Hey Raam! Kyon Banayi Shivaay?
Not a shred of originality in this father-daughter copy of ‘Taken’ plus ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, unless you are fascinated by snow, tattoos, and foreign locales where really bad foreign people live. Ajay Devgn, has a huge fan following as an action hero does not disappoint, but the CGI finishing does. And you begin hating Kailash Kher singing annoyingly in the background during emotional scenes and the title song playing ad nauseam during the action scenes.
Poor Bulgaria! It gets a really bad rap in the film. First, with heroine who is happy to have an affair with a adventure tourism guide, dumps her baby by him, with him, because ‘her life plan does not include taking care of one more person’ and leaves. Then we are shown villainous Bulgarian policemen with PR24 Side Batons and guns, ready to beat up ‘Indian Tourist’. Oh, not to forget there are prostitutes and baddies as well. Bulgaria Tourism will be very disappointed if they’re expecting a rush of holidaymakers after this film.
So Shivaay (Ajay Devgn, producer, director and actor) rescues trapped army personnel from the mountains, sells backpacks and the like at a mountain top hill station, and he takes city people to heights of 16 thousand ft and more (yes, they do say 20 thousand feet so casually, they should have just said The Everest and suspended disbelief completely!). He falls in love with a Bulgarian girl who comes to that 20k ft trek (because ‘she heard there’s a trek happening!’). She speaks Hindi haltingly, but very well and naturally she stays on (no, the horrendous computer generated avalanche, the rescue, the suspended-by-one-hook tent which does not fall even though they’re making out inside that tent is so fake, it’s not worth mentioning), and gets pregnant. It’s 2016, and they’ve not heard of birth control up in the mountains, but yes, the woman is modern: I cannot take care of one more life. I’m leaving the baby with you and going away.
The score: Bulgaria: 0, India: 1. Ajay Devgn takes care of child and it’s eight years of teaching child to climb, and take rides in wheelbarrows adorned with flowers (what’s with these wheelbarrows and bicycles adorned with flowers? So many Hindi movies seem to have them! Raa-1 included!). Thankfully the child is meant to be mute, or having a firang looking child who grows up in India and speaks Hindi with an accent would have been tough to prove. All the cuteness with the knitted doll apart, Shivaay loses out on one big parenting task. The child has no manners at all. She just starts screaming and hitting Shivaay to get her way. Moms in the theatre would have grounded such tantrums much earlier.
But Shivaay gives in and takes the child to meet her mother in Bulgaria. Not finding the mom, the duo goes to the Indian embassy for help. Now the current Indian Ambassador (H.E. Mr. Rajesh Kumar Sachdeva) should be laughing his head off at the general idiocy in the antics of Saurabh Shukla in his shoes, and the stupidest assistant in the form of ditzy Sayesha Saigal, who do nothing to help Shivaay and his daughter. In fact Saurabh Shukla actually asks Shivaay if a child that looks so obviously ‘white’ could have an Indian father. Before you gather your horrified senses back together, the Bajrangi Bhaijaan in Bulgaria scenario changes into a horrible version of Taken (Liam Neeson’s film), and there’s child trafficking, and prostitution of kidnapped young women and of course Bhaijaan’s kid is kidnapped by these traffickers.
The action scenes keep you riveted and Ajay Devgn’s intensity keeps you involved. Ten out of ten to car chase scenes. And minus five for the helicopter tunnel scene (Die Hard 4 and Mission Impossible 2 have done that better!). There’s the horrendous naming of villains and you wonder why Peter Ustinov’s name has been dragged through mud here. Neither does the actor who plays the baddie resemble the great thespian, nor does his stupid over doing of the singing with opera music make him look sinister. He’s so tedious, when Changez the super villain kills him, you inadvertently clap. His kohl-eyed henchman Invanovich plays better video game than fights.
If you are keeping score, Bulgaria is still at nil. Changez! The fully inappropriately named Bulgarian super villain has a long-drawn fight at the end with Shivaay. With the title song refrain egging the hero on! ‘Jaa, Jaa Kailash, Ja kar vinash’... Did we mention Kailash Kher does sing some supposedly poignant song (which sounds like all his other songs)
But vinash (destruction) of the film that the refrain was asking for, is done by two others in awful, strange and unintentionally funny scenes. Sayesha and her dad Girish Karnad.
Oh yes! You spill your popcorn, gagging at his attempts at standing up wobbling from wheelchair so he can say, ‘Someone has to stand up for this man’s rights!’
Sayesha climbing into daddy’s bed to spoon with him (‘No!’ You want to scream. That’s very creepy Electra-complex thing!).
Sayesha in a car with Ajay Devgn driving like bat out of hell calling daddy to tell him, ‘Abhi raaste mein hoon!’ (I’m on my way) and daddy lovingly prophesying, ‘Sahi raaste mein ho!’ (You’re on the right track!)
Sayesha at the end of the movie, ‘I don’t really know what I’m saying!’ drowns any tension left between Bajrangi Bahijaan in Bulgaria and his mannerless brat at the airport.
Unfortunately the movie does not end there. It goes on and on and on and on, until you realise that the baddie in the movie is Emotion. None of the characters are capable of it. Ajay Devgn can be forgiven because he does show he is pissed off with that angry eye thang. Others? Better not ask. Watch the film on the telly. And if you are a parent, dream up of ways to punish brats who throw a tantrum like the Bulgarian Brat of Bhaijaan in this movie.