Director: Puri Jagannadh
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Sonu Sood, Sonal Chauhan, Raveena Tandon, Prakash Raj
Storyline: A retired gangster comes back to his old hunting grounds on a mission
Bottomline: B-movie with a heart that works because of nostalgia and the Bachchan-Dreamgirl chemistry. Strictly for fans only
Imagine if some Hongkong-based hotshot director who makes martial arts movies for a living, one day, decides to make a Clint Eastwood tribute with good old Clint himself and ends up making one steeped in Schezwan sauce instead of Salsa and noodles instead of spaghetti just because they seem to look the same! An Eastern interpretation of the Western International phenomenon.
Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap is a lot like that. A Southern interpretation of a Northern National phenomenon. Distinctly South Indian in its sensibility and tone, Puri Jagannadh’s film thinks it has brought back the Chora Ganga Kinaarewala back to the big screen. Has it really? No and yes.
Though it must be said that hardcore Bachchan fans, like yours truly, should book their tickets right away to just watch the Go Meera Go medley featuring a remix of Bachchan’s Greatest Hits without reading any further.
In fact, throughout the first half, despite Bachchan’s presence, you feel like you are watching a Tamil or a Telugu film from the over the top glares given by stuntmen and of course, the choice of villain – Prakash Raj. Equally cheesy are the looks of awe on everyone’s face as he shows off his sharp shooting skills. Also, though it does remind you of a recent Suriya starrer in terms of it’s father-son/assassin-target plot, the knot here is just an excuse to unleash Big B’s larger than life persona through punch-lines and hero-worship. Whichever way you look at it, this is strictly a B-movie made for fans.
Puri overdoes his fanboy adulation quite a bit so much that he does not know when to stop repeating himself. His Viju (Bachchan) seems to get provoked and angry every time someone calls him a Bbuddah and each occasion turns into an excuse for him to say the film’s title just in case we forget what the film is called.
And there are needless unflattering long shots in slow motion that reveal age. Isn’t it the film’s core objective to show us that age hasn’t really taken a toll on what he can do? And though Bachchan is in top form, commands a presence and even shakes a leg with commendable agility, Puri lets quite a bit of unwanted flab get in the way of the film’s narrative. Throughout, Viju does nothing but walk around getting offended on being called old and flirts with women, young and old, when the villain seems to be in a tearing hurry to eliminate the honest cop ACP Karan (Viju’s own son).
Sonu Sood is cast so perfectly as the son that in the early portions of the film, you would be forgiven to mistake him for a younger Vijay in police uniform. While Raveena in a cameo looks ravishing though silly, it is Hema Malini who really works up the magic and brings the much-needed Hindi fillum feel and her scenes with Bachchan are easily the best in the film.
Not just because they share a great chemistry but also because suddenly, the drama in the film seems more mature and is served up just right as Bbuddah finally finds its feet in the third act. Even if he’s just narrating a story borrowed from a popular email forward, Bachchan makes it his own and delivers it in his own inimitable style. The Action Jackson. The School of Cool, as the title song calls him.
Senior Bachchan simply owns the climax, be it the action scenes or the drama heavy last scene when he forces that tear down your cheek. Now, that’s more like the Bachchan we know. And miss.
(This review originally appeared here.)