Friday, December 22, 2006
Priyadarshan has attempted varied genres over the years. His body of work includes some thought-provoking films as well as films that defy logic but nonetheless cater to the hoi polloi. Of late, the supremely talented storyteller has trained his sights on one particular genre -- comedy.
Bhagam Bhag, his new outing, charters a similar path. At least that's the impression you get when you look at its qualitative promos. After a breezy first half, you realize that there's more to Bhagam Bhag. It's not just a comic fare. It transforms into a murder mystery.
Nothing wrong if Priyan packs two diverse genres in one film, but the problem is that the comedy works and the whodunit doesn't!
Let's examine the two halves of Bhagam Bhag minutely. Analysis of Part 1 first:
- Lock your brains and throw the key in the sea as the curtains go up and Bhagam Bhag unfolds. Remember, don't look for logic, don't ask questions.
- The escapades of Akshay-Govinda-Paresh are truly entertaining. In fact, howlarious at times. A number of comic scenes are the mainstay of the enterprise. The first half, to put it rightly, is paisa vasool entertainment!
Now an analysis of Part 2 [post-interval portions]:
- The whodunit takes off very well at the intermission point. But as the mystery deepens and the three suspects [Akshay, Govinda, Paresh] start running helter-skelter, trying to put pieces of the jigsaw puzzle meticulously, the sequence of events that lead to the finale aren't convincing and captivating.
- The climax is the biggest culprit. The identity of the murderer and the motive behind the murder should come as a shock if the whodunit has to have a solid impact. In Bhagam Bhag, the end result is not as impactful.
To sum up, Bhagam Bhag may not be Priyadarshan's finest effort in this genre, but it provides ample laughter and entertainment in the final tally. Had the second hour been as captivating as the first, it would've been a different story altogether!
Champak [Paresh Rawal] has a theatre group in India and he performs shows all over the country. Bunty [Akshay] and Babla [Govinda] along with others are actors in the group. Both are naughty-natured guys who never miss a chance to flirt with girls, even with girls in the group.
At the completion of one show, an organizer [Asrani] offers Champak's group to perform shows in England. Unfortunately, the heroine of the play [Tanushree Dutta] opts out due to Bunty's misbehavior.
They reach London and through Gullu [Rajpal], a taxi driver, Bunty and Babla try to find a girl for their play, but it leads to many misunderstandings. In this process, Bunty and Babla fall into trouble involving a drug baron [Manoj Joshi].
Thereafter, Bunty and Gullu discover a girl Minni [Lara Dutta], who suffers from amnesia, to act in their drama and just as Bunty and Minni fall in love, she regains her memory and reveals that she's married to a U.K.-based entrepreneur [Arbaaz Khan].
Comedy is serious business and Priyadarshan has explored this genre with flourish. In Bhagam Bhag, there are ample moments that tickle your funny bone. But it's the writing in the second hour [screenplay: Neeraj Vora] that acts as a spoilsport.
- The Shakti Kapoor-Rajpal Yadav track raises a few laughs in the first hour, but stands out like a sore thumb in the next hour. Ditto for the drug baron [Manoj Joshi] and his sidekick [Sharat Saxena]. It hardly evokes mirth!
- The murder mystery is just not convincing. The Arbaaz-Lara-Jackie tracks are poorly etched out. And as pointed out at the outset, the climax -- very similar to the one in David Dhawan's Shaadi No. 1 -- manages a chuckle, but is far from being hilarious.
Given the fact that Priyadarshan is saddled with an ordinary screenplay, there's not much he can do to elevate the goings-on. Yet, there's no denying that his handling of the comic scenes is superb. Pritam's music is strictly okay. 'Signal' is the best track of the enterprise, while 'Afreen' appeals more due to its choreography and the colorful set [Sabu Cyril] than its tune. The music composer is just not in form here. Jeeva's cinematography is topnotch. Dialogues [Neeraj Vora] are excellent. Vora knows where to give the right punches!
Akshay does his part well, but why is the actor getting typecast in similar roles? Compare his character in Deewane Huye Paagal, Garam Masala and Phir Hera Pheri with the one in Bhagam Bhag and it's the same Akshay in all the films. Hello Mr. Kumar, why this act of monotony?
Govinda doesn't get it right in his comeback vehicle. Known for his impeccable sense of timing vis-À-vis comic films, he's just not in form this time around. Also, he's looking older and obese in the film. Paresh Rawal is competent, while Rajpal Yadav is superb, but is sidelined in the second hour.
Lara Dutta lacks the talent to carry off a challenging role. She looks pretty, that's it! Jackie Shroff is mechanical. Arbaaz Khan doesn't get much scope. Shakti Kapoor is in true form. Asrani, Sharat Saxena, Manoj Joshi, Razzaq Khan and Amita Nangia are okay. Tanushree Dutta looks glamorous in the Signal track.
On the whole, Bhagam Bhag will be loved for its comedy in the first hour, but the whodunit in the second hour tapers the impact. At the box-office, the pre-release hype will ensure a bountiful first four days [Monday is Christmas, making it a 4-day weekend], thereby adding to the booty. Even otherwise, the holiday period in the coming days and lack of a mass-appealing entertainer since Dhoom 2 will benefit Bhagam Bhag, making the film a safe bet for its distributors.