Bachchhan Paandey is a film that should ideally have been an email that lands straight in our spam folder. That would have spared us the torture of sitting through some seriously deranged stuff.
There is a film within a film here. Kriti Sanon plays Myra who wants to direct her own movie. Fuelled by insults heaped on her by her film’s director and producer along with encouragement from her father to “go for it”, she decides to wait no more.
Some quick rounds of discussions lead her to the menacing one-eyed gangster Bachchhan Paandey of Baagwa. Too scared to approach him directly she camps with her friend Vishu (Arshad Warsi). They spy, snoop, sneak a peek and poke to get some information on the man who has a glass eye, kills like a maniac and has a crazy appetite for gore.
Could this “film within a film” idea actually be a spoof on how some filmmakers go about their business in Bollywood? Could be, but yours truly is so exhausted sitting through this mind-numbing utterly nonsensical affair that it’s tough to decipher any method to the madness.
We witness some random killings, people falling dead all around, fountains of blood oozing out and a gang rivalry of sorts where every adversary of Bachchhan Paandey is eventually decimated. Why would Akshay Kumar who lately has very consciously curated an image of a good citizen on screen play such a repulsive outlaw? Further, to do it in a film that adds no value at all? Obnoxious circumstances keeps piling up one after another.
“Mujhe bhai nahi godfather bolte hain” (They call me The Godfather, not brother) bellows Bachchhan Paandey. Songs with lines “Maarunga toh maa ki kasam marr jaayega. Fire hoon main… jal jaayega,“ (If I hit you, I swear on my mother, you’ll die. I’m fire, you’ll burn to ashes).
Abhimanyu Singh, Sanjay Mishra, Prateik Babbar as his sometimes comic, sometimes dreaded sidekicks try keeping busy while we rake our brains to understand the point of it all.
Bachchhan Paandey becomes yet another film that shows complete disregard for Arshad Warsi’s talent and brilliant comic timing. He has been given little to do previously and still every time he says his lines the film is imbued with charm.
Kriti Sanon wasn’t given a breathing character. She was provided with instructions and to her credit she follows through and looks radiant. An added bonus.
To explain Paandey’s proclivity to gore and violence we have a whole flashback thread complete with a Jacquline Fernandez giggling, rope walking and walking on stilts! Apparently, that’s what tourists do. Sigh! “Kya ye oonth hain“ (Is this a camel?) she asks pointing at camels to which Bachchhan Paandey replies “gadhe hain” (They’re donkeys). We nod. We all are.
Akshay sleepwalks through the film as if he has already given up on it. Pankaj Tripathi makes a joke of himself really by even agreeing for this. We don’t laugh with him, we don’t laugh at him, we are simply pained to see him put himself through this. Playing a Gujarati, it’s the first time we see such an inauthentic performance from Tripathi.
Overall Bachchhan Paandey is neither funny nor intriguing. He always looks like a character that can exist nowhere but in the futile imagination of some makers who think audiences like to pay money to dumb themselves down.