Amitabh Bachchan loses his fame

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Comedy. India. Hindi
Alternative titleBunty & Babli

Director Shaad Ali Sahgal
script Jaideep Sahni based on a story by Aditya Chopra
production Aditya Chopra
Songs Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
camera Abhik Mukhopadhyay
choreography Vaibhavi Merchant, Bosco-Caesar, Shimak Davar
actorAbhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Babbar, Aishwarya Rai
length 163 min.

Theatrical release 27.5.2005
Trade classification
Super hit
Molodezhnaja age recommendation from 6

   

 

© Text Marco, molodezhnaja 7/19/05
© Pictures Yashraj, screenshots molodezhnaja


STORY
Rakesh (Abhishek Bachchan) lives with his mother and father (Raj Babbar), a railway conductor, in Fursatganj in the state of Uttar Pradesh (1). His parents want him to follow in Dad's footsteps, but Rakesh has other plans - and runs away from home. On the way he meets Vimmi (Rani Mukherjee), who also ran away: Her parents (PuneetIssar, Kiran Joneja Sippy) wanted to marry her (2). The duo quickly realizes that honesty will never get there. The two decide to form a community of convenience (3) - and steal money from people (4). It works so well that they get rich with it and come to dubious fame in India as "Bunty and Babli". In doing so, however, they attract the interest of the dogged DCP Dashrath Singh (Amitabh Bachchan). The cop chases the rascal couple who have secretly married in the meantime (5) across the country.

 

REVIEW
"Bunty aur Babli" is actually a film of missed opportunities, as the Upperstall critic put it. But instead of acidifying what the film does would have you should enjoy what he can be is: light summer masala fun with a high charm factor and no depth. It could hardly run at a better time of year. Perhaps this devotion to trivial culture is a bit of a disappointment for some fans of Saathiya, the first film by director Shaad Ali Sahgal (he used to leave out his last name). It was heavier fare, no wonder, as it was a remake of Mani Rathnam's Alai Payuthey. "Bunty aur Babli", on the other hand, is entirely his baby and that of author / producer Aditya Chopra (DDLJ). A good mood film that a Bollywood fan can hardly resist.

You can best compare him to Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, in which he not only copied the tricks and the escape from an obsessed cop, but also a little more towards the end. The two films have in common the feather-light handling of people who are morally astray. The duo can hardly be compared with "Bonnie & Clyde", since their actions are completely harmless: their stupid victims can be allowed to be robbed by B&B. The two are so clever, they even rent the Taj Mahal to a tourist. That's why you never lose sympathy for them - an important element in a film that is entirely geared towards loving the heroes.

I did that fully. Abhishek has seldom been more lovable than here. Sometimes he looks too much like a jumping jack and he still can't dance (best examples: "Nach Baliye" and "Kajra Re"), but he exudes charm by the kilo. And yet he has to admit defeat: by Rani Mukherjee. The current Bollywood darling has already convinced Sahgal in Saathiya and is literally electrified this time. This is made clear by the first song "Dhadak Dhadak" (6), in which she dances less than jumping around electrified on the floor. The bundle of energy Rani keeps "Bunty aur Babli" alive even in the weaker moments. Your biggest drawback: The intentionally artificial howling scenes are hideous. But if that's all, then consider yourself lucky. And as a bonus there are three tender kisses (7) for her Yuva co-star Abhishek just before the song "Chup Chupke". Because the chemistry of the two is so good, the lip service is for once not slippery, even by Bollywood standards.

But two supporting actors are also of great interest. On the one hand Amitabh Bachchan, who gets an intro à la Chow Yun-Fat in A Better Tomorrow (8). This is his first appearance together with his son Abhishek and there are several scenes that "subtly" hint at it ("my father is just like her"). Your first words actually write cinema history and are still so beautifully succinct (9). In any case, the chemistry between the two is excellent. It's just a shame that Big B can't linger a little longer with Black co-star Rani Mukherjee. Another lady comforts him for this - none other than Aishwarya Rai (10). In her first item song since "Ishq Kamina" in Shakti: The Power, Miss World shows her best side: from behind. Your back almost got its own leading role during the track "Kajra Re". This long song is simply awesome. Ash looks tiny next to the Bachchans (11), and the fact that she has to take over her simple steps puts a smile on her face. One of the best dancers in Bollywood with two of the worst - but it works brilliantly. The Qawwali number also tempts you to swing along. It is not for nothing that Amitabh's shoulder lifts it by itself at the beginning.

Interestingly, the song wasn't my favorite before I saw the film. The honor first went to "Dhadak Dhadak", later to "Nach Baliye" and after a few more weeks "Chup Chupke". Just a few days ago "Kajra Re" really went into the bones and now I can say I love every single song on the soundtrack ("B n B" doesn't count because the rap is in the end credits). Shankar-Eshaan-Loy definitely conjured up one of the best and catchiest scores of the year and it fits like a fist to "Bunty aur Babli". "Kajre Re" is associated with the grandiose Ash-Cameo das pièce de résistance, but all the tracks are great.

Is that already worth 3½ stars, you might ask. Let's see: Sympathetic actors, great chemistry, funny disguises, unique songs, a look bursting with colors and energy, a feather-light story and Rani in top form? No question at all: of course! The film may not have lasting value and the story actually gets out of hand in the end. Worse still: After the interval, it is neither exciting nor fresh enough. But that is almost of secondary importance in a film of this kind. I was also a little disappointed that the second half didn't have any more pepper in the ass and that the tricks that B&B did (12) weren't shown in more detail - but you have to evaluate what you get, not what you want. And I got a Masti entertainer of the upper class, who is worth almost 3½ stars. At the box office, the flick became the most successful Bollywood film of the year to date and is well on its way to becoming the fourth most successful of the current decade (behind Gadar, K3G and Koi ... Mil Gaya). That qualifies it as a surprise hit. And I like to treat the funny movie.

 

SONGS
1) Dhadak Dhadak - Attractively filmed introduction with brisk singing by Udit Narayan and Sunidhi Chauhan (13).
2) Bunty aur Babli - The cool title song (Blaaze, Shankar Mahadevan, Loy Mendosa) is unfortunately woven into the plot and always interrupted.
3) After Baliye - cool song by Shankar Mahadevan, Loy Mendosa and Somya Rao, but the beginning with Abi and Rani in SM leather is a horror! (14).
4) Chup Chupke - Lovely song with beautiful locations and the enchanting voices of Sonu Nigam and Mahalaxmi Iyer (15, 16)
5) Kajra Re - A fantastic qawwali track sung by Alisha Chinai and Shankar Mahadevan that will make your shoulders shrug on their own.
6) B n B - The rap version of the theme song is pretty embarrassing and the thought of seeing Big B rap to it is scary - but for the end credits the combo is quite funny.
Buy the soundtrack

 

MY DVD
Yashraj (USA), code 0, NTSC
Anamorphic widescreen
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 with English and 11 other subtitles (film and songs)
Disk Rating * * * ½ (Solid picture, 2nd disk with extras)

 

TO ORDER 
amazon.co.uk (GB)
amazon.de (D version)

 

EXTERNAL REVIEWS 
OliBlog (8/10)
indiafm.com (1½ / 5)
Planet Bollywood (7.5 / 10)
Nowrunning (3/5)
Mid-Day (3/5)
BBC (3/5)
Upperstall ("A film of missed chances")
Rediff.com ("Go watch Bunty Aur Babli")

 

SCREENSHOTS
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