn in and as Bholaa

Crunching metal, snapping bones, squelching blood, one terrible item number and a catchy fight sequence BGM — the soundscape of Ajay Devgn-directed Bholaa, also starring him, is a clue to what this week’s big theatrical release is all about. Bholaa is action over everything else.

So, if you are craving high-octane action with set piece after set piece of over-the-top fight sequences stitched together with some necessary and some very unnecessary interruptions (the subplots definitely make you feel like you wished they got out of the way), look no further. Take the opening sequence, for example. The film opens right in the middle of a chase scene, with the police — led by Tabu’s Diana Joseph — hot on the heels of a truck loaded with narcotics and arms. There are crashing cars, explosions and shootouts (though why no one shot at the truck’s tyre is anyone’s guess). It is followed by a dramatic voiceover introduction of our protagonist.


A remake of the Tamil film Kaithi, Bholaa is a story of one night that involves a cache of seized contraband, a police station in Lalganj, a madman called Aswathama aka Ashu (Deepak Dobriyal), hordes of bloodthirsty gangs, an ex-convict heading to meet his daughter for the first time and a body count higher than John Wick: Chapter 4. There is also a little backstory for Bholaa (Ajay Devgn) which segues into the angst of his daughter growing up in an orphanage, but that can pretty much be ignored.

When several high-ranking police officers — other than Diana who was being responsible and not drinking (moral of the story being if you don’t drink while on antibiotics, you just might save the day) — are drugged at a farewell party, Diana has to coerce a reluctant and grumpy Bholaa into driving her (and all the drugged officers) in a truck to the hospital and then the police station where the cache is being kept.

And so begins the carnage, and the film is not delicate about showcasing it. I couldn’t count all of them but there were at least a few snapped femurs, some snapped humerus, definitely one snapped spine (the bones were sticking out), plenty of fevered stabbings and multiple impalings, sometimes all at the same time. That’s not me complaining, it’s me crowing with delight.

Everything about the film is over-the-top — the stab-while-dancing bad guy, the eyeball-eating older brother bad guy, the different gangs replete with costumes and a cheetah (he didn’t join the battle, was scared of Bholaa), the monster trucks, the chase sequences with vaulting bikes throwing molotov cocktails — in a very Mad Max-esque way and, therefore, pretty awesome. What’s low-key brilliant is Tabu’s performance and also Devgn’s star power, which makes up for not being invested in the rest of the storyline (which is whether Devgn gets to meet his daughter or not). The 3D might add some oomph to the fight sequences but doesn’t elevate the experience.

It is not a great film but it is definitely a fun, no-brainer actioner that is perfect for a weekend watch.

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