Bhaago right out of the theatre
By MovieTalkies.com, 01 January 2007
In a suspense film and in a comedy film, a cardinal sin is to bore the audiences and yet a master craftsman like Priyadarshan combines the two genres and succeeds in exactly that, boring the audiences to the hilt. It was Priyadarshan who brought back true intelligent comedy to the Indian audiences with his immensely funny Hera Pheri which is reminiscent classic comedies like Angoor, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and the more recent Andaz Apna Apna, and yet with Bhagam Bhag, Priyadarshan is unable to muster a smirk from the audiences let alone evoke laughter, nor is he even able to entertain.
The film seems to start on the right note wherein just before departing for a show in London, the lead actress of their play, Anjali (Tanushree Datta in a special appearance) quits as a result of constantly being eve teased by Bunty (Akshay Kumar whose performance is truly the only highlight of the film). As the team leaves for London, the director Champak (Paresh Rawal who is unfortunately wasted by Priyadarshan this time due to lack of characterization, inept writing and limited scope to display his flair for comedy) lays a challenge that whoever is able to find a lead heroine for the play will be bestowed with the honours of playing the lead hero opposite her. Both Babla, (Govinda) who has always been the hero, and Bunty, who has been waiting for his big break, set out to find a girl in London who would be capable of playing the leading lady in their play. Immediately on landing in London, they encounter Gullu, an Indian taxi driver who they become dependent on in their search for their leading lady. Much confusion and some silly scenes later, Bunty’s path crosses with that of a suicidal Minni (Lara Dutta) and although he initially ignores her as he is preoccupied with finding his leading lady, it dawns on him that she is the perfect fit for the play. He introduces her to the troupe as a family friend and as a result he wins the role of the hero, much to the skepticism laden disappointment of Babla. A few more suicidal thoughts by Minni, Bunty’s confession of his love to her, and finally Minni almost successful attempt at ending her life, lands her in the hospital where the audiences are introduced to the fact that she is mentally imbalanced, a fact revealed by the doctors and her husband (Arbaaz Khan). It is from this point that the suspense angle of the film begins, which like the comedy, is also a big let down as a result of the bungling lines, weak characters and poor screenplay.
The literally slapstick double meaning comedy in the scenes involving Bunty, Gullu and Shakti Kapoor are what could easily be termed as "fast-forward scenes" if the audience had the good sense to wait for the DVD of this film and not waste their time in the theater. Priyadarshan seems completely out of form this time around and most of the blame falls on the paper-thin storyline on which the screenplay is based and lack of funny lines and situations which form the crux of even a decent comedy film. Even many of the actors who are known for the comic flair and dependable performances, especially in Priyadarshan films, are a complete let down. Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav and Arbaaz Khan are completely wasted in the film as their characters are weak and they have very little to do, and it almost seems as though they have been cast only to add known names to the film. Govinda, once the king of comedy, falls flat this time, in spite of being given some of the better lines in the film, especially in comparison to the actors mentioned above. There are only two positive elements to the film; the first being Akshay Kumar and the second being Lara Dutta (although only in parts). Akshay’s body language is perfect in the film, and it deserves mention because it is both unusual and extremely difficult for a "hero" like Akshay to give a very loose body language to the character allowing it to come across as anything but hero material, in spite of his good looks and physique. As usual, his timing and delivery is perfect and it’s only because of him and his performance that most of the audience choose to remain seated and not leave mid-way. Lara Dutta is a surprise especially when she is playing the eerie, suicidal Minni. She displays a flair for comedy which has been untapped as yet and makes one wonder why the better roles have eluded this extremely talent actress. However, once she transforms out of her suicidal state, her character lacks depth and hence her performance becomes less enjoyable.
Comedy which rarely makes you laugh, suspense which makes you yawn, wasted actors and dialogues without punch; this seems to be the only way to describe Bhagam Bhag and leaves you wondering whether the man behind this film is the same man how created a master piece in Here Pheri. Bhagam Bhag again proves that if the heart of the film, the script, is weak then talented actors, strong performances, beautiful locales and the best technical team can not save a film.