Bol Bachchan

Bollywoods are always a laugh. There are great songs, overly expressive faces and some hilariously translated subtitles. It is a real shame then that a film trying to be a comedy really did not manage to be all that funny. What begins as a very slickly edited, well shot and well acted farce slows down to a pace even a snail would find tedious. Whilst it is sumptuously beautiful and makes you want to book a ticket for the next plane out of the UK over to India, ultimately it fails to move.

The film (I think) is about Abbas Ali (Bachchan) and his sister, Sania (Thottumkal) who are in a legal battle with their cousins to keep living in the house their parents left them before they died. They lose the case however and realise that they are penniless. Their friend persuades Abbas and his sister to come to Ranakpur with him where he will ask his boss, the powerful Prithviraj (Devgan) to give a job to Abbas. One day in the village some stupid kid falls off a wall into a locked temple. In order to save the boy’s life Abbas has to smash off the temple lock. Unfortunately Prithviraj and his entourage turn up at this moment and asks who opened the temple door. Abbas’s friend lies and tells Prithviraj Abbas is called Abhishek Bachchan, as the village would be outraged if they discovered that a Muslim opened the doors to the temple. Prithviraj is impressed and gives him a job. The only problem is that Prithviraj hates liars. He unleashes a whole world of pain on liars. So what follows are a series of mad capped capers to ensure he never finds out the truth. This ultimately leads to Abbas having to invent an identical twin, gay brother with Bachchan having to act out both roles.

Confused? Boy, I really was. For about eighty percent of the film it is hard to follow just what the heck is going on because the powers that be decided that it would be a good idea not to subtitle the songs which seem to provide Hindi audiences with a lot of the important plot points. The other, perhaps bigger problem is that the film is two and a half hours long. At the beginning, the film zips along so fast you are in danger of having an epileptic fit and then decides to add in a million side plots, involving evil cousins, nuclear power plant plans and many Matrix esque fight scenes all of which have no importance whatsoever but are vaguely amusing. The film essentially is a parody of all other Bollywood action films, with overused dramatic music motifs to highlight “important” moments that at first starts out as quite funny but soon becomes insanely irritating.

The greatest thing about the film is the wonderful, all mighty Prithviraj who is perhaps the biggest bad ass that cinema has ever seen. He kicks baddies so hard out of his way that they fly through the air with the greatest of ease and at one point even manages to take out four people with a ladder in order to save his sister Radhika’s life. Go, you mustachioed burly dude! He is the Mrs Malaprop of his time and believes that he is the best at speaking English in the village, coming out with lines like “hard work is the keyhole of saxophone” which are vaguely amusing moments. The fact that half of the Hindi is interspersed with English kind of ruins the joke that he is really bad at speaking it, but heigh-ho. I went with it.

Then all of a sudden…there is an intermission!! What the fuck? What do they think they are? Gone with the Wind? This really was a shocker. The whole film really only needed to be ninety minutes long at most, but they manage to drag it out for what seems like forever destroying any dramatic tension and all of the humour. There are a few good fight scenes, not NEARLY enough dance sequences and some strange moments where I had no idea if one character was Prithviraj’s reincarnated sister or lover…

I really was looking forward to seeing this film but sadly, as Prithviraj would say, it really just was “not my cup of lassi”.

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