Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bunty aur Bubbly

One of the perks of being the editor of a youth magazine is - you get invited to preview shows of almost every major movie. And once in a while, I take the opportunity to spend three hours in an a/c away from office "doing office work". Like I did yesterday - watching Bunty and Babli.

In my review for JAM, I was rather charitable. I gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5.The thing is, I went to see BB with a very positive disposition. Given the colourful and kitschy publicity campaign, the rap song with Big B and the Bonnie and Clyde inspired premise I was expecting a fun and frothy film. Which it is - but only in parts.

Borrowing a line from Bunty's philosophical musings in the film - "Yeh jo world hai na, isme do kism ki films hoti hain - good aur verry good". Bunty aur Babli, unfortunately is merely good, not great.

Rakesh a.ka. Bunty from Fursatganj and Vimmi a.k.a Babli from Pankinagar are small town kids with bigtime dreams. While Bunty thinks he too can be a Tata-Birla or Ambani, Vimmi aspires to be a Miss India. They set out in search of fame and fortune, but end up having more fun playing 'con banega crorepati'. By the intermission, Bunty and Babli have fallen in love and marry.

Now here's the problem - from a con caper the film degenerates into pyaar-mohabbat, melodrama and unnecessary song sequences shot in Switzerland (yes, I know it's a Yashraj film but still!)

Post interval, the bidi-smoking, chana-chewing policeman Dashrath Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) is hot on their trail... Now the plot gets thicker (and I mean that not just literally but in terms of the IQ level). Bunty and Babli pull of the mother of all cons with the 'sale of the Taj mahal'.

Unfortunately the way in which it's executed is really not very interesting. It's neither intelligently funny nor slapstick funny. (Except for the bit where a pointless morcha is staged outside the tourism minister's house - that's hilarious!)

Fun + message = confusion
Actually, throughout the film the audience was merely smiling - not laughing full throatedly. Which kind of tells you something.

The makers of Bunty and Babli wanted to make something more 'meaningful' than Kya Kol hain hum kind of mindless comedy ie They wanted the film to reflect the aspirations of small town India, the clash of values - izzat and sharaafat vs quick and easy money which youngsters want today.

Yet, in attempting this duality (comedy + message) they did not end up with a product as endearing as Munnabhai MBBS (which I think can be watched again and again). Bunty aur Babli is well marketed and packaged and given the star cast (the Abhishek-Rani pair really rocks on-screen) - it will be a hit. But it won't go down in the annals of Bollywood as a 'classic'.

Highs and lows
The scene where Amitabh and Abshihek are sitting at a bar and 'Umrao Jaan' is suggestively playing in the background. Aishwarya appears in an Umrao Jaan-type outfit and shakes her booty. Really - it should be edited out!

And Rani, who looks lovely otherwise, should take care not to bare her less-than-flat tummy.

Amitabh and Abhishek on-screen together, incidentally, is one of the highlights of the film. But though Amitabh plays his role well, you can't help but feel he doesn't come across as a 'bumbling' cop. Paresh Rawal might have done the bumble bit better. Big B is part bumble, part sinister. Which is a bit confusing for the audience.

Net: net - the movie has a fair bit of flaws but is nevertheless watchable. I only wish as much imagination had gone into scripting the cons as went into Babli's clothes (which are simply amazing).

By the way, the 'disputed' outfit (which Suneet Varma accused designer Aki Narula of plagiarising) is seen on screen for all of 5 seconds.

Bottomline: I may have given the film only 2.5 stars had it not been for the last 5 minutes - when the scriptwriter redeemed himself. Just for that - an extra star. And given that Dhoom is getting a sequel - I think room has been left for a part 2 here as well.


  1. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I think your review is too good for my liking.I would give a 5 on 5 for this cool review.Will be going to watch Bunty or Babli with a diffrent perspective now.

  2. Well, I shud have read this review before watching the movie n it'd have helped me reduce my expectations. n I guess one thing's missing - every effort was made to reduce the cloth on Aishwarya in the song, such a top? Gosh!
    Talking abt Rani, twas perfect dressing and her bubbly character went well with the movie and acting, Jnr B was fine and as spoken elsewhere, no other pair could've got this magic. One place I'd like to correct you, It was Ladakh and not Switzerland as i guessed from the Credits given at the end of the movie, also at the beginning, no thanks was given to Govt of Switzerland, may be I'm wrong - Correct me on that, in case I really am.

  3. Wantd to badly see the movie-your review has reduced the enthu

  4. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Agree with on Big B Rap, Realy cool

  5. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Hey Rashmi,
    Just happened to read your artcile on 'Hum Blogs' in the latest issue of Business World...amazingly well written...Way to go!!!

  6. I'm with lavin here.

    Read your article in Business World India and I thought it was lovely 'Indian' follow up the Business Week Article.
    You should have also looked at companies like rediff and Indian websites that offer blogging solution. I also found several Indian web-design firms which have benefited from the phenonmenon

  7. hey..

    dont know if u read all ur comments...but well me have been readin ur blog posts from a long time...were really very interestin and found the thinkin etc in the posts runnin somewat similar to that of mine...n well da topics on which u write on etc are a final year engineering grad aspirin for was interstin to hear that u were an IIMA grad (wow- a dream skool for me)...havent got my hands on ne copy of JAM as from Goa and i dont think its circulated here...though i have heard bout it...wud like to send articles etc to it..of course when i get time...had added u on my yahoo mess too..but u are neva online..can u mail me at if u get time? wud like to chat wid ya too if possible...

    Ashish K
    (Panaji, Goa)

  8. Anonymous6:58 AM

    haven't seen it and don't think am even gonna try.


  9. Good job, Rashmi. Probably the Chopras should stick to making the kind of movies they normally make. Experimenting is not exactly their area of expertise. They have effectively advertised for a con-movie, but what they have ultimately made is a run-of-the-mill melodrama.

  10. Though I have not seen the movie. But i guessed almost the same as i realized that the same fate goes with almost every highly publicised movie with all big actors and shots...
    Probably, this happ makes them -housefull- for first 1-2 weeks which is worth for such a big project.

    I don't visualize any comic role with junior bacchan..he looks more serious and manly for such comic and light roles. What do u say?


  11. Yeh world hai na world, is mein do tarah ke movies hote hai , Pehle jo ek movie mein kuch cheezon pe full focus karte hai, doosre jo ek movie mein hi sab cheezon pe focus karte hai.

    I think Bunty aur Babli tries to be the latter and hence it is not the blockbuster it could have been.

    Read my full review on

  12. All I can say is
    We are lovin' it...
    "Kajra re kajra re kajra re tere kare kare naina
    ho kajra re kajra re tere kare kare naina "

  13. hiii Rashmi,
    u prob missed out on the music...i guess its loud n rejuvinating. the movie also spoke of how everybody is becoming nonexistant day by day. you gotta be ambitious n think big in order to compete with the big bad world outside. n abt the music...Aish ROCKS....

    kajra re kajra re tere kaale kaale naina...absolutely awesome..
    c ya

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