Thank God It Is Friday(officially so) and with it a new spate of releases await us. And today is World Cinema Day with all shows in theatres across the country priced at just Rs 75 which I believe is a great initiative. The Housefull boards are back with did bring me back to the statement of Anurag Kashyap wherein he spoke about the inflated ticket prices and how a lower ticket price will result in a higher number. And so while I search for a night show of the theatrical releases today(yes it is already too late now), I decided to wrap up the new OTT content which is out for the weekend. And first up I finished watching the new Hindi film Babli Bouncer which had a direct digital premiere on Hotstar. With Madhur Bhandarkar at the helm of it, returning after a hiatus of almost 5 years and his second attempt at dabbling with the comedy genre, I was all ears(and eyes😂). So then does Babli Bouncer manage to impress, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Babli Bouncer follows the story of a young woman who visits the Capital for the love of her life and becomes the first female Bouncer from her village. The story is light and frothy but has nothing new to offer in totality. I can foresee many top critics ripping apart this film for its frivolous content but here is when the critic has to change his/her gaze. This is popcorn entertainment at the heart of it and so my review will circle around this fact(and within that space if I did like it or not). The screenplay standing at less than 2 hours makes for a pleasant watch. However, there are a few issues as well which I will discuss in this segment.
The drama is light and frothy right from the onset when the protagonist is introduced in a sweet little but wobbly world building. The treatment here right away is simplistic, a method which could be termed as outdated. The drama has a proper three act structure here which doesn’t really have any complexities attached to it. So firstly, you will need to lower your expectations to enjoy the film which is consistently watchable.
While the screenplay does seem like a collection of scenes put together, the proceedings are enjoyable particularly in the first hour. The humour is such that you won’t find yourself laughing hysterically but it will definitely put a smile on your face. It is this simplistic storytelling which does shine in the first hour where there are moments of enjoyment involving a sweet little budding love story(actually two) which meets with a roadblock at the halfway mark.
The issue is with the second half where the screenplay is further scattered and definitely seems like a group of individual scenes put together. The events are random with little to no connection between them if you look closely. But the drama still stays true to its subject in continuing to being light hearted, frivolous and at times heartwarming.
The messaging here is a bit unclear particularly involving a couple of characters. The route which it did take was the right one wherein the protagonist does get back to studies. But if a little more emphasis was on that leading to its conclusion involving this path and then the messaging was introduced then it would have added a better dimension to the drama. The final act though is stumbling and just so underwhelming to put it in a good way. It did give me a feeling that the writers were unsure on how to end it which was a shame. But overall, the writing does provide some enjoyable moments despite an outdated screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are decently well penned although a little cringe worthy at times. The music is decent, nothing much to shout about. The BGM is adequate as well. The cinematography is good, the editing is choppy as pointed out in my earlier segment. Director Madhur Bhandarkar, the stalwart behind films like Chandni Bar, Page 3 and Fashion does a decent job here. And I would have said a good job had this film been out atleast 4 years back. And this is because his approach is simplistic and never rises above the script. But at the same time, the direction is not bad at all as it contributes to some of the enjoyable moments of the film too.
The performances are good although I did feel that none of the characters had depth(and some did have a very limited scope) other than the protagonist. Yamini Dass as Dhol, Sadanand Verma, Rishikka Bali, Khushboo Vaidya and Anushka Luhar all have their moments to shine. Saurabh Shukla and Supriya Shukla are pretty good here as Babli’s parents. Priyam Saha as Pinky is confident and does a good job here. Sahil Vaid as Kuku is endearing in an underwritten character. Abhishek Bajaj has a charming presence here and he does a good job as well. Tamannaah Bhatia as Babli is phenomenal here. Clearly the best written role of the film and gets her accent right from the very first scene. She seems to be very comfortable in her character and keeps the proceedings alive through her bustling energy.
Despite a stumbling final act, Babli Bouncer is a breezy and frothy ride but do manage your expectations with this one. Available on Hotstar.