Directed by Rohit Shetty;
Comedy of errors is amongst one of the most popular and maximum exploited sub-genres in comedy. The humor, particularly, arising out of confusion of mistaken identities has been exploited in Bollywood forever from David Dhawan's Coolie No.1 to Sajid Khan's Housefull series, in more recent times. So when Rohit Shetty, who himself attempted the genre previously in All The Best (his most enjoyable comedy film yet), and who made a brand of himself with the Golmaal trilogy, decides to make another film on similar lines, he revisits the original Golmaal made by Hrishikesh Mukherji, a cult-classic. Hrishikesh Mukherjee would be unable to recognize this version of his comedy 'Golmaal' on which Bol Bachchan is based.
The film casts Abhishek Bachchan in a double role of Abbas and his doppelganger double Abhishek Bachchan. Yes, that's the name given to Abhishek's character when he comes face-to-face with the village head-honcho Ajay Devgn, a kind of benign mukhia who is goofy and rather dumb, so dumb that he actually believes the on-screen Abhishek Bachchan's cock-and-bull story about how his parents named him as such because they were big fans of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan.
So the elderly Utpal Dutt from the original turns much younger and sturdier in the spin-off in the form of Ajay Devgn. While Utpal Dutt approved usage of chaste Hindi, Ajay Devgn is obsessed with the Queen's language and literally translates Hindi adages into English in every second line. Abhishek Bachchan steps into the 'pair' of shoes of Amol Palekar by also posing as his fictitious twin brother. And while Palekar pretended to be a singer in his twin act, Abhishek plays a dancer and revives his sissy act from Dostana - a ploy the makers pull off on the pretext of adapting the classic cinema to contemporary context.
Thankfully the basic story of Bol Bachchan, more or less, follows that of the 1979 Golmaal and so Rohit Shetty's movie has a defined flow, which saves it from wandering pointlessly. Bettering the original would be an unfeasible idea that, perhaps, even Shetty is aware of. So he simply attempts to stay true to the original and keeps the cult scenes and characters untouched. So Archana Puran Singh enacts Dina Pathak's role and poses as the mother (and also her twin sister) and makes the same backdoor entry when the scene demands it.
What Shetty adds of his own is a rival cousin to Devgn who would make for the archetypal villain in the otherwise feel-good story. Their inter-village rivalry reminds of Priyadarshan's Virasat wherein Neeraj Vora reprises his role of a loyal sidekick to the hero. While this setting is nonessential to the plot, it gives enough scope for Shetty to add his brand of aerial action where cars and characters seem always airborne. However the additional track of Ajay Devgn's past love being a look-alike of Asin (who plays Abhishek's sister) doesn't contribute anything to the narrative and was absolutely needless.
Fascinatingly while Hrishikesh Mukherji was a master of simplicity, Rohit Shetty is known for his showiness and elaboration. And that doesn't merely mean his 'full-blown' action sequences. Often he takes things a little too far, which doesn't have hitting-to-the-hilt effect but seems rather exaggerated and backfires. Like Abhishek Bachchan's effeminate dance-act just before the interval seems stretched and Ajay Devgn's nonsense English transliterations, despite being often funny, is so overdone that you lose the semantic punches at several occasions. While giving a tribute to the original, a scene literally has Bachchan and Devgn imitating Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt from Gol Maal without gratifying effect.
However Rohit Shetty takes the most essential cue from Hrishida and doesn't complicate the comedy or make the narrative confusing.
The tongue-in-cheek tribute to the original film is quite often so cocky it makes you wince. Rohit Shetty has stripped away the gentle likable humor of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and replaced it with a raw and ripe humour that takes swipes at anything that comes in the way of the satire.
Bol Bachchan dares to carry its sense of fun to an extreme of playfulness without toppling over into vulgarity. The elderly are often a brunt of ridicule in the plot. But again, no offence meant. Asrani's relationship with his screen-son is truly funny.
However what doesn't work is the enforced action sequences where just to simulate a climax in the trademark Rohit Shetty style, cars leap into the air, buses crash into windows - Shetty's stunts are becoming predictable in their execution. A change is required there.
What works are the performances. Ajay Devgn as the appealing bully is in top form. His mongrelized use of the English language is the cheekiest subversion of the original film's content. In Hrishida's Golmaal Utpal Dutt spoke only the purest form of Hindi.
Abhishek Bachchan pulls off the double role with the right blend of the subtle and the saucy. This is his second movie after Dostana where he has to masquerade as homosexuality.
There is a special word for Abhishek Krushna and Archana Puransingh who provide plenty of chuckles with their comic timing.
Hrishida may not approve. But this is Golmaal without the innocence of those times. And that's the way we like it.
Overall, it is worthy to watch for the admirable performances by star cast.