Review: Deafening music, bone-breaking blows & underutilised talents make 'Bholaa' a huge mess
The one thing I fail to understand is that why would you have any overpowering music/tone when characters are mouthing important dialogues.
Flying men and vehicles, bone-breaking (literally) punches, and a criminally underutilised Tabu are just some factors that might best encapsulate Bholaa. The testosterone levels are high, the action is over-the-top and the fan service is at its maximum but even then this remake of the 2019 Tamil film, Kaithi goes for the gusto and ambition while not really achieving its potential. But is Bholaa entirely a mess or does it have some redeeming qualities? Having had the chance to see the film beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
Testing Your Hearing Power To The Maximum
I had the opportunity to watch Bholaa in the experience it was supposedly meant for - IMAX 3D. Little did I know that I am signing up for a defeaning experience and one that is relentless. KGF Chapter 2 fame Ravi Basrur is at the helm of music with Bholaa and while the former was also criticised for the loud background music (BGM) it had, that seems like a baby version of the monstrous decibels that Bholaa achieves. The shouting noise of the theme of Bholaa is fun initially but the repeated use of the same ends up making you want to just shut your ears off.
The one thing I fail to understand is that why would you have any overpowering music/tone when characters are mouthing important dialogues. There are multiple instances when there characters of Deepak Dobriyal and Gajraj Rao are saying something important but it is barely heard over the sudden burst of 'AAAHHHH' theme music of the film. While worthy in some places, the music and background score, which in the right amount would have been the highlight becomes the biggest drawback.
The moment the supporting cast was announced, I was delighted. It felt like Ajay Devgn, the director, understood the talent this film needed and cast some of the best. However, the characterisation, dialogue and screenplay is so thin that the fine talents at display barely get anything to do. Dobriyal is asked to be eccentric and unhinged as Ashu but the same is done in such a cliched manner that there is barely anything you feel entertained or scared by.
I haven't seen a bigger downward graph of a character than that of Vineet Kumar's Bhaiya Ji. His build-up is so fantastic with small hints here and there treating him as this vicious mythical creature but once his face is revealed, it literally transpires into nothing. And then you take an actor with the calibre of Tabu, where you had the maximum scope to play around with. Given that in the original, this was a male character and you have converted that into a female, the possibilities were limitless - but instead what we get is a total underutilisation of the actor's talent and screen presence.
Innovative Cinematopgraphy, Breathtaking Visuals & Bananas Action
There are only a few things to hold on to Bholaa and the story and screenplay definitely aren't a part of that. Hence, you go on to appreciate the technical aspects more than other things. One of the more fun ones is the innovative cinematography by Aseem Bajaj. There some extra close-up shots and GoPro cam movements with frantic visuals captured which might also be an input from director Devgn. It is almost Ram Gopal Varma-esque without overdoing it. And due to the raw setting and eerie lighting, some glowing visuals that the film exhibits are absolutely mesmerising. The faceless men chasing Bholaa's truck and the bonkers stuntwork lead to some beautiful shots of slow motion capture.
And finally, the action! Director Ajay Devgn's forte has always been action as seen in one of his previous directed films, Shivaay. The director along with the action team of Ramazan Bulut and Annastasia Tkatchenko go absolutely bananas with the stuntwork. The over-the-top scenes with men and vehicles flying like there is no tomorrow while being butchered and beaten is a indeed a lot of fun to watch. Even the gore content is high where Devgn's punches landing on topless buffed men leads to their bones breaking and coming out of their body (literally). It is meant to make you uncomfortable and it does. We even get director Lokesh Kanagaraj's signature machine gun shot (just like the same from Kaithi and Vikram) but somehow Devgn didn't look as cool as others while doing so.
Director Ajay Devgn & THAT cameo
Director Ajay Devgn is now four films old and after U, Me Aur Hum, he has dabbled with action predominantly. There were flickers of witnessing his directorial talent with Runway 34 last year where the film had one of the most engaging first-halves ever! But with Bholaa, he seems lost again. Kaithi was a relatively smaller film and while the story itself was never extraordinary, the performances and taut screenplay with rising tension made it immersive, especially with the emotional angle of a father uniting with his daughter 10 years after serving prison. In an attempt to make things bigger and crazier, Devgn doesn't focus on the emotional core as much as he should have. There are cliched sequences to show that but they aren't as impactful for you to feel for him. Even the entire flashback sequence of his past is so rushed that you almost miss what exactly happened.
And now talking about the cameo that everyone is already aware about and isn't really a spoiler - Abhishek Bachchan. The actor gets a very interesting cameo with a fascinating character and more than in the film, it basically sets up things for a new chapter of Bholaa - if it ever happens.
Bholaa is a colossal mess that ends up being a victim to the assumption of how 'remakes are bad' - something it desperately tries to be away from. The wafer-thin screenplay, forgettable dialogues and lack of emotional core doesn't make up for the few moments of action brilliance and never-seen-before stuntwork.
Rating - ** (2/5)
2 months ago
No surprise there. The first teaser was enough to tell this would become a disaster.