‘BELLBOTTOM’ IS A QUINTESSENTIAL AKSHAY KUMAR FILM, NOTHING MORE

Rating: 3/5
Director Ranjit Tewari’s attempt in making a film a strong thrilling affair falls short

Cinematically or even as casual viewers of cinema, films shouldn’t be compared to each other. But that’s not how human mind works. Bellbottom doesn’t make an impact primarily because you’ve had Baby, Airlift, and Rustom with the same actor in-charge. The look and feel appears to be similar, although the film is quite different yet indistinguishable.

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

It is 1984. Indira Gandhi’s government. Yet another case of plane hijacking has left her perturbed and she is no mood to get on her knees. Comes Bellbottom (Akshay Kumar), a master R&AW agent who assures of solving the crisis situation and getting the hostages back safe.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

Aseem Arora and Parveez Shaikh have written the screenplay based on the story idea by Vashu Bhagnani. The story is decent for a spy thriller Bollywood film. Ofcourse, not upto the mark, as you naturally expect more elements in terms of engagement as audience. The screenplay also manages to balance it all, by making it a satisfactory watch. The weak side however is the point where screenplay shakes hands with direction. Things begin to fall apart, as if the writers let it loose.

The second half of the film is gripping and most of the action and thrill takes place here. The first half on the other hand drags and seems elongated, for no apparent reason. Even the back stories- forming a part of the subplot could be shortened and made crisper in approach. The stakes aren’t too high, hence the believability doesn’t come handy. Basically, either there shouldn’t have been a back story on why a person joins R&AW. If there is, it should be relatable enough.

Bellbottom, hindi, film, review, 2021
On sets of the film (image source: instagram.com)

Many things in the film are taken for convenience, right from the costumes or make-up to how situations occur in the narrative. Also, the aspect that one man knows it all making him the go-to-man for everything also takes away the charm of how things should pan out. It’s an era of characters and how characters have an interplay for the greater good of the protagonist is what the writers should focus more on.

What the writers should be commended for is that they manage to offer the film some palpable tension during the later part of the film, where it gets engaging for the viewers. Or else, the film would have been a dull affair. There is also some respite reading the actual newspaper clippings at the end of the film, making you feel more emotionally about the real event. Having said that, the punch and fervour of what the audience should feel about the real event is missing.

PERFORMANCES

Akshay Kumar is at his regular good. This role is a cakewalk for him. You make him do this even while he’s asleep- he’ll do it with ease. Over the years, he’s polished himself for such roles. He seems to be tailor made for this. Hence, it’s good to see him in a tried-and-tested form.

Vaani Kapoor looks pretty and renders glam appeal to the film, and acts also decently well. But that’s not all. There is an arc to her character as well, a positive part about the film.

Bellbottom, review, film, hindi, 2021
Vaani Kapoor and Akshay Kumar during promotions of the film (image source: instagram.com)

Adil Hussain is underutilised in this role, and he mostly acts in a monotone. He’s a great actor. He thus brings faith in his character for the table. Lara Dutta looks exceptionally great as Indira Gandhi. She has transformed herself completely. But that credit goes to her make-up team for sure. On the acting front- there’s not much scope.

Dolly Ahluwalia is very good, for whatever time she’s on screen. She gives the film depth, humour and emotional appeal. Huma Qureshi has been given a small length of a role but she does deliver nicely.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

Songs aren’t appealing. Forget getting the appeal, had it been OTT, you wouldn’t have stayed. The background score by Daniel George is also below the expectations. It could be so much better in how you receive and perceive the film.

Cinematography by Rajeev Ravi is also not upto the mark. The angles or shots don’t have any dimensions to them. Most of the shots also seem jarring hindering the natural flow of the scenes. The film very frequently slips into showing events in stylised lighting in shades of green or yellow or red, for no seeming reason. Production design by Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty is fine, but could be better. The indoors are crafted well, but the outdoors, not so much. It is disappointing as you don’t expect average work from these geniuses.

Editing by Chandan Arora is satisfactory, for the major part of the film. Hence it works for the structure and flow. The film is also not too long and gives you a good entertaining time.

This seems repetitive. This seems done many times before. With the same actor, making it look all the way more alike. This is not a great film to reopen the theatres with. But it’s Akshay Kumar. He’ll fetch some souls initially. Rest, the fate of the film isn’t too bright.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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