Why Kaithi from Lokesh Kanagaraj was a massive success had much to do with the unconventional packaging for a festival release. Kaithi clashed with Vijay’s crowd-pleaser Bigil, and it was devoid of a hero’s introduction song, romantic songs, side-track humor, etc. The hero Dilli was only a central tool in a story that used other characters beautifully to create a world. The full night story was also a craft decision to make it that gangster world story. Remove all that craft thoughts from the movie and approach it as a podium for the hero to pull off outrageous stunts; that’s Bholaa for you.
Diana Joseph IPS and her team found 900 crores worth of cocaine that belonged to the Sikka gang. But her team members got drugged during a party that happened after the operation, and she needed to save those men and protect the cocaine she seized. Out of desperation, she seeks help from an ex-convict named Bhola. That eventful one night is what we see in Bholaa.
The success of Kaithi and Vikram proved that you don’t have to depend on spoon-fed dumb stories to entertain the audience. Coherent masala will get acceptance even if it is a festival release. The problem with Ajay Devgn’s film is the underestimation of the intelligence and need of the audience. Devgn and his writers are trying to stuff this story with villain gangs one after the other. If Prabhas was doing that in Saaho in the desert, Ajay Devgn did it in the forests and quarries. Dilli’s dialogue before the first fight and Adaikalam’s remark at the very end were the only buildups for the hero in Kaithi, creating a massive mass-movie euphoria. Here Devgn has assigned multiple people the duty of the Mooppan from Pulimurugan. Yet, the impact is pretty much zero.
The craft aspect of Kaithi has been entirely ignored by the Hindi version. Their villains come from the rejected scripts of Mad Max and John Wick. They don’t appear as roadblocks and feel like video game levels for the hero to easily win. I acknowledge that much effort might have gone behind many of those stunts we see in Bholaa. But the sheer insignificance and pathetic quality of visual effects make it a burden for the movie.
In the original, there were only two fight sequences when Dilli was driving the truck. But here, you need your fingers to count, and most of them can be easily chopped off. Ravi Basrur’s background score has no soul, and it was almost equivalent to Boss Da, Mass Da from Shylock. The abundance of unwanted visual effects has affected the cinematography as well. While Sathyan Sooryan kept Kaithi in a real space, Aseem Bajaj’s frames cant make us forget that it is a set. In that Gatling gun sequence, one of the villains compares it to a mosquito-killing machine. Looking at the way Ajay Devgn held that gun, I also had the same feeling.
There was a sequence in the original where an entire flashback story was captured without any flashback visuals. Karthi’s expressions were enough to hold us, and it was a brilliant piece of acting in an otherwise over-the-top film. Ajay Devgn, as an actor, isn’t willing to take that risk, and he goes for a very generic backstory. Tabu is given an introduction scene and many punch dialogues in the film. Even though it wasn’t a never before seen character, it was great to see makers considering female actors for roles like that (perhaps the only appreciable thing in the whole film). With his typical eccentricity, Deepak Dobriyal made Ashu Bhai really memorable. Vineeth Kumar’s Nithari Bhai had significantly less screen time, much like the original. The Sanjay Mishara character was crucial and unique in the original. But here he was, just one cop in the crowd. Gajraj Rao, as the department mole, was a bit too comical.
From the very first scene to the moment when Dilli meets his daughter, Kaithi is entirely set against the backdrop of night. When the end credits rolled in that morning light, the light also filled our hearts. Ajay Devgn’s making is totally ignoring such aspects. And he shot that whole shooting sequence in the police station in daylight. By introducing his “Rolex,” Ajay Devgn has declared that the Bholaa franchise will continue. But looking at how he has butchered the soul of Kaithi with the trident, I can’t help being skeptical about this “original” sequel.
Remove all that craft thoughts from kaithi and approach it as a podium for the hero to pull off outrageous stunts; that’s Bholaa for you.