Review: Bol Bachchan

Bol Bachchan
Apparently director Rohit Shetty and the makers of slap-shod comedy ‘Bol Bachchan’ officially bought the rights to remake Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Gol Maal’ (1979).
If you recall that classic starring Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt, you will also remember the basic premise – an unemployed youth becomes party to a lie in order to retain a much-needed job with an influential but principled man.
In this case Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) pretends to be named Abhishek Bachchan and lands a lucrative posting at the estate of Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn).
But one lie leads to several others, including the pretence of a twin brother called Abbas, an effeminate dancer. One has a moustache, the other doesn’t. Yes, two brothers of differing faiths. All this because Abbas broke a locked temple and entered it in order to save a drowning child. This plot point is dismissed as easily as that lock is broken making you wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place. There are a few other digressions along the way too – like a feuding cousin, plans for a power plant which never materialize and a bizarre likeness between Prithviraj’s dead love and Abbas’s sister Sania (Asin).
Of course the climax is about the collapse of this house of cards built on lies and the guilt felt by Abbas, Sania and their troupe (which includes Asrani, Archana Puran Singh and Krushna Abhishek) as they deceive the well-meaning, kind-hearted and simplistic Prithviraj.
Devgn shows off muscles, thumps his chest and recites lines in quirky English (some of which are genuinely funny). Bachchan has always been great at comedy and here too he shows his flair for the genre. He is especially good in the scene where he auditions as a dance teacher for Prithviraj’s sister Radhika (Prachi Desai).
However talking about performances is superfluous in a film that is aimed at the lowest common denominator – gags, a riot of colours, meticulously designed action scenes and an absolutely brainless script. There are the staple in-jokes and references to many Amitabh Bachchan films.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee fans are sure to take umbrage to this interpretation of Gol Maal. For fans of the Devgn-Shetty brand of films, Bol Bachchan will provide ‘time-pass’. For the rest, be prepared for a sensory assault – its loud, bright, noisy and mindless.
Rating: **