|The Sexy Sam act in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna opened new doors for Amitabh Bachchan. From the angry young man he became the eligible old one. The title was becoming on him. Momentarily. But now, an entire film has been built around it. To an extent, Bbuddah Hoga… works when the character gets charmingly self-derogatory. At other times, you almost cringe.
Especially when Amitabh Bachchan gets down to gyrating with firang dancers to some of his most memorable classics like Khaike Paan Benaras Wala and Saara Zamaana. As the loud remix blares, Amitabh flanked by dozens of blondes lip-syncs to lyrics such as Baby Girl, his paunch playing hide-and-seek with the flowery shirt. Your heart sinks. He should not have. He need not have. It`s a sight the younger generation might scoff at, and others grown up on his films, will find hard to recover from.
The story is convoluted. Bachchan plays reformed gangster Viju who`s been away in Paris running his own pub! He comes back to India, superficially working for the underworld. Meanwhile, he also encounters his estranged wife (Hema Malini) and son Karan (Sonu Sood) who live separately in India. The son is a cop, but one who drives a flashy car.
Karan`s love interest is played by Sonal Chauhan. Theirs is a story that`s every Roadside Romeo`s fantasy come true. Despite repeated refusals, Karan keeps pursuing the girl, to the point of harassment. When he stops, she coos, "Maine na bola, to tum peecha karna chod doge?" (you shouldn`t stop following me just because I said No). Her friend meanwhile, whining away like an overgrown infant, has a mother (Raveena Tandon) who`s nuts about Viju. Tandon (looking fit & fab) is made to ham to the hilt, but adds an endearing quality to her cameo.
As for Bachchan`s character, it is a confusing one and not in a delicious complex, manner. The idea seems to follow in the formulas of recent mainstream hits. So Viju wears two watches, a style quirk like Salman hanging his sunglasses behind his shirt. The moral ambiguity is also reminiscent. Then there are the gravity and logic-defying stunts like a bullet swerving around a pole to hit its victim. That`s vintage Rajnikant.
But Big B`s presence is so overwhelming he makes the character— a violent, unlikable one—into a somewhat charismatic one. The altercations between Bachchan and villain (Prakash Raj, fab) are to watch out for especially towards the end. Also worth savoring are the Amitabh-Hema portions where they create magic momentarily.
Scenes like the one where he`s telling a funny story to the ruthless gang, where he`s emotional with his wife, and his interactions with his young friends are great fun.
Writer-director Poori Jagannath (Pokiri, writer of Wanted) makes a film that primarily capitalizes on Big B`s magnanimous screen influence. But even Big B`s flawless dialogue delivery cannot salvage the lack of punch (except a few sparse witticisms) and the script.
It`s an average story with archaic storytelling. If you`re watching it, keep in mind that Big B is the only thing going for the film.
Verdict: Two and a half stars