Monday, May 30, 2005

B & B - A big screw up

There is a big budget movie, built under a very big banner (Yash Raj Films). The producer (Aditya Chopra) is one of the biggest in Bollywood. The star cast includes the like of Amitabh, Abhishek & Rani. The music team comprises of Gulzaar and Shankar-Ehshaan-Loy. Add to that the media super-hype created prior to its release. Could all these efforts together, still manage to make a run-of-the-mill second rated movie? If you don't believe this, go and watch Bunty Aur Babli.

The story is that of Rakesh (Abhishek) and Vimi (Rani). A couple of dreamers from two small towns in UP. They leave their respective homes and meet by chance. Upon discovering that they can't fulfill their dreams in the straight-forward way, they resort to cons. When they embark on this path, they operate under the aliases of Bunty & Babli. At this point of time; after sitting through two average songs, that have been forcibly thrust on the movie; the viewer is eager to witness some well-executed and clever con scenes. Alas, to his utter disappointment the movie takes the Chopra-Johar path. Unnecessary romance, tears & sentiments dominate the screen. Just before interval, DCP Dasrath Singh (Amitabh) make his entry, clad in a bomber jacket, a red gamcha, aviator sun-glasses & smoking a bidi. The rest of the story is about how the police officer chases the duo (most of the chase is conveyed & not shown on screen), stumbles on new clues as to their true identity (again, the unraveling of the clues is just shown, without a bit of logical explanation) and finally catches up with them (how, that still remains a mystery).

Despite all the advantages, the movie turns out to be fairly common place. The plot is a great one. But the writer/script-writer have failed miserably to build upon this. From a con-story, the audience expects cleverly executed theft scenes. But more emphasis is given to the melodrama & romance here. In fact, in one song sequence, they cover 4 or 5 con scenes, none of them shown in a full fledged manner. Even the biggest con-scenes, the selling of the Taj Mahal to a foreigner and swindling of Reserve Bank Gold, is shown in a such a way, it appears the director has scant respect for the intelligence of the audience. When you make a con-movie, the execution of the thefts should be more cleverly done (a classic example would be The Italian Job). Giving undue importance to romance & sentiments instead, is the worst thing the film makers could have come up with.

Amitabh is utterly wasted in his role of the eccentric DCP. It must take real talent (pun intended!) for a director, to cast Amitabh in his movie and still not be able to get the best out of him ! For some unspoken reason, Amitabh keeps changing his dialect from Haryanvi to the UP style Hindi. All of a sudden, he proclaims that now he can think like two criminals he is chasing. Why ? No explanations given. Abhishek scintillates in the few acting opportunities he gets. Rani did not get her chance at all, that's to say any actress could have done the role. A scene where Abhishek & Amitabh drink at a bar and Big B talks about his brief love affair on a Delhi Bus, is well done. What the comic scenes evoke from the audience, is at best a smile, definitely not laughter. In the scene where Amitabh (portrayed as a hardened uncoventional cop), lets the pair go scot-free, does not appear convincing at all. The way his character was built in the movie and the way he is shown to be keen on arresting Bunty & Babli, it seems very unlikely for him to do something of that sort.

The music is average. Apart from the introducing song (Dhadak Dhadak), all other songs deserve low rating. Some of them are, quite literally, ear jarring. The songs appear in the movie out of blue, without any necessity of them. The item number starring Aishwarya (Kajra Re) is one such example. However, Aish looks really gorgeous in the song.

Over all, an average move. Probably, the Chopras should stick to what they are best at. Make movies full of tears/romance/family drama. No need to hide behind the facade of the publicity stunts ("the biggest con movie in Bollywood") and serve the same old melodrama to the public. Experimenting with a different theme is just not their cup of tea. In the hands of a good director & script-writer, the same movie would probably have gone down the annals of bollywood as a classic.

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