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I think in the normal course, I would have faulted this flick mercilessly.

But as it emerged, as the first movie that my wife and I saw in a cinema hall in over 7 years without any little ones to care for, this one escapes.

Plus it is tough to totally pan a movie featuring a standout performance by Abhishek Bachchan, who is quickly emerging as the gold-standard for the post-Khans generation of Bollywood heart-throbs, a phenomenal cameo by Amitabh (difficult to believe he played this high energy role so soon after recovery from the latest ailments), Preity Zinta really living her role and to perfection, and music for the ages from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy…

What detracts from the movie are slipshod editing, a weak story line that leaves too many characters inadequately etched, lazy direction from Karan Johar that results in needlessly abrupt dialogues and interventions, shockingly unconvincing performances by Rani Mukherjee who sleepwalks through her (admittedly poorly crafted) role and Shahrukh Khan, who comes through only in patches….

…if nothing else, this movie shall mark the formal passing of the baton from King Khan to the jr Bachchan, in the same way that exactly 30 years back, Sholay saw the baton of the numero uno star in Bollywood transition from the so-called hero of the movie, Dharmendra, to the one who stole the hearts…Bachchan Senior.

…there are enough arresting scenes and sequences in this 3-hours-plus opus to ensure that Karan Johar recovers his investment and more. It is also a much better movie than the disastrous Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam. Karan’s continuing love-affair with New York City comes through in his wonderful picture compositions across the East River – he captured all seasons and Fall in particular is spectacular. I had a tough time picking my favorite song – Mitva, the title number, and the two party songs featuring the Bachchans are all superb.

…it has been rumored that King Khan is not very happy with the attention that Karan Johar accorded Abhishek…hopefully Shahrukh realizes that he has had a worthy run as the second (and thankfully improved) coming of Dilip Kumar, and that all good things must end….

…and the comments when first published….

Jaunty Quicksand said…
I have not seen this movie and probably will not. I think KKKG did it for me as far as Karan Johan was concerned, with Kal Ho Na Ho striking the last nail in the coffin.Instead I would recommend – Samay – a Sushmita Sen movie which is surprisingly slick and engrossing. (The ending is “inspired” but there is more than enough meat in the story itself to forgive this fact).

10:03 AM

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Anonymous said…
Did you watch the same movie I did???? What *I* saw was a poorly crafted movie with a wafer thin plot, needless (and pointless) characters and eminently forgettable music (except for Mitwaa).I do agree with you, though, that Abhishek is shaping up to be a *really* good actor.

Rupa

1:45 AM

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Buck said…
RupaI think we saw the same movie – except for our diametrically opposite opinions on S-E-L’s music, we are on the same page!

I think the desire to be sensational got the better of Mr Johar and the end result reflects the lack of quality in the screenplay and direction.

4:25 AM

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…For a movie to put a critically acclaimed one like Parineeta in the shade, the bar has to be set pretty high.

In fact, but for the obsession award-givers have with melodrama and seriousness, this “great” movie from 2005 should have given quite a run at the awards as well to the supposedly more appreciated “Parineeta” and “Black”.

“Bunty Aur Babli” is one of those once-in-a-lifetime perfect movies that does not stop to meander at all, that does not give into the temptation to pull in the maudlin though it has no (or minimal) relevance to the core theme.

An amazingly well-made crime caper, with nary a false-step (unless one wants to dwell on the unimportant fact that the action almost never reaches Mumbai though it professes to do so), Shaad Ali Saigal has authored a brilliant offering on the heels of his earlier highly appreciated “Saathiya”.

Bunty Aur Babli is thoroughly irreverential, features two of the most versatile stars in contemporary Indian cinema – Abhishek and Rani – who have acquired an almost chameleoning ability to inhabit the characters they play, wonderful music that blends in so wonderfully into the whole (another outstanding score from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and totally apt lyrics from the RD Burman of lyricists – the one and only Gulzar!), great cameos by stars of yesteryear and in particular, superb use of Aishwarya and Amitabh, and borrows liberally from great ideas from impostors and con-men the world over and weaves them into the Indian context.

More on the music. “Kajra Re” has been written about extensively (and deservedly so – Alisha Chinai did full justice to the song) but I like so many of the rest too (Sonu Nigam and Mahalaxmi Iyer’s “Chup Chup Ke” is delightful, so is “Dhadak Dhadak” sung by one of my perennial favorites Udit Narayan in consort with the uniquely gifted Sunidhi Chauhan, and Sukhwinder Singh and Jaspinder Narula showcase their talent yet again in the title number co-sung by Shankar Mahadevan) that this has quickly risen into my must-own-CD collection (along with Dhoom, Hum Tum, Dil Chahta Hai, Parineeta, Taal, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam,…)

(BTW, have not the last 5 years been one of the most productive ever for fans of Hindi film music in terms of range of selections, quality of songs – lyrics and music, new voices coming up, et al; but this is subject for another post!)

The wondrous part of Bunty Aur Babli is that even the negatives seem to become a positive. For example, after a long time, Rani Mukherjee seems chubby (to put it kindly, especially when she dances around in black hotpants). Yet my wife and I could not agree on whether it was a case of her letting her fitness get away from her, or it was a case of a dedicated actress putting on flab to live the role as a small-town Babli making it good!!! BTW, Abhishek Bachchan is perfect – he lives the role, I could NOT find a flaw in his performance, he lives every disguise and act he puts on, and his body of work (Yuva, Dhoom, Bunty Aur Babli, the cameo in Hum Tum, the supposedly outstanding performance in Sarkar, and more) already puts him on track to match his fathers opus.

Superb movie – this “Bunty Aur Babli”, I will see it again and again; it merits dissection and analysis like a “Sholay” or a “Mr & Mrs 55”

So much so that Bunty and Babli have made it into the common folklore as symbols of the ambitious small town Indian youth…see it to experience it!

and the helpful commentary…

Jaunty Quicksand said…
In the movie, the goal of making enough money to go to Bombay is nothing but a MacGuffin. Simply put, it is an element in the plot that provides an impetus/rationale for the characters to behave the way they do. (For instance, the Ring is the Macguffin in the Tolkein series. It just drives the plot, while itself does not “participate” in the story).I got to see B&B and enjoyed it a lot. Also check out “Sarkar”. If you think you are going to watch a retread of “Godfather” you are in for a surprise. Yes, many elements are similar (and “inspired by the original”), but RGV has his own spin on it and populates his ovies with a good cast of actors. And his habit of using as few words as possible to get a point across is such a contrast to the bombastic scenes of most other movies that it in itself is enough motivation to raise the viewers impression of the movie. I saw it again on Friday and enjoyed it. I also saw “Zanjeer” on Saturday and the similarities between Amitabh’s acting in that and Abhishek’s in “Sarkar” are so uncanny you’d think the two guys were related or something!!

10:47 AM

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Aruna said…
i would recommend ‘Iqbal’ as well from the 2005 releases. A poignant movie about dreams and fantasies of the lesser privileged.

11:46 PM

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Buck said…
Thanks for the suggestion – “Iqbal” it is for the next one we shall watch – though “No Entry” is also in contention as the biggest box office success last year.

2:33 PM

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