Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa has decided to take on the responsibility to cast comedic actors in extravagant, menacing roles and somehow it works. Bholaa, directed by the film’s main man Devgn, takes place in an universe where violence is often someone’s first resort and is helmed by a man who is half man-half large cement wall.
The film opens with a massive drug bust with SP Diana (Tabu) pulling out all her best action moves to overpower two goons in a truck. The cargo is tucked away at a secret location and seven others are locked in prison in a low-staffed police station.
Events unfold and the only people left to protect the police station are an elderly cop (Sanjay Mishra) and four college students. Their task: Stand up to a mobster Ashwatthama (Deepak Dobriyal) and his entire gang.
At the same time, Diana and Bholaa (Devgn) are on a mission to save the lives of a bunch of cops loaded into a truck. Their mission takes the form of a video game with them having to face multiple different threats before they can fight the main boss.
Bholaa doesn’t aim to be much beyond an action-entertainer but while it is entertaining, the action doesn’t hold up on its own. The fight choreography becomes lazier with every sequence and an extremely loud background score doesn’t do the scenes any favours.
Ajay Devgn as Bholaa is convincing in the role he has to play of a father whose only aim is to be able to meet his daughter for the first time. However, the film never rises beyond a certain emotional rung even though it is clearly trying to tug at your heartstrings.
Tabu, whose character Diana, injures her arm in the very first scene is given little else to do. She flits in and out of some action sequences: a punch here, a kick there. Tabu with her immense talent attempts to stand out in this suffocatingly male universe but she is not supported by the material.
Her character who is seemingly a threat to one of the most notorious gangs in the city doesn’t get any chance to showcase that menace beyond an opening fight sequence.
The film’s best is Deepak Dobriyal as Ashwatthama aka Ashu AKA sasta Jack Sparrow.
It’s the actor’s perfect comedic timing that also slips into his character and he moves with the ease of a mobster with a possible career in dance. He is delectably charming (somehow) in the role but arguably most of the terror associated with the character comes from the huge hammer he is wielding.
The original Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Kaithi had a smart, albeit not exceptional, plot but Bholaa struggles to keep that together. The subplots and backstory arcs are unnecessary for a film that could’ve skirted by on action set pieces alone.
At some point, even the action sequences become predictable because an almost-superhero Bholaa (getting these powers seemingly from his devotion for Lord Shiva) is practically invincible. DOP Aseem Bajaj tries every camera angle in the book, from sweeping pans to swiveling tracks: it’s almost too much.
The fight sequences, however, are better shot and the camera angles add to the scenes. The film is written by Ankush Singh, Aamil Keeyan Khan, Sriidhar Rajyash Dubey and Sandeep Kewlani. Other than an utensil-themed running gag, there's not much to write home about when it comes to the dialogues.
Bholaa is, despite its flaws, an entertaining film for the crowd that would enjoy the genre. With multiple things happening at the same time, the film leaves little place for boredom but for those wondering, it doesn’t match up to the charm of Kaithi and I blame that primarily to the way the tandoori-chicken eating scene isn’t fully realised.
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