News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

This article was first published 1 year ago  » Movies » Review: Bholaa Is Quite A Trip

Review: Bholaa Is Quite A Trip

March 30, 2023 11:35 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The real scene stealer of Ajay-Tabu's Fury Road is Deepak 'Deadly' Dobriyal, applauds Sukanya Verma.

It's one of the oldest stories in the book.

Yet, things take an exciting turn when Lokesh Kanagaraj's clash of cops and crooks in Kaithi opts for a reversal of roles wherein the target of a manhunt is a policeman not a perpetrator.

Ajay Devgn's remake of the Tamil hit retains the original's life or death urgency, but revises its raw, massy momentum for a freakish tone that works wonders for Bholaa as long as it lasts.


Diving right into action like a high-octane game of need for speed, roles are laid out and roadblocks are set in motion.

Uttar Pradesh's lawless landscape replaces Tamil Nadu as backdrop and in place of a male officer, Tabu takes charge as the multitasking daredevil Diana, whose seizing of Rs 1,000 crore worth of cocaine has drawn the wrath of crime lords.

Compelled to make allies out of a convict (Devgn) and a caterer (a droll Amir Khan), she must ferry a lorry full of folks in desperate need of medical attention to its destination while dealing with a mountain of hurdles and moles on either side of law.

There's a serious shortage of police force, her injured arm's in a sling, her designated driver is in a hurry to reunite with a daughter he's never met, the police station she's coordinating with is defended by a lone elderly constable (Sanjay Mishra) and a handful of youngsters detained for roadside hijinks even as the demented junkie, Ashwatthama (Deepak Dobriyal) and his battalion of burly thugs breathe down her neck.

Nail-biting possibilities lie ahead but nothing her strong, silent accomplice cannot handle.

Going by the aggrandising claims of Makarand Deshpandey's awe-struck inmate, Devgn is a superhuman of sorts -- baahar se khamosh, andar se toofan -- and finds a way to squeeze his Shiva bhakti into the picture as usual (but it's the jabs on desh bhakti that hit an amusing chord).

Once he smears a fistful of ash on his forehead, he transforms into a weapon of mass destruction.

Devgn has participated in countless clobbering sessions to add any novelty.

Rather, it's the violence unleashed by his aggressors that lends the contest fire and fury, captured with furious imagination by Cinematographer Aseem Bajaj.

His sly touches are equally admirable, like, when the camera pans over a fancy chess board and its pawns during a conspiring phone call between Gajraj Rao's corrupt Narcotics Control Bureau agent and Ashwatthama.

Watching movies in 3D is never comfortable, but Bholaa's galloping visuals and effects add to the immersive frenzy.

Well begun is half done.

Except Devgn’s fourth film as director falls short of cutting it and dumbs down its edgy masala for an exhausting exercise in excess.

A needless flashback dilutes whatever myth or mystery it builds around the titular character.

Bholaa becomes disappointingly generic when it panders to a preconceived audience, dishing out the obligatory heroics and predictable narrative -- Devgn will rise. Devgn will fight. Devgn will win.

There is not one subtle bone in Bholaa's body whose hero wolfs down a plateful of chicken and then proceeds to burn all those calories by walloping every biker, body builder, gangster or hitman he encounters on Fury Road marked by traps and remote jungles, against Ravi Basrur's background score.

One half of this journey had all my attention.

Be it the Korean style rumble or masked punks of heartland propelling relentless action or the hand-to-hand combat at a deserted police station, I found Devgn's assured execution and Bholaa's bizarre energy surprisingly fun.

Deepak Dobriyal is key to this response.

This is an inspired piece of casting.

If Bollywood's renewed love for bombastic dialogues and far-fetched scenarios also leads to the re-emergence of the flamboyant villain, I can live with it.

Bholaa goes wild around the kohl-eyed Dobriyal or is it the other way round?

Devgn taps a deadly side of this hugely talented actor. A picture of menace and mania, he completely disappears in the character.

My stomach was in knots even when I knew exactly what was coming. One extra star purely for his evil shenanigans.

It's a change of pace from Sanjay Mishra as well.

One is so used to seeing him in facetious fare, you half expect a goofball.

But the level of grace he brings in a short but significant role, juggling between naivete and sense of duty is telling of his calibre.

If only the movie wasn't preoccupied with body count of baddies, his arc would be a worthy parallel to Devgn and Tabu.

Bholaa leaves all the fieldwork to Devgn while Tabu brings in personality, pulling off lines like, 'Vardi bandook nahi bahaduri ke saath pehni jaati hai', like a pro.

Given their onscreen history, the movie saves time on chemistry and solidarity.

A gentle moment shared between the duo as parents bonded by pain is enough to assert Tabu's confidence and Devgn's softness.

Unnecessary exposition revealing more loopholes than information, bombshells lacking a wow factor and an exhausting monotony of over-the-top onslaught after onslaught launching Bholaa in Rambo mode turns the third act into a full blown mess.

Until the going is good though, Bholaa is quite a trip.

A teasing touch at the end hints Devgn has another ace up his sleeve. Or another franchise like Golmaal, Singham and Drishyam.

Bholaa Review Rediff Rating:

Get Rediff News in your Inbox: