It’s that time again…
It’s Friendship Day today and in the days to come all around the world and I love to celebrate and treasure friendships– whether it’s a bromance, a love story or a girl thang; it’s all wonderful and worth cherishing. Therefore, I’m going to do my best for the month of August to write about a few on-screen friendships that I’ve loved (or hope to)– starting with this unlikely duo between a perpetrator and a gangster-type village leader (think: Sarkar Raj) in this month’s comedic hit Bol Bachchan.
***disclaimer: The following synopsis is the official blurb about the film, unfortunately, it may contain major spoilers, therefore, if you are a spoiler freak (like I sometimes can be) skip it. Just know the film is basically what I described above and go on to comment about in my “thoughts.”
Official Synopsis: Abbas Ali lives in Karol Bagh, New Delhi with his sister Sania. They are legally fighting for an ancestral property— land case. But the odds turn against them and they lose. Their well wisher, Shastri Chacha, advises and convinces them to migrate to his village Ranakpur where he assures Abbas that he will get him a job at his owner’s place. The owner being none other than the powerful Prithviraj Raghuvanshi . Abbas enters Ranakpur village and while saving a child trapped inside a temple, he breaks open the lock of an ancestral temple but fate plays an important twist in Abbas’ life as the whole village including Prithviraj’s step-brother Vikrant opposes Abbas’ actions but Prithviraj arrives and handles the situation. On being asked his name, Abbas’s friend comes out with a fake name ‘Abhishek Bachchan’, as it would create a rage if villagers came to know that the lock of a temple had been broken by a Muslim. From here starts a series of cover-ups, goof-ups and comic situations where to cover one lie, Abbas starts padding up with a bigger lie telling people that he also has a twin brother with no moustache. From here on starts the topsy-turvy journey of a single person acting as two different entities.
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin Thottumkal, Prachi Desai
Cast Comments: Being this is a movie about a man caught in an impersonation scam, of sorts, I think it’s brilliant Abhishek Bachchan was cast in the role. Some of his best roles have been “characters” or individuals dawning several personalities; whether it was Bluffmaster, Bunty aur Babli or Jhoom Barabara Jhoom, he has a way of bringing the comedy and still embody the other aspects needed to create one persona after another. Overall, as an actor, I find him hit or miss in the sense that he seems to be saddled and prodded about by the project itself, rather, than his individual interpretation of the character. Lately, his movies haven’t been that great and though the box office doesn’t determine greatness, it’s also irrational, not to entertain the reality of it’s status and bearing on film projects.
Devgn on the other hand, has been coasting for years, for if one film isn’t quite up to par, the next three will be. He’s an actor I find versatile in the of best ways, bringing everything he has to every project, seemingly unconcerned with the monetary result. I fell in love with his performances in the Indie film Raincoat and the 2006 re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, Omkara, but he’s mesmerized me with his grasp of character portrayal and development long before then, with his role in films like Company, Yuva and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. I truly relish any opportunity I get to watch him create and this film is no different.
The females, unfortunately, I’m not as acquainted with, though I am greatly excited to see these women in action. Asin is mostly known for her Telegu and Tamil performances, for which she’s been praised and awarded. She starred in the original Ghajini (Tamil adaptation of Memento) and reprised her role in the Hindi version in 2008. And though, I hate to admit it, I saw that film, yet, I have zero recollection of her. I won’t say that she was forgettable, but more that Aamir Khan owned that film and I can’t remember anything passed his performance. Therefore, it’s nice that she’s in a film, in which, perhaps I’ll take some notice in her. This is her second pairing with co-star Ajay Devgn, for they performed together with Salman Khan in London Dreams. Therefore, I look forward to their coupling. She plays an intelligent, kind source of wisdom and support as Abhishek’s sister, whereto, any romantic angle with the gruff and dense Prithviraj could be all kinds a sweet, cheeky, mirthy mayhem. And hopefully, their chemistry is believable enough to pull that off.
Prachi Desai, is newer on the film scene but is best known for her television roles and endorsements. Like Asin, she’s has been awarded for her work, but most impressively for her first Hindi film role as Farhan Akhtar’s wife in Rock On!! She also went on to be nominated and win for her role in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai opposite Emraan Hashimi. Though, she’s starred in a romantic comedy previously, this will be her first blatant all out comically billed film, so it’ll be interesting to see if her range extends to this genre as well.
Trailer: Bol Bachchan
Viewing: This film released on July 6th, therefore, you will have to check around, though I’m sure the DVD will be out in a couple months.
Thoughts: I’ve actually seen the first half hour of this film, which was primarily the bulk of the synopsis above (i.e. the setup). So far, it’s rather funny and Devgn is hilarious as he speaks the most unconscionable English I’ve heard in a very, very, long time. As I’ve said before, I adore him as an actor, mostly for his more serious and meatier roles, however, he plays this role so straight that I can’t help but break into hysterics. He’s absolutely winning here and paired with Abhishek, it’s the unlikely bromance I’m angry, I’ve never had the forethought to dream of.
This film has the kind of execution that I’d hoped 2011’s Korean drama Lie to Me would bring, where one lie snow balls into something uncontrollable and uncontainable, to the point that even the liar begins to enjoy his new world, with tons of hijinks and mishaps along the way. The best thing about stories consisting of lies, is the liar and their reasons, morals and conviction, coupled with the viewers’ investment in them. For, if you’ve bought into the story, the liar becomes an individual to protect and shelter, as they maneuver from one near miss to the other. Abbas isn’t initially a liar, plainly, a lie is told for him, but his fear of discovery allows the misunderstanding to continue. Once, Prithviraj accepts him into his fold, a new world of monetary gain opens up to him and for me, this is where the crux of the movie lay. It’s not about the “money” per se but what money affords. Especially, for those that have nothing or have lost every other thing of tangible value. Early in the film, Abbas makes this statement that just hit me to the core:
“A middle class man has many basic wishes: a 6 figure salary, 5 working days, 4 wheeler car, 2 bedroom flat, two kids, a life partner. But the reality is that– In this world, a man’s heaviest burden, is his empty pockets.”
This is the one comment that hovers over everything Abbas does, the plight of every man; the under current theme of this film. And I, for one, am sold on that one thing, that one idea that will endear me to Abbas throughout all his antics and machinations. He isn’t a man who sets out to deceive, but takes advantage of an opportunity to achieve a dream. There’s going to be a lot of laughter and tons of regret but at it’s center, a big heart, and I’m pretty certain this is what makes this film a celebration of friendship and generosity.
Earlier, I said, Bol Bachchan is a hit, for it’s done extremely well in the box office creeping higher and higher on the crore scale in India and around the world. And with the added treat of an opening title song father-son dance akin to BaB‘s “Kajra Re,” –Oh, it’s all worth it!
[all stills courtesy of GlamSham]