Bunty aur Babli 2
I hadn’t watched a Bollywood film at the movies for the longest time, because hardly any were releasing in the theatres here due to the pandemic, and the ones that were playing were just not that good. So I was quite excited to go see Bunty aur Babli 2, as I’ve been a fan of the first edition, and Bollywood’s original heist duo was back!
The original Bunty and Babli – Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji entertained the audiences in 2005. Flash forward sixteen years, and we have a Bunty aur Babli redux, jazzed up with a makeover and two new entrants. Directed by Varun V Sharma, the film has Saif Ali Khan replacing Abhishek Bachchan as Bunty, Rani reprising her Babli act, and two new faces – Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh – giving the franchise a younger fresh appeal.
The plot is pretty simple. The original Bunty and Babli face their biggest fear of being redundant and their brand being tarnished by two youngsters using their names to con people . Now-retired con artistes Saif and Rani are happy in their family life until Inspector Jatayu Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) lands at their doorstep to arrest them for a robbery they didn’t commit. The original B and B not only have to defend their brand now, but also hunt down the imposters and protect their legacy. Sounds fun, right?
However it’s a terribly written and poorly executed film. The original, which most of us so thoroughly enjoyed, was best left untouched. It’s a drag that fails to engage. And sadly, doesn’t have that many punches expected from this genre. It fails to gain the momentum that you want to see in a comedy. The director tries too hard to ingest references from the original and he barely gets them right. The narrative is sloppy and juvenile, to say the least.
Coming to the characters, Rani as Babli is a major highlight. Her comic timing is quite a revelation, and showcases a side we haven’t quite seen before. But her over-the-top outfits and garish makeup were cringe. Her look had made such a statement back in the day and girls had got the iconic Bunty-Babli outfit with collars and short kurta and flared bottoms stitched! And now, the less said the better; her getup in most scenes was painful to the senses. Amongst the youngsters, Sharvari exudes confidence and has immense potential. In my opinion, she has a long way to go in B Town. She has a spark and looks like this is what she was born to do. Siddhant uses his charisma to his advantage, and goes full throttle when it comes to playing up his Casanova image. But he has set the bar so high in Gully Boy that we as the audience can’t help but compare. Pankaj as always delivers, his one-liners had me in chuckles! It would be amiss if I didn’t mention the two cute kids here, they held their own despite sharing screen space with seasoned actors.
The big elephant in the room is Saif replacing Abhishek as Bunty. Those are big shoes to fill. Though the comparisons are unfair, he does deliver a decent performance, playing the quirky and goofy Rakesh. However, we’ve seen far better of him on screen, even in comedy films. Oddly enough he looks the most comfortable in his designer suits in the second half. You can’t help but think of Abbas-Mustan’s Race when you see a good-looking Saif Ali Khan donning stylish sunglasses.
The songs in Bunty Aur Babli 2 are forgettable, the music is lackluster. That was one of the biggest reasons why the first one worked, with foot-tapping tracks like ‘Kajra Re’, ‘Chup Chup Ke’ and the catchy title song. In fact, this one has a scene with the original Kajra Re playing in the background, which serves as a bleak reminder of how forgettable the music in this sequel is.
Overall, the film is good for a one-time watch if you have nothing better to do. Definitely not ‘going to the cinema’ worthy; best to watch it at home. Despite the weak script, a storyline that lacks gumption and substandard music, watch it for the performances!
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.