Do you feel the need for a crazy nonsense plot, Rani being unbelievably cute, and Bobby Deol being a hilariously bad actor? This is the movie for you! Seriously, Bobby is falling off the couch laughing BAD.
Just gonna get this out of the way first, if you feel the need to treat this film seriously and analytically, you should think about the pro-dissent anti-police message it has. Our hero is a terrorist, straight up, that’s his job. And that’s okay. The government is unjust sometimes, cops are corrupt, and good decent people have a need to violently dissent. On the other hand, there are also GOOD police and GOOD politicians. It’s all about who you are personally, no black and white. Personally, I don’t want to think about this film seriously and analytically, I want to think about how Bobby throws goons off busses through windows, and then in the next scene all the bus windows are unbroken again, how did that happen?
This is for sure a Deol movie! Which is a specific sub genre that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. In the Hindi speaking heartland, the Deols are Kings. So when Hindi film money mostly came from within India in places where people spoke Hindi, Deol movies were INSANELY successful. Now that they are all dubbed and sent overseas and stuff, Deol movies have faded. But you can watch something like Badal and know “okay, this is made for an audience that has been watching Deol movies from Dharmendra through Sunny and now Bobby, and knows what to expect”. That whole “pro-dissent” message up top is wrapped up with the 1984 anti-Sikh Pogram, which is a thing that a lot of people in general (for instance, NRIs living in America feeling sentimental about India) would like to forget. But the Deol film heartland audience, it is important to them. Also, ridiculous fight scenes, lots and lots of Bhangra songs, and heroes who are more about strength and toughness than wit and education. Really, it’s amazing how popular this type of film is, if you look at pure footfall numbers, Deol movies have a larger and more dedicated audience than any other Hindi film star group.
What pleasantly surprised me was how well put together this is just as a movie. It’s well edited, the camera work is good, the script isn’t bad, the narrative has loads of twists and turns, and the cast is solid top to bottom. I forget just how GOOD Hindi films used to be! Before any idiot with a digital camera started making movies, and the cast and characters were cut down to the bone. This film has Rani as a heroine who, okay, has a stupid nonsense character arch, but she is delightful and fun onscreen anyway! Alok Nath and Kulbashan Kharbandan show up for just a few minutes of screentime each. Amrish Puri, Ashutosh Rana, Jonny Lever, all thrown in for long solid chunks of time. Heck, even the costumes are fun! Not invisible “realistic” clothes, but original over the top prints and scarves and things. And 6 original songs!!!! And this used to be what we expected! Ahhh, the good old days.
Anyway, if you feel the need for a ridiculous action movie with questionable morals, an awesome heroine, great songs, and crazy costumes, this is a pretty good choice!
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I have to confess, I got a little lost myself in this plot, so I very well may miss things or misunderstand things. In 1984, Alok Nath gives shelter to an escaping Sikh terrorist in his village, following a “all humans deserve mercy” sort of theory. Corrupt cop Ashutosh Rana shows up and massacres the whole village in order to claim a “victory” over terrorism. The only people to escape are the terrorist and little Bobby. Years later, little Bobby has grown up and is part of a general multi-religious anti-police sort of group. Ashutosh Rana tracks them down and kills all Bobby’s friends, plus also causes the death of innocent locals with his extreme tactics. Bobby goes on the run, and ends up in a small resort town where he meets bubbly rich girl Rani Mukherjee, and local noble police officer Amrish Puri. Amrish befriends Bobby and invites him to stay at his home. Soon Bobby is looking on Amrish’s two daughters as his sisters, and Amrish’s wife as his “mother”. Things are looking up for Bobby! At which point his terrorist cell reappears and tells him they have a chance to take out Ashutosh once and for all and he is drawn back in. Meanwhile, Ashutosh is coordinating the arrival of illegal guns and bombs for a big pay out before quitting his job and leaving the country, the guns and bombs to be used to assasinate an honest politician. Bobby’s friends are tracked down and arrested, Bobby rescues one of them but then the friend nobly offers to die so Bobby can escape easily, Bobby know has the information about Ashutosh’s plot but Amrish has figured out who he is. Amrish’s wife and daughters, and Rani, all hide Bobby because they believe in his essential goodness. Bobby manages to foil the assassination plot and finally kill Ashutosh, before he offers up himself to be arrested by Amrish.
Don’t worry to much about the plot. It’s the emotional beats that matter. Our hero lost his whole family, and then he regains a family unexpectedly through being welcomed into Amrish’s house. Amrish realizes our hero is a Bad Person, but also knows that the police are Bad People (at least some of them) and is conflicted. And of course the whole social question of “what if the Top Cop is Evil, does that justify violence against the state?”
All of this would be very deep and thinky if Bobby were a good actor AT ALL!!!! But instead, he does a lot of agonized glances at the camera when people do things like offer him food, telegraphing “I am torn by GUILT over eating your FOOD when I am secretly your ENEMY”. It’s supes funny.
It would also be very deep and thinky if it weren’t seasoned with a big helping of silly humor. Rani is the heroine of the “I fall in love at first sight and ridiculously chase after him” variety. She is, of course, funny and charming while doing it. And Jonny Lever isn’t that bad! You know, on a Jonny Lever scale. Plus, sooooooooooooo many great songs. Great item song (in which Ashutosh Rana actually joins in and dances a little!), really really great Bhangra song (my favorite), and a great gypsy song.
So yes, Margaret seal of approval, recommended! It’s on Prime, watch it and try not to think too hard.