Friday, July 08, 2011
#155: Bbuddha Hoga Terra Baap
At the end of BHTB, a still slide mentions how the movie was meant to be a tribute to the man we all once knew as the angry young man. That, in a way surmises more than anything one can write about the raison d'etre of BHTB. While this slide is not meant to be a disclaimer, for all those who struggled through this movie, it becomes one. And for those who enjoyed the movie, it is a reaffirmation that BHTB was an attempt to take us back to the glory days of Amitabh Bachchan.
Whether or not Puri Jagannath, a highly successful writer-director down south was able to capture the magic of the days of old is a matter of debate. What is redoubtable though is the courage that both the director and the actor showed in each other. Here is a man, going on 69, not afraid to make a fool of himself, take on a solo role, dance like there's no tomorrow, fight in his action scenes with more gusto than any present actor ( tell me that last time you saw a superstar manhandle a group of bad men and enjoyed it! ), sing a wonderful melody and with his sheer on-screen presence, no matter how garish, makes you stay glued to the screen. Well, that in a nutshell is BHTB for you- a movie where the story becomes irrelevant no sooner than you've seen Amitabh Bachchan, where villains have to eat humble pie from scene one to last and where all other peripheral actors are exactly that- peripheral.
Taking ample liberty with the story, Puri revolves the plot around a father-son (Sonu Sood) relationship pitched against a group of bad men who are killing people with bombs in crowded Mumbai markets for no good reason. Even if you want to laugh at the frivolity of the script, you are nearly disallowed because AB playing ex-gangster Vijju is playing his part very seriously. The effort to make AB extra cool was misplaced and a more understated approach might've had an even greater impact but Puri's ( of Pokiri/Wanted fame) preferred style of writing is to make his heroes larger-than-life and here he harps on AB being larger than all of Milky Way put together. The fact that Vijju is a character who doesn't seem affected with anything going around him seems a bit hollow and some diligence on Puri's part might've made this movie a real catch.
With some inane characters like Raveena Tandon and Makarand Deshpande thrown in for no good, BHTP still survives the heat because of AB, some sticky dialogues and because at 119 minutes it is about the right length before you stretch for that first yawn. An interesting subtext is how BHTB's Vijju has shades of the Vijay of old in his body language and mannerisms scene after scene. So if you've ever been a Bachchan fan, you must watch this. For that surge of thrill when Vijju describes how a bullet that leaves his gun is different from others, for that joy of seeing AB once again in slow motion and for those goosebumps when he croons Haal-e-dil. All of it is inexplicable but it's there for you to feel. If you've never been a Bachchan fan, this isn't a good place to start but what the heck, it must've been a while since you saw a Hindi hero bash baddies to pulp- watch it for just the fun of it.