Some of the best masala films were
churned out by the dream merchants in the 1970s
and 1980s. Films such as SHOLAY, NASEEB, AMAR
AKBAR ANTHONY, PARVARISH, LAAWARIS, TRISHUL… had
the audience flocking the cinema halls.
In these fast-changing times, when film-makers
rarely attempt typical masala films,
since the emphasis is more towards realistic
cinema in a commercial format, comes BUNTY AUR
BABLI from the house of Yash Raj.
Every Yash Raj film is special. And rightly so!
The Numero Uno production house, with an
impressive and enviable track record, now comes
up with a masala fare, BUNTY AUR BABLI,
reminiscent of the non-stop entertainers of the
1970s and 1980s.
Unfortunately, BUNTY AUR BABLI is half as
convincing as the masala entertainers of
yore. Despite some of the biggest names involved
in this film, BUNTY AUR BABLI fails to transport
you to a world of make-believe. The problem lies
in its screenplay, which shows promise
initially, but drops alarmingly in the
In short, BUNTY AUR BABLI is a golden
opportunity gone waste!
Bunty and Babli are two avid dreamers. Two free
souls born into caged small town realities. They
grow weary of being two specks on the horizon.
They desire the horizon itself.
And so they pack their aspirations in worn out
bags, whip a scarf of confidence around their
proud necks and set forth. On a journey across
the length and breadth of the country, spinning
circles around the people they meet.
Rakesh aka Bunty [Abhishek Bachchan] wants to be
amongst the richest in the world. He wants to be
in jacuzzis. He wants to be in limousines. He
wants to be a big blip on the radar of history.
He wants to be the big black typo in newspaper
Vimmi aka Babli [Rani Mukerji] faces a similar
situation. Does she follow the course every
other young marriageable girl does? Or does she
carve new fatelines on her soft-as-butter palms?
In her mind, she's the foxiest thing to ever
have hit a ramp. She's the hottie the world can
just gape at, but never touch. So she too
decides to fly the coop.
Somewhere, along their individual journeys,
Rakesh and Vimmi meet, flogged by circumstances
but unwilling to concede.
Bunty and Babli meet shaadi bandwallahs,
millionaires, investors, ministers, hoteliers
and one very, very upset policeman, Dashrath
The world sits up and takes wide-eyed notice of
Hollywood has often produced capers that depict
characters on the run. Having shades of BONNIE
AND CLYDE [a trailblazing motion picture that
started a trend in Hollywood], BUNTY AUR BABLI
steps into a territory that very few Indian
films have ventured into. In a way, BUNTY AUR
BABLI defies the stereotype, but the format is
akin to those by-now-famous entertainers that
movie enthusiasts still remember vividly.
BUNTY AUR BABLI starts off pretty well and the
story about two ambitious souls is laid out in a
fashion that the common man can identify with.
Their background, the two strangers meeting at a
point when both have tasted failure, their first
petty crime, their subsequent antics… the
screenplay has its interesting moments.
The Big B makes a
dramatic entry at the intermission and you
expect the film to scale dizzy heights.
Alas! That doesn't happen. BUNTY AUR BABLI falls
to an all-time low in the latter part. Yes,
there are a few skillfully executed sequences,
like the Taj Mahal sell-out and the one
involving the robbery of the gold from the
But the problem with the post-interval portions
is that it lacks the meat to keep the viewer's
interest alive. Everyone eagerly awaits
fireworks when the two Bachchans come face to
face, but their first scene together [the
drunken act!] is boring and long-drawn-out and
even the song that follows, with Aishwarya Rai,
doesn't set the screen ablaze or work any kind
of a magic. In fact, this song is a mere prop to
enhance the star-value of the film.
The pre-climax, when the Big B finally uncovers
the identity of Bunty and Babli, is expertly
handled, but from thereon, again, the film
stands on a shaky stool. The conclusion, when
the Big B has a change of heart and lets off the
two robbers, only goes to show that in Hindi
cinema, the hero is always a hero, with a heart
of gold. Irrespective of the fact that Bunty and
Babli have created a nationwide stir with their
robberies, the honest lawman pardons them simply
because he realizes that the husband-wife con
team are sorry about the crimes they had
Shaad Ali's direction is efficient at places,
but he is letdown, and terribly at that, by a
screenplay of convenience [penned by Jaideep
Sahni]. The ease with which both Bunty and Babli
commit crimes, that too at an alarming rate,
only goes to show that the writer is completely
clueless about the law and order situation in
the country or perhaps, he's under the
impression that lawbreakers and conmen rule this
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is another drawback.
In view of the fact that every Yash Raj product
is embellished with a sparkling musical score,
the music of BUNTY AUR BABLI is a complete
downer. 'Dhadak Dhadak… Tujhe Bulaye Re' [at the
very start of the film] is the sole track that
you wish to hum after the show has ended. The
songs are well filmed, no doubt, but none have
those mesmerizing qualities that Yash Raj
products always boast of.
Cinematography [Abhik Mukhopadhyay] is of a high
quality. The sound design [Anuj Mathur] is
Despite the fact that BUNTY AUR BABLI doesn't
really demand histrionics from any of the
actors, it must be said that the three principal
characters, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan
and Rani Mukerji, deliver topnotch performances.
Amitabh is convincing in a role that suits him
to the T. However, the hardcore fans of the
veteran may feel disappointed since he doesn't
really get much scope in terms of screen-time.
Abhishek Bachchan is wonderful. The actor is
getting better with every release. He handles
the light moments with the same sincerity with
which he handles the emotional ones. Rani
Mukerji is superb. The actor sinks her teeth
into this role and comes out with flying colors.
The film has a number of characters, but the
ones who register the maximum impact are Raj
Babbar, Punit Issar, Kiran Joneja Sippy and
Rameshwari. Prem Chopra and Pratima Kazmi are
On the whole, BUNTY AUR BABLI just doesn't have
the meat to enthrall the moviegoers. At the
box-office, the film has taken an excellent
start due to two reasons -- the Yash Raj brand
and the fact that the two Bachchans have been
teamed for the first time. While the first
weekend will witness 'House Full' boards outside
the single screens as well as the multiplexes,
the film doesn't have the power to sustain after
the initial curiosity subsides. Monday onwards,
the collections should come crashing down.