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Bell Bottom Clever, Slick But Nothing Earth-shattering



Bell Bottom

Bell Bottom

Director: Ranjit Tiwari

Writers: Aseem Arora,Gurnazar,Seema Saini

Cast: Akshay Kumar,Huma Qureshi,Adil Hussain

Plot: Amongst multiple heinous airplane hijacks, India was made to face another such challenge in 1984. Bell Bottom, a RAW agent played by Akshay Kumar sees through the plan and thus, begins India’s first covert operation. A story based on true events, led by Bell Botom, that went on to create one of the most defining moments of the country.

Rating: ** ½

Bell Bottom Review: I  braved  Covid  to see Bell Bottom. The attendance  was not unimpressive  .Considering….  The atmosphere  was  subdued, almost reverent. I could hear murmurs all around me  about returning after two years, etc etc.

The mood was that of a temple . Sadly  Bell Bottom rings too many  familiar bells. It doesn’t really  match up to the expectation of  the expectant  crowds, some of who had  almost forgotten what a  movie feels like in a theatre.  Bell Bottom is  halfway exhilarating.  It  is like having sex  after  a long hiatus. There is much fumbling  and  awkward  pauses  while getting to  the eagerly awaited climax.

 Aptly, much  of  the  plotting and planning takes place in the prime minister’s chamber. Prime  Minster Indira Gandhi, that is. Yes, this is the  1980s when bell bottoms were already on the way  out. Perhaps the fact that  the hero , a reluctant RAW agent  named Anshul  Malhotra, played  by  the  habitually equanimous Akshay Kumar, goes by  the code-name  Bell Bottom is  an indication of his approaching  obsoleteness

RAW agents, as we know, are  dispensed of when they’ve served  their purpose. Anshul  alias Bell Bottom(alias BB for us  from here onwards) is brought in after  seven hijacking incidents involving you-know-who. Our neighbours  have their  hands soaked in blood. Just last week we saw Pakistani  politicians   plotting the end  of  the  Indian subcontinent in Bhuj. Ajay Devgan put them in  their place. Now  it’s  Akshay Kumar’s turn.

They are  back at it again.  Yeh log baaz nahin aayenge, I tell you. Akshay Kumar , looking  dapper  in  his well-tailored suits(flaring pants with nostrils to match) makes Mrs G’s cabinet look damn silly. He delivers  well thought-out punchlines  with a straight face. Mrs G, smart woman, that she is , get it completely. Though her stoic face(maybe  it is the  damn prosthetics) gives nothing away when  BB says, “No negotiation  with the hijackers,” PM Sahiba  does a   imaginary high-five with BB.

 I loved the bonding between the two more than BB’s bonding with  his biwi  who looks like  a  cold-cream  model on a hot sultry day.Sorry,  Akshay and  Ms Vaani Kapoor don’t look like  a pair. He has more fun with Dolly Ahluwalia who plays his typical loud balle-balle Punjabi  mother. Their  sequence together  on   the night before she flies to London to be with her other(seemingly favourite) son is the  best  sequence  in a film that  seems to  subscribe to the  rapid-edit-quick-cuts policy to keep  audiences’ attention  riveted.

 But where is the agony and immediacy  of the  hijacked passengers, so palpably  portrayed  in Ram Madhvani’s Neerja?  We are  told a female  hockey team is  flying  in the hijacked plane. Rather than construct some engaging confrontations on board the  narrative scampers all over the place mostly in the quest  of making our super hero look even  more glorified.

Our BB  is one helluva observer. He  watches  a few shots of  the Mere sapne ki rani song in Aradhana and can  tell the exact colour  of  Sharmila Tagore’s eyeliner.  He  catches out  Huma Qureshi’s true intention in no time at all. Must say  our hero as good sense of Huma.

As  for  common sense, that is  seen  to be  sorely lacking when a  powerful  Dubai  politician proclaims, “We would rather negotiate with terrorists rather than  let one human being die”

Arrey Bhai Saab, that’s what we are  all here for. To  reiterate that terrorism must be non-negotiable  .That Akshay Kumar must  emerge as  a man who means  business. And that’s non-negotiable.

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