Bholaa Movie Review: This Bone-Crunching Ajay Devgn Show Packs A Punch
‘Bholaa’ Movie Review: This Bone-Crunching Ajay Devgn Show Packs A Punch

Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa might or might not be at par with its original, the 2019 Tamil-language film, Kaithi, but that it is a rather cool actioner is undeniable

Director: Ajay Devgn
Writer: Aamil Keeyan Khan, Ankush Singh, Sandeep Kewlani, Shriidhar Dubey. Based on Kaithi, written by Lokesh Kanagaraj
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Deepak Dobriyal, Sanjay Mishra, Gajraj Rao, and others
Rating: 3.5/5


Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa is a grand CGI-laden spectacle created out of the gritty and realistic 2019 Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Tamil blockbuster Kaithi. The movie revolves around a just-released convict, Bholaa (Ajay Devgn) who can be turned into a weapon of mass destruction just by applying ash (which he carries with him in a pouch) on his forehead. En route to fetching his daughter from the orphanage, he gets embroiled in a clash between the police and the drug mafia. Here the ‘police’ is essentially, IPS Diana Joseph (Tabu), a single-woman army pitted against a coalition of local gangs helmed by Nithari (Vineet Kumar with scary eye closeups) and his brother Ashwathama (the brilliantly menacing Deepak Dobriyal).




This is an Ajay Devgn film. So, IPS Diana is conveniently given an arm injury that renders her handicapped and disabled (and turns her almost into a call center employee). With the kick-ass police inspector writhing in pain, Devgn gets the entire action centered on him. It is interesting to note that in the original it was a male police officer and he was seen sporadically taking sharing the action scenes with the hero. Replacing it with a woman counterpart initially seems a bold move and you are even tempted to appreciate Devgn for giving Tabu such a grand entry, maybe even grander than himself. But then you realize that the gender switch might just be because a woman can easily be turned into a damsel in distress and what’s a hero without a heroine that needs saving? It is a missed opportunity to create a kick-ass female character. Instead of building a realistic world with organic characters, the adaptation is created as a star vehicle, as an out-and-out Ajay Devgn movie. It takes serious talent to outshine Tabu, but the writers ensure that.



But this Kaithi-meets-Mad Max Fury Road is a high-octane thriller, the impact of which is further heightened by Aseem Bajaj’s agile and often even a tad quirky camera work and sharp Dharmendra Sharma’s editing. The well-choreographed action set pieces that are the highlight of the film include an adequate dose of snapping of spines and a spattering of broken teeth, a cavalcade of flying bikes, oiled, half-naked humans in matching chaddis, a rather sissy leopard, a long and curiously rust-free Trishul of a huge Shiva statue standing exposed in nature, multiple stunt doubles, continuity glitches, and tons and tons of CGI. But Devgn, who has grown up on a healthy dose of filmy stunts with his dad being one of the industry’s top stunt coordinators, Veeru Devgan, and had made his entry into the movies doing a signature split stunt on top of two bikes, one that he would go on to recreate in films like Son of Sardaar, Golmaal, and De De Pyaar De, gravity-defying action is no big deal; in fact, the action hero in him thrives on those. But here, the over-reliance on CGI often takes the willing suspension of disbelief so far that it creates a disconnect. But, even then, it all looks cool (even when clunky) on screen. Although the action star in him gets ample opportunities as the ‘instant-superhero-add-ash’ Bholaa, the movie that seemed to be aimed at getting the thrills instead of creating any thought-provoking or poignant moment, hardly does justice to Ajay Devgn the actor. What works is that Bholaa is built as a man of action and sparse dialogues—in fact, one of his prison inmates (played by Makarand Deshpandey) while reciting a paean on him mentions him as baahar se khamosh, andar se toofan. Hence, the rare lines he mouths become more impactful. And a brooding Ajay Devgn is always the best version of Ajay Devgn anyway.


But while Ajay Devgn plays to his strength and plays a version of Ajay Devgn, it is Deepak Dobriyal as the kohl-eyed, heinous, and unhinged Ashwathama (named after the Mahabharata man who has killed five young sons of Draupadi mistaking them for the Pandavas, here the parallel is too subtle for such a mouthful name) who comes as the surprise element. He plays the villain with a swag and flamboyance that one has hardly seen the versatile actor tap into. He is deliciously evil and is a joy to watch.


Sanjay Mishra as the dilapidated Inspector Angad Yadav, the new joinee at Diana’s police chowki, is too good an actor to have a misstep. He is especially brilliant in the scene where he takes a drastic step reflecting how violent a middle-class old man can get, when pushed to the edge. But we have just seen his character go through a similar arc in Vadh and hence the emotions of the scene look a bit jaded.



Vineet Kumar as Nithari, the dreaded and elusive don, screams and fumes, and the camera keeps getting big closeups of his eyes but he is mostly kept caged. Probably we will see him unfurl his full potential in the sequel (yes, there will be one).


Gajraj Rao as Devraj Subramaniam, the corrupt Narcotics Control Bureau agent is effective and his accented Hindi is endearing but he is saddled with an outlandish makeup and the most bizarre and stupidly convenient endings any Hindi cinema character has seen in recent years.


The songs are forgettable as is the case with most Hindi movies these days and one wished the movie had resisted the temptation of incorporating those in the first place. These hardly add anything but dilute the tension that the movie attempts to build. The original was terse and bereft of such frills, and that seems to be a much more effective creative decision.


But saving the worst for the last. And there is a tie between the atrocious and insanely loud background score screaming Bholaa (and reminding one of Alia’s Shivaaa in Brahmastra)in a ridiculous voice and the lame and absolutely avoidable interpolation of Bholaa’s backstory near the climax. While the first gives you a headache, the second makes you sleepy which the headache doesn’t allow you the luxury of (yes, it is a deadly combo similar to liquid Oxygen as propagated by Ajit: Liquid ise jeene nahin dega; Oxygen ise marne nahin dega!).





Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa might or might not be at par with its original, the 2019 Tamil-language film, Kaithi, but that it is a rather cool actioner is undeniable. Yes, there are physics-defying stunts, logic-defying easy resolutions, eardrum-piercing subpar BGM, CGI-laden artificial-looking chase scenes, and random interpolation of a backstory that slows down the momentum of the climax, but the movie, which unfolds in the span of one night, is still a taut thriller replete with well-executed nail-biting moments, and a full-on paisa-vasool entertainment, especially for the ones with an appetite for gore.


What I particularly liked about the movie is that instead of the hero coming and killing the antagonist, the power of the common man, of young students, is highlighted. Everyone has a hero inside and one needs to activate that when the time comes.


The movie has one of the best action/intro scenes of an actress Hindi cinema has seen in recent years. Yet post that the hero takes over the driver’s seat (quite literally) and the fierce and indomitable woman the first scene of the movie had promised is relegated to the role of any other Hindi film heroine—her main job is to get saved by the hero. But then, this is and was supposed to be an Ajay Devgn show.


Watch it on the big screen to fully appreciate its cool quotient; because that is all Bholaa is about.

contact us :
Follow US :
©2024 Creativeland Publishing Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved