This has been mentioned in a few different reviews but I’ll mention it again here. It was an odd coincidence that brought Abhinay Deo’s self-consciously cool Delhi Belly to theaters the same weekend as Amitabh Bachchan’s Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap. The former is a film aimed at the Hollywoodized palate of the urban upwardly mobile youth and the latter is a good old-fashioned masala film written and directed by Puri Jagannadh (who is responsible for Mahesh Babu’s Pokiri, which later inspired Salman Khan’s Wanted.) If I was hack writer Rachel Saltz of the New York Times, I would use this as an opportunity to make a sweeping generalization about ultra-modern youngistan ka Hindustan, but since I’m not, instead I’ll say this: judging by the reaction of the crowd at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square, Amitabh Bachchan still got it. Bbuddah?! Bbuddah hoga tera baap!
Amitabh plays Vijju (natch!) a hitman returning to Mumbai from Paris in order to take on ACP Karan Malhotra (Sonu Sood.) Along the way he meets three delightful girls Amrita, Kamini (Amrita’s mother), and Tanya (Amrita’s best friend) - Charmee, Raveena Tandon, and Sonal Chauhan, respectively - and faces off against the big boss of the city Kabir (Prakash Raaj).
Question: how does one build a hero-driven masala film around an oldish hero?
Answer: by deputizing Sonu Sood as a secondary hero.
The character of ACP Karan Malhotra (and the casting choice of Sonu Sood) allow Amitabh to be front and center with the swagger and the showy charisma while Sonu takes care of the young romance and idealism… and let me tell you something, despite the megastar power of Amitabh Bachchan, (to paraphrase Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing) nobody puts Sonu Sood in a corner.
Vijju is a fun character. He’s an old-fashioned hero in a new-fangled world, decked out in loud floral shirts and dripping in machismo. And it’s really great to see Amitabh back in all his swaggering glory. I’ve never been overly taken with Amitabh as Bollywood’s father figure, the stern overseer of K3G. Amitabh as hero is a different story. I really love the Big B and I love seeing the Big B kick butt, take names, crack jokes, and get overly emotional… and you know, I think Amitabh enjoyed himself playing hero, too. The one real song picturizations in the film is a tribute to all of Amitabh’s best loved hits – the songs that are played at the end of every club night even now. Why should the young guys get to have all the fun?
ACP Karan Malhotra compliments Vijju perfectly and if this doesn’t prove to be Sonu Sood’s breakthrough hero role, then I don’t know what could do it. Sonu Sood is more like a young Vinod Khanna than any other actor I’ve seen. He’s got a dangerous edge and really works the chemistry with Sonal Chauhan, who plays his love interest. There is one scene that takes place in a gym… and Sonu Sood has been pumping iron and the pheromones are flying. Sonu and Sonal prove that you don’t need lip locks or nudity to steam up the screen.
Charmee (who you might remember from the excellent Pournami and Anukokunda Oka Roju) has a cute little father-daughter relationship with Amitabh and is just really super cute.
Raveena Tandon, whose Chandigarh Di Star was oddly not part of the film, was a delight. It’s nice to see some late-30s, early 40s ladies back on screen steaming things up. Raveena looked great and looked like she was having a blast.
Hema Malini makes a brief but memorable appearance as ACP Karan’s mother.
And as for the gang of rowdies… what a fun group of guys! Prakash Raaj is always fun to watch but I was also glad to see that Mac is still the go-to name for the boss’s sidekick. In this case Mac was played by curly-haired Makrand Deshpande (Red Alert: The War Within).
Story wise… well, it’s a masala film. But the dialogues were fun and everybody brought their A-game. Charmee and Amitabh had a fun bantering chemistry and the rowdies cracked me up in almost every scene. I appreciated the fact that the rowdies got to crack some jokes and it was nice to see some character differentiation between all the different guys.
There were a few interesting little meta-moments. A couple of dialogues made fun of the new urban, romance-focused heroes who think they invited the concept of love. A running joke had Vijju using the word “beep” instead of swearing because he doesn’t need to be filthy to be a badass – a very pointed dig at Delhi Belly. And there were a few references to Pokiri/Wanted.
All in all, Bbuddah is a fun ride! It’s probably better to see it in the theater with a group of friends than by oneself in one’s living room, so if you do get a chance to go this week – DO IT!