Review of Bol Bachchan - The best thing Bol Bachchan does is to bring back happy memories of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gol Maal

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By PRATIM D. GUPTA
  • Published 7.07.12
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Golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai! After his blockbuster sequels to Golmaal, ‘hit’ man Rohit Shetty has now remade Gol Maal.

Thankfully not his own. But unfortunately the Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic. Because while on one hand it’s a loose retelling of the Amol Palekar-Utpal Dutt-laugh riot, on the other it feels like a never-ending episode of Comedy Circus. The same TV show Shetty judged for three seasons.

Loud, lousy, ludicrous… Bol Bachchan is the kind of film that makes Rs 100 crore these days even before you can bol Bachchan. AB himself, that is @SrBachchan, spells it out in the opening item song: “Bachchan is also a rhythmic rhyme replica of Bol Bachchan where one represents a magnanimous name while the other represents a horrendous game!”

Now, how horrendous will depend on which end of the mainstream Bolly curve you are sitting on. Still, precaution is a must.

Filmmakers these days take a lot of pride in asking you to leave your brains back at home. Maybe you should carry earplugs (it’s deafeningly noisy out there) and dark shades (an orgy of rainbows in every frame) with you, so as not to leave a few other organs behind in the theatres.

To be fair (a phrase which means something else altogether in the film), Bol Bachchan is not entirely unfunny. After all, the original premise is such a riot. The Bhavani Shankar here is Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn) who runs a small fictional town called Ranakpur. Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) lands up there looking for work and in a bizarre moment of communal conjunction, he poses as Abhishek Bachchan and gets a job as an accountant in Prithvi’s haveli.

He is soon spotted in an Eid ceremony and so Abhishek’s moochh-less twin brother dance teacher Abbas is introduced in the scheme of things. He will fall in love with his student, Prithvi’s sister Radhika (Prachi Desai), while Prithvi himself will fall for Abhishek aka Abbas’s sister, Sania (Asin). And in tune with the 1979 film, the neighbourhood mujrawaali (Archana Puran Singh) will have to step in as the mother, who would again have to pose as her own twin sister!

While the basic plot points are ditto Gol Maal, Bol Bachchan’s treatment is very Rohit Shetty, with acting so over-the-top, you may feel you are at a jatra show. He has always banked on intertextuality, trying to rub the real into the reel, and here too he goes bonkers with Amitabh Bachchan filmography and quotes.

And, of course, apples don’t fall from trees in Shetty town! Bashed up baddies somersault in the air as if they are in a pool party while cars and jeeps would have Newton rethink his law.

The funniest thing about Bol Bachchan is Prithviraj’s English translations of Hindi muhavras. Jal bin machhli nritya bin bijli is “fish and chips without water is like disco dancer without electric meter”! Jab bade baat kar rahe ho toh chhoton ko chup rehna chahiye becomes “when older get cosy younger don’t put nosy”! There are many other gems like “hard work is the keyhole to saxophone”, “necessity is the mother of Discovery Channel” and “my eyes have fallen from my face”. Yes, very reminiscent of another Utpal Dutt character (“I will burn the face of my country”). Isssssshhhh!

Devgn is earnest as the dimwitted disciplinarian and in the sole emotional scene in the end, he just knocks it out of the park. Nowadays these superstars have to do action, romance and comedy in the same film and Devgn’s package is right up there with the Salmans and the Akshays.

After yet another dry spell, Abhishek must be heavily banking on Bol Bachchan. He is okay as the upright accountant but as the gay dance teacher Abbas, he is howlarious. As seen earlier in Bunty Aur Babli and Dostana, Abhishek is clearly at home with these characters where he can let loose and have a blast. Asin’s a bit dull while Prachi’s presence is that much more radiant.

The Comedy Circus gang is a mixed bag — Archana Puran Singh is terrific in every scene she appears, while Krushna Abhishek manages to ham it up in every scene he appears.

Perhaps the best thing Bol Bachchan does is to bring back happy memories of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gol Maal. That itself is quite an achievement, of not setting another classic on aag. Any guesses how Bhavani Shankar would have reacted hearing Chhati ka doodh becoming “Milk No. 6”? “Daant kelaane banchharaam”!

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