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|January 7, 2000||
Stars save the day
Titanic still draws the crowds, even on its re-run. That was my first reaction on reaching the theatre. In fact, the ticket-checker mistook me for someone who was trying to watch Titanic without ticket! Only after explaining that I had come to watch Bulandi (which was being screened for the Press at a smaller auditorium in the same theatre) was I allowed to enter.
T Rama Rao's Bulandi has been in the making for quite some time. Set in a village, this film will obviously be compared to Priyadarshan's Viraasat. The villagers do not believe in going to court for justice. Instead, they prefer the Panchayat head, Dada Thakur (Anil Kapoor) to pass final judgments.
Dada Thakur, who is the epitome of justice and righteousness, has a family comprising his obedient wife Lakshmi (Rekha), his two younger dutiful brothers Arjun (Anil Kapoor again) and Nakul (Harish) and Arjun's wife, Meena (Raveena Tandon).
Meena, being a city-bred and educated girl, finds it difficult to adjust to the village surroundings. But that's the least of the problems. Bad man (Shakti Kapoor) doesn't take too kindly to some of the judgments the thakur has passed. Therefore, he plots to malign his entire family.
The film is a mishmash of the masala potboilers we have been grinning and bearing with in the last few decades. But it cannot be dismissed, mainly because of the star cast. Rajinikant, who makes a spectacular special appearance in the film, steals the show. The film perks up as soon as he enters the scene. His mannerisms -- the way he juggles his scarf or throws a cigar in his mouth -- are a treat to watch.
There is a scene where Rajinikant accepts the adulation from the crowd and Anil Kapoor stands near him. One actually tends to forget that Anil is a star in his own right -- so overshadowed is he by the towering presence of Rajini.
Anil Kapoor who plays a double role, shows restraint and maturity as the elder Thakur, which has shades of Viraasat to it. The other role doesn't demand too much of histrionics. Bulandi is another film which establishes how effortless an actor he is.
Both Rekha and Raveena Tandon look extremely camera- friendly, with generous doses of help from the wardrobe and make-up departments. Rekha, it may be mentioned, has earlier done similar roles in films such as Sansar, Sada Suhagan and so on.
The comedy scenes between Sadashiv Amrapurkar and Paresh Rawal, who play father and son, stick out like sore thumbs. Not only are the oneliners cheap, there are too many sexual overtones as well. The lat-baazi (fencing) sequences, on the other hand, have been well executed.
As for the songs (music by Viju Sha), they are far too long, which tends to slacken the pace of the film. Barring a few numbers like Humne tumko chun liya and Hungama, there is nothing to write home about.
The name Bulandi makes no sense really -- one doesn't see any major effort to reach the pinnacle. So much noise has been made about entering the new millennium, about making headway in the 21st century. But when it comes to films, there's nothing new or exciting happening. Filmmakers are still relying either on gimmicks or on outdated scripts to sell their films.
Bulandi too, is just another case of old wine in a new bottle.
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