“Comedy dekhne aaye the, bete?”
Sometimes you get inspiration from the most unlikely sources. The above comment was made by one of that sizeable breed you get to meet so often, but tend to ignore mostly in Indian theaters – the ‘tapori’ variety. But today, the above comment fitted so beautifully with one’s frame of mind after watching this movie, that for a change, even I had one huge laugh with the gang.
I mean, consider the kind of cinema Priyadarshan has been famous for, at least of late. Agreed he is the same guy who came up with a ‘Sazaa – E – Kalapani’ or a ‘Virasat’ or my personal favorites of his ‘Gardish’ and ‘Doli Saja Ke Rakhna’ days, but then isn’t he made his name almost synonymous with comedy. His biggest success to date, and rightly so, has been Hera Pheri. And since then, he has been coming almost exclusively with his brand of ‘Ae raju, itni raat ko kaun sa khel khelenge?’ humor. And in all those setups, even the actors have remained the same without fail. Be it the powerhouse performer Paresh Rawal, the completely re-invented and truly rocking Akshay Kumar, the plain brilliant Rajpal Yadav, or even the small time roles of Asrani and Manoj Joshi. And they all are here too. Add to that the fantastic pre-release hype, the hugely popular ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ video (title track) and the marketing campaign that was aimed at making this movie look like another of those laughing riots and you have hordes of public lined up, even more so because this is the Navratri and Eid period. Though the initial footfalls only will surely ensure that it becomes a box office hit, but for all of those who still plan to catch up this one, people be warned - “You are in for a surprise!”.
Now coming to the theme, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ is a psychological thriller. Based in one of those heritage havelis (though here it was probably a set) in Rajasthan, it is a story of a couple who visit their ancestral home and plan to live in the rich setup of their haveli, after being warned by one and all of the bad elements roaming around. But we all know the city bred mindset – the more they tell us not to do something, the more we want to get a first hand experience on that. So the doors that never should have been opened, are now opened and things start to take an interesting turn!!!
Acting wise, Akshay Kumar’s entry is largely delayed, especially considering almost everyone in the theater, including me, was rooting for that rock star to make an entry and that he was the reason most of us had even purchased the tickets. Albeit when he makes his entry at the point of interval, you expect fireworks. Well the fireworks are subdued here, as this one, as mentioned time and again, is different. Yes he still has that amazing screen presence and even his brand of humor keeps cropping up from time to time. However, this particular performance somehow is so not – Akshay like. Shiney Ahuja has not much to do, more so after Akshay’s entry but he is efficient, though loud at times. Paresh Rawal, Asrani and Rajpal Yadav try their usual hilarious stuff and to some extent succeed too, but then even they take a backseat to the script and the environs.
Now for the real star of the show; “Salute Madame“ - Vidya Balan has given one absolutely knock out performance. In the first half, she is so subdued as the Indian 'bahu' that you just take her as a part of the proceedings and then, it’s like the multiple personality disorder takes effect on her in the second half. Her expressions (I concede that she managed to scare me), her voice modulations (obviously technology was a big help) and her complete moves on the classical dance make this as one of her real best performances, if not the best!
The music (Pritam) has done its part in the promotional campaign. The title song has become kind of a national anthem. Everywhere you go, it’s barging down your ears and for a change you don’t mind. Again, Akshay is a big help in the success of the track. Everyone in the theater wanted to listen to this track right from the time the movie started. They were all like, “Abhi aayega, abhi to pakka aaayega” but to their disappointment, the song comes right at the fag end with the end titles, by the time you almost are out of that comfort zone. Other songs are just fillers, nothing special except the new Bengali version of ‘Gumnaam Hai Koi’ and this one is a good listen too but please don’t listen to it during lonely nights. You might just have a visitor!!!
The movie overall is a decent watch. It’s not completely original and you might remind one of those Ramsay flicks - it’s not even close to that bad. The movie sure did have one effect on me – I have taken the next weekend vacation to our ancestral home in Rajasthan and this time, I want to explore the whole place and listen to all the folk tales of the oldies of the village - the ones I have never cared to give a hoot to earlier. Take your girl friend along, she will hold you tighter. Take your mother along, she will curse you. Or the best thing, go alone and you might just be pleasantly surprised. And please when you come out of the theater, make your best hilarious face and tell everyone in the ticket row just like my ‘tapori’ friends – “Are kya dhinchak comedy hai boss” and have a hearty laugh afterwards!