Bholaa: A Competent Action Thriller, But Lacks The Vulnerability Of Lokesh Kanagaraj’s ‘Kaithi’

Better not to compare with the original!

Bholaa (Hindi)

  • Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Sanjay Mishra, Deepak Dobriyal, Gajraj Rao, Kiran Kumar, Amala Paul, and Abhishek Bachchan
  • Writer-Director: Ajay Devgn
  • Producer: Ajay Devgn FFilms
  • Music: Ravi Basur
  • Runtime: 2 hours 24 minutes

Ajay Devgn made his directorial debut with the romantic drama U Me Aur Hum in 2008. The film did just average business at the box office but that didn’t stop the acclaimed actor from continuing to direct films.

So far, he directed four films and each of these films covered different genres.

The latest is Bholaa. This time around, Ajay takes inspiration from Lokesh Kanagaraj’s 2019 film Kaithi (Prisoner) starring Karthi.

Kaithi was a gripping thriller about a prisoner who is desperate to meet his daughter. The entire story took place in one night.

The mass masala elements were much there. But, at the same time, it was not just a mindless commercial entertainer.

There was enough tension in the protagonist’s journey that made you root for Karthik’s character Dilli. Audiences feel a certain connection when Dilli talks about his past in a lengthy shot.

On the other hand, Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa is more generic. The background score swells each time the actor gets into a fight with the baddies. A huge aura surrounds him and this is mixed with mythical undertones.

Synopsis

For those who haven’t seen KaithiBholaa revolves around an ex-convict of the same name (Ajay Devgn). Tabu plays IPS officer Diana Joseph. In the original, the same role was essayed by Narain.

The film begins by establishing the heroics of Diana. The intense chase sequence makes it clear that she isn’t a woman whom anyone would want to mess around with.

Bholaa is desperate to meet his daughter who stays in an orphanage and has no idea that she has a parent. He hasn’t seen his daughter till now due to some unfortunate circumstances.

In an unavoidable situation, Diana seeks Bholaa’s help. He initially doesn’t agree but is coaxed to help her after Diana promises to help him in meeting his daughter.

Pretty soon, Bholaa finds himself in the middle of a war between the police and the drug trafficking mafia. The rest of the story looks at how he fights off these menacing foes and manages to unite with his daughter.

Tabu wins the brownie points

The best thing about Bholaa is the inclusion of Tabu. We have seen Tabu playing a cop before as well in Drishyam and Kuttey. But still, there is something new that the actress brings to the table.

She commands the viewer’s attention right from her introduction scene. Tabu does a brilliant job of portraying determination of Diana.

The scenes between her and Ajay benefit immensely from the comfort level that both actors share. A scene that deserves a particular mention is when Tabu talks about how people forget that even cops are human beings at the end of the day.

The performances

Among the plethora of bad guys, Deepak Dobriyal is the only one who makes a solid impression. His Ashwathama is deliberately over the top and Deepak chews the scenery whenever he is on screen.

Vineet Kumar as Nihaari starts promisingly but suffers on the account of a half-baked character.

The subplot of Bholaa and the on-screen daughter has its high points but doesn’t have the impact of the original. This is major because of how Ajay presents himself.

However, Devgn does deserve praise for how he handles the track of Sanjay Mishra.

Sanjay Mishra is more known for his comic roles. But here, he plays a subdued officer who is forced to bring out his inner courage.

Too much super-heroic

The biggest issue with Bholaa is that the protagonist comes across as too much of a superhero.

The action sequences start getting tiresome after a point. As viewers, you know well that Devgn will slice off all the bad guys.

Interestingly, Karthik’s Dilli was someone who experiences a lot of physical pain while going about his job. There is a certain emotion that the viewers feel when Dilli talks about his past. But here, Devgn is an all-powerful deity from the start.

Hence Bholaa becomes an extension of the many intense avatars that the senior actor has done so far.

Ajay only shines in a couple of emotional moments.

The flashback sequence involving Amala Paul halts the proceedings significantly. Their love story comes across as rather hurried. The flashback leaves you with more questions than answers.

A sequel on cards

The film ends with a hint of a sequel but it would have been far better if Ajay Devgn had tied up the loose ends.
Some of the supporting characters also needed to be better established. The character of Gajraj Rao is one such example.

The motivations behind his character are rather sketchy. And as far as Abhishek Bachchan is concerned, he makes a tiny appearance at the end without any impact. Maybe he has a better role in the sequel if it happens.

Aseem Bajaj’s cinematography is appropriate for the scale of the film.

Ravi Basur’s music and background score is quite good. The “Nazar Lag Jaayegi” song is melodious. The title song has a powerful beat.

A special mention must be made of how Ajay Devgan uses the classic “Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai” song in an important situation.

Verdict

The best way to watch Bholaa is by not comparing it with Kaithi.

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