Release Date: 18/03/2022

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Arshad Warsi, Pankaj Tripathi, Jacqueline Fernandez 

Director: Farhad Samji

The fact that Farhad Samji has directed Bachchhan Paandey should tell you everything that you need to know about this film. If that is not enough, all you need to do is watch its trailer and you will know what to expect from this film. I feel nauseated at the fact that there are innumerable budding filmmakers in the country who are actually good storytellers and could have changed the cinema-scape of the country with their nuanced, poignant, Powerful, and entertaining stories but they are seldom successful in breaking the financial barriers.

On the other hand talentless and artistically bankrupt individuals like Farhad Samji get a free hand on their projects and they continually choose to make nonsensical and atrocious films that are insults to the intellect and sense of perception of the audiences who are lured into the theaters with promises of mass entertainment. Worst of all, these films bring down the overall expectations of the audiences from an otherwise old and illustrious industry like Bollywood to a level that makes films like Heropanti and Baaghi franchises feel socially and cinematically relevant. For this and a whole lot more, I hated Bachchhan Paandey.

Myra (Kriti Sanon), the unacceptably tall, fair, and beautiful daughter of a spot dada (played by Munnabhai MBBS’ Maksud Bhai) is insulted and kicked out a film project by a director who is unnecessarily crass, dismissive, and rude to her for no apparent reason. Myra decides to make her own film to create a splash in the industry and zeroes in on making it about a dreaded gangster, Bachchhan Paandey (Akshay Kumar) who is known for his unforgiving ways and insatiable desire for carnage. Myra recruits Vishu (Arshad Warsi) to aid her in her mission to write a script on Paandey and promises him a meaty role in the film. Sadly things don’t go according to plan and the two find themselves facing the business end of Paandey’s hammer.

As the film lumbered towards the interval, I was in a way hopeful of it being slightly better than other Farhad Samji films. That was because Samji hadn’t unleashed his full potential for the nonsensical up till then. Sadly, as soon as the film resumes, Samji’s Midas’ touch comes into play and an average film quickly spirals into being an obnoxious, loud, meaningless, and futile practice in filmmaking that demands its audiences to willfully swing with it tied to a silk thread that may come undone at any given moment.

From the moment, Myra and Vishu get inside the Paandey gang and kick start their film project; everything feels flimsy, impossible, and outright insult to the intellect of the audiences. Why would Pandey choose to make a caricature of himself? Why would he tolerate a character like the acting teacher played by Pankaj Tripathi to muscle him around for no valid reason? Would he be stupid enough to not even understand what was being extracted out of him in the guise of making a film that would further instill his fear among the masses and spread words of it out of his area of control? 

The biggest question of them all would be — why would Myra bank her career and future on a film through which she willfully chooses to show the rehabilitated image of a gangster who is known for his barbarism? Where is the sense in that? Wasn’t the barbarism of the man what lured her to his story in the first place? Why would she shun the USP of her project just to give him a murderer a PR whitewash? As I asked myself all these questions, I quickly remembered who the director of the film was and then I asked my mind to not burden itself with logical questions and look for reasoning in the story.

If not anything, I was expecting this film to be entertaining and have some good physical action sequences. I was wrong. The trailers were a scam. The brutal and physical bits of action that we see in the trailers were all part of a song and were not even a second longer than what we get to see in the trailers. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the film doesn’t even have a proper antagonist. The romantic track involving Akshay Kumar and Jacqueline Fernandez was so pathetic and poorly conceived that the resulting action that culminates the subplot felt watered down, devoid of any drama, and cut short on the editing table.

We all know and believe that Akshay Kumar is a fantastic actor and he does some of the most entertaining and appealing films that come of Bollywood every year. Sadly, he also makes films like Laxmii and Housefull series. Bachchhan Paandey is reminiscent of some of his poorest choices. It might not even be a poor choice as it felt like he was just making his way through the motions of the day and was only in it for the paycheck. The fact that his character didn’t have any arch in the story and could practically act out 90% of the film with the same expression on his face made his life a lot easier. It is apparent that his heart was not in this film and it showed in his deadpan mannerisms and complete lack of interest and enthusiasm in all that was happening around him. After this, to expect the audiences to connect with his essay and revel in the transformation of a hardened murderer doesn’t make any sense.

Kriti Sanon has been repeating herself in almost every film that she has done since her debut. This is something that my friend seated next to me expressed emphatically after I was trying to praise her performances in some of her previous films and even this one. Sadly, when I thought harder about the comments of my friend, I couldn’t help but agree with her. While Kriti is easily one of the best things about the film, her performance and character have neither the power nor the backing of the story to breathe life into a film that was dead on inception. It was mind-numbing to see a superb actor like Arshad Warsi wasted in a role that could have been done by anyone. Just to see someone like him end up being “not-funny” was unbelievable. The same can be said about Pankaj Tripathi who should start choosing his roles more carefully before people lose trust in his quality.  

The only saving grace for the film was its cinematography and production design. I felt that these aspects of the film were in strong keeping with its aesthetics and story and were the only aspects of it that worked well. I feel people should steer clear of Bachchhan Paandey and instead watch The Kashmir Files a few more times if going to the cinemas is their only option for the weekend. I hated this film and would not recommend it to even my enemies. It has been a while since I have felt violated by a film to this extent and would not want to feel the same ever again. Save yourself from this torture.

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)

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