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Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment’s Bachchhan Paandey (UA) is the story of a gangster.

Bachchhan Paandey (Akshay Kumar) is a gangster who literally spells terror for those whom he comes in contact with. Myra (Kriti Sanon) is an assistant film director who now wants to debut as a director. She is so fascinated by the terror of Bachchhan Paandey that she decides to make her first film on his life and journey. Towards that end, she and aspiring actor-friend Vishu (Arshad Warsi) reach the town in Uttar Pradesh, where Bachchhan Paandey lives. Does the dreaded gangster allow Myra to make a film on himself? Does Myra actually make a film?

The film is a remake of Tamil film Jigarthanda which itself is a remake of Korean film A Dirty Carnival. The story and adapted screenplay have been written by Sajid Nadiadwala, with additional screenplay by Farhad Samji, Sparsh Khetarpal, Tasha Bhambra, Tushar Hiranandani and Zeishan Qadri. The story has a novelty factor and, therefore, arouses the audience’s interest. The screenplay is laced with entertainment and fun but in the process, it often meanders here and there. Consequently, the drama takes too long to come to the point. Even after it does, there’s no consistency in the comedy. Resultantly, while the viewers laugh at places, they also get bored at some points. A more taut screenplay would’ve been more appropriate.

A major drawback of the screenplay is that no care is taken to explain why Myra and Vishu spy on Bachchhan Paandey instead of directly telling him that they want to make a film on his life. In any case, when Paandey does get to know that the two are spying on him, they ultimately have to tell him that their intention is to make a film on him. So why the round-and-about process? This long-drawn process looks all the more silly because Bachchhan Paandey grants Myra permission to make his biopic, in a jiffy. And frankly, what would they have achieved by spying on him? Also, Myra pretending to shoot one story but shooting quite another has been presented rather weirdly. The romance between Paandey and Myra is also simply not explained. What’s it about Bachchhan Paandey which makes Myra fall in love with him? The last 15-20 minutes of the drama are weak. The track of acting coach Bhavesh Bhoplo (Pankaj Tripathi) is a very good one and it evokes a lot of laughter. His aa thhu dialogue is a highlight. Another plus point of the screenplay is the message it propagates — for Bachchhan Paandey as well as for the audience.

Akshay Kumar does a wonderful job as Bachchhan Paandey. In a very different role with a different get-up, the actor delivers a truly fine performance. Kriti Sanon does a lovely job as film director Myra. Jacqueline Fernandez makes her presence felt in a brief appearance as Sophie. Arshad Warsi acts ably as Vishu. Pankaj Tripathi is absolutely delightful in the role of the acting coach. Dr. Mohan Agashe has his moments as Lalji Bhagat. Seema Biswas leaves a mark in a tiny role as Bachchhan Pandey’s mother. Sanjay Mishra is underutilised due to the presence of too many characters; but still, he evokes laughter with his fun moments as Bufferiya (well-thought of name for him). Prateik Babbar is quite good as Virgin. Abhimanyu Singh is fair as Pendulum. Snehal Dabi creates a fine impression. Aroosa Khan makes a fair debut as Pinky. Gaurav Chopra makes his presence felt. Surendra Singh Rajan stands out as Myra’s father. Nasir Abdullah (as the film director), Dolly Thakore (as the journalist), Ashwin Mushran (as the film producer), Saharsh Kumar Shukla (as Kandi), Santosh Shukla (as police officer Suryakant), Netram Tiwari (as Bullet), Sunil Pendurkar (as Qadri), Arun Khedwal (as Guleria), Trishna Singh (as Virgin’s wife), baby Riddhi Sharma (as Virgin’s daughter), Abhishek Saxena (as journalist Abhinav Tripathi) and Amith Sivdas Nair (as Rana) are adequate.

Farhad Samji’s direction is quite good. Although he has made a technically nice film, he does falter at places in his narration because of straying too much. Music (Amaal Malik, Jaani, Vikram Montrose and Roy) is decent. The Ranjhana song is the best; the other songs are also quite appealing. Ganesh Acharya’s choreography is eye-pleasing. Julius Packiam’s background music is lovely. Gavemic U. Ary’s cinematography is of a fantastic standard. Anl Arasu’s action and stunts are impactful. Rajat Poddar’s production designing and Parijat Poddar’s art direction are lovely. Charu Shree Roy’s editing is fairly sharp.

On the whole, Bachchhan Paandey is an average fare with a weak climax. Its business will be adversely affected due to the huge opposition of last week’s The Kashmir Files (which is still going great guns at the ticket windows) and next week’s huge release, RRR.

Released on 18-3-’22 at Inox (daily 9 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru AA Films. Publicity: very good. Opening: average (adversely affected due to Holi festivities). …….Also released all over. Opening was ordinary at many places but very good at some places. Collections picked up as the day progressed. At some places, the jump in collections (after the Holi festivities were over) was huge.