June 17, 2011
Om Puri, Aftab Shivdasani, Priyanka Kothari, Sanjay Mishra, Johnny Lever, Rati Agnihotri, Vijay Raaz
This is the kind of film Om Puri has been stuck doing for years and years in Bollywood, when there’s so much more this man can offer Indian cinema. Bin Bulaye Baraati is an over-the-top farce featuring multiple actors and a noisily told story. Puri plays a naïve policeman called Pralay Pratap Singh who gets himself and the police commissioner into endless trouble. A substantial portion at the start of BBB is devoted to Pralay, his boss and the boss’ wife (Rati Agnihotri) who speaks to Pralay in an inexplicably fussy, baby-like tone, thus leading her husband to believe that there’s an affair brewing. At this point, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Pralay is the leading man. But no sir, he pretty much disappears from the scene when the film shifts to the love story of his niece Shreya, played by Ram Gopal Varma’s one-time protégé Nisha a.k.a Priyanka Kothari. Shreya elopes with her boyfriend AD (Aftab Shivdasani). Along the way they chance upon a cache of jewels belonging to a dreaded dacoit (Gulshan Grover).
Now this dacoit is a nasty type who rolls his eyes and terrorises the people of Madhavgarh even as he manages the curtain of hair falling across his face. AD and Shreya land up in this village along with three con men (Sanjay Mishra, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz), who’ve joined them along the way, never mind how. The villagers mistake them for policemen, and suddenly the film becomes a remake of Sholay.
The real tragedy of BBB is that it probably did sound good at the concept level. A humorous modern-day take-off on one of the great classics of Hindi cinema holds out such promise. But the entire cast should have guessed they were headed for trouble from the moment they discovered that Jai and Veeru were being replaced by four men accompanied by Priyanka Kothari, an ‘actress’ who can’t act enough to even stand around effectively and watch others emote. Perhaps this was director Chandrakant Singh’s idea of a joke considering the audience and media outrage that erupted when Priyanka played a Basanti equivalent in Ramu’s Sholay interpretation, the insufferable RGV ki Aag.
For me, the clue that there’s something wrong with this film came very early on when several characters were shown chasing an obviously computer-generated rat through the commissioner’s house. Still, with less noise, less clichés, a sense of direction and some clearing up of the clutter, this film could have actually been a worthwhile slapstick comedy. In spite of myself, I did crack up during several scenes involving Sanjay Mishra and Vijay Raaz. Aftab Shivdasani tries hard to look dignified and hero-like in the midst of the mayhem, even when he becomes the object of alternate sexual lust courtesy Johnny Lever. Since it’s Lever we’re talking about, it goes without saying that there are various low-brow facial contortions involved here. Television soapdom’s Shweta Tiwari makes a late appearance as a village temptress and far far outshines Mallika Sherawat’s item song in BBB. By the way, Mallika’s number goes, “Munni bhi maani aur Sheela bhi maani, Shalu ke tthumke ki duniya deewani.” What lies!
Rating (out of five): *1/2
CBFC Rating: U/A with one word beeped out
Running time: 135 Minutes
Photograph courtesy: http://www.binbulayebaraati.com/index.htm