Bhagam BhagFilm: “Bhagam Bhag”; Cast: Govinda, Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav, Jackie Shroff; Director: Priyadarshan

In a Priyadarshan comedy, one is always comforted in the chaos of colliding characters by the thought that somewhere in the on-going blizzard of bacchanalia there’s a rhythm and a rationale.

It’s that thought which keeps you smiling through the exasperatingly juvenile games of one-upmanship between Govinda and Akshay Kumar in the prolific director’s latest comedy.

While “Bhagam Bhag” lacks the working-class anxieties of Priyadarshan’s “Hera Pheri”, it certainly captures some of the colour, flamboyance and friskiness of a dance troupe from Mumbai, which arrives in London for a performance without a heroine. Both the heroes, tongue-in-cheekily named Bunty (Akshay) and Babla (Govinda) as a tribute to Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji’s antics in “Bunty Aur Babli”, are asked to get a girl for the play.

Then begins the endless chase. It seems as if the director took the film’s title so literally he had to have a supporting cast that could colonise a medium-sized island. Everyone runs and speaks incessantly. Neeraj Vohra’s lines include severely sexist dialogues, which leave a bad aftertaste.

The film takes us on a bumpy, boisterous, wickedly naughty ride. Although we see Akshay getting in and out of London roads and transportation, he seldom gives us reason to apply any logic to the proceedings.

The plot keeps building up into a riot of screams and confusions signifying nothing more than a penchant for parody that goes around in a dizzying circle.

Akshay Kumar shows a marked tendency to take over the show. He continues to be funny, re-inventing his self-important character’s body language to the extent that he appears to be another person altogether. Of course the grin remains unchanged. Comedy in Hindi cinema has become more a joy for the actors than the viewers.

Govinda is saddled with an under-written dithering role that requires him to be more supporting than aggressive. He’s clearly not comfortable standing in Akshay Kumar’s shadow. But seems to have little choice.

As in all of Priyadarshan’s films, there’s a huge cast of supporting players, like Shakti Kapoor, Sharad Sexena, Jackie Shroff (wearing what could be the most lost look ever in a Hindi film) and Rajpal Yadav (bravely looking confident in a cabbie’s role).

Lara Dutta plays a suicidal woman. She keeps jumping in front of cars and courting incendiary situations. You could call her the film’s kinetic element if only her expressions matched her invisible passions.

 

The choreography and songs are like crass versions of Broadway. Thankfully, the finesse that Priyadarshan brings to the London setting keeps the melee from collapsing.

 

But at the end of it all, you do wonder if the pointless ‘bhagam-bhag’ (scamper) is the best remedy to chase away the blues.

— IANS

 

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