Review: Bachchan Pandey (Theatrical release)

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Farhad Samji’s “Bachchan Pandey” is the story of Bhagwa’s self-proclaimed gift, Bachchan Pandey (Akshay Kumar), who has unleashed a reign of terror, mercilessly killing those who dare to challenge him.

How an aspiring director, Myra (Kriti Sanon) from Mumbai, together with her actor friend Vishu (Arshad Warsi), decides to make a biopic about him and land in Bhagwa, and what ensues, forms the crux of this film that spans two and a half hours.

IN ONE LOOK

  • Director: Farhad Samji
  • Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Arshad Warsi, Prateik Babbar, Pankaj Tripathi, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Ashwin Mushran, Sanjay Mishra, Abhimanyu Singh and Seema Biswas
  • Rating: **1/2

The film is full of caricatures and more like a dark comedy, as the humor is often dressed in gore, only with a few supposedly witty one-liners coming to the rescue.

The plot seems decent, but its ambitious treatment adds to the confusion. The scenes are unnecessarily stretched out and the violence is a determined effort.

Action sequences aside, there’s a generous dose of blood and gore. Along with Bachchan Pandey and his coterie of goons – Kandi (Saharsh Kumar Shukla), Bufferiya (Sanjay Mishra), Pendulum (Abhimanyu Singh) and Virgin (Prateik Babbar) – cut people’s throats and shoot them without flinching.

The first half of the film, while overdone, at least seems believable, establishing Bachchan Pandey’s character, but after the interval, the film makes for tedious viewing.

In the final act, factors such as Bachchan’s love life with Sophie (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is killed, the betrayal of her boss (Mohan Agashe) and her mother (Seema Biswas), who hasn’t spoken to her for 10 years, seem like forced attempts to add melodrama and evoke sympathy for Pandey. These only lengthen the film, in addition to not being in phase with the character of Pandey and the flavor of the plot, and dragging the film several notches in one go.

The director’s attempt to justify Bachchan Pandey becoming the good soul, Bhola Pandey, causes the film to lose focus.

The music is anything but melodious. It’s shocking and only adds to the gory content of the film.

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Source: IMDb

Performance-wise, the film should belong to Akshay Kumar, who, with a damaged stone eye, an evil character, driving around in his vintage car, delivers a strong and confident act, as always. While Bachchan Pandey’s story justifies his motive for being the villain, his turning over a new leaf is a little flimsy, rushed, and unconvincing.

Kriti Sanon as a determined director, Myra, is a sure winner. She is every moment the confident, creative and daring person she is meant to be. At ease with Akshay Kumar, she exudes unparalleled confidence.

Arshad Warsi, who plays Vishu, an actor struggling to fulfill his father’s unfulfilled dream of making it big, shines in places.

The actors in Bachchan’s Henchmen set are all competent and they nail their characters; others like Seema Biswas and Mohan Agashe are wasted, Pankaj Tripathi as Bhavesh, an acting instructor from Gujarat, is hugely disappointing, with his over-the-top act and contrived Gujarati accent.

Overall, this standout Akshay Kumar, despite ending on a high note, with a message of good triumphing over evil, fails to captivate audiences except in part.

IANS

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Harry D. Gonzalez