Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerjee, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Sharvari Wagh, Pankaj Tripathi, Prem Chopra, Agrim Mittal
Director: Varun V. Sharma
Sequels that revive popular characters are quite common in Bollywood and this latest cinematic release, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, ticks many of those expected boxes. While the Bunty and Babli on-screen pairing of the 2005 original hasn’t fully made it into this updated avatar, the look and feel of a film that revolves around clever con artists robbing the rich for the poor certainly has.
Rakesh (Khan) and wife Vimmi (Mukerjee) are the Trivedis from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, using their love of music and dance to inject some excitement into their mundane lives. Along with a precocious little son, Pappu (Mittal), there is nothing in their lifestyle that would betray the colourful past of the couple as infamous con artists ‘Bunty Aur Babli’.
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This uneasy calm is shaken up with the entry of Inspector Jatayu Singh (Tripathi), who is convinced that the couple claiming to have walked away from their life of crime are still very much active in the Robinhood-style crime world. The reason behind this suspicion is the use of the couple’s signature after an audacious con to rob a group of unscrupulous businessmen out of millions with the promise of an exclusive holiday at a fictitious “Virgin Island”.
Once the inspector realises that the new crimes are in fact the handiwork of a brand-new duo, he deploys Rakesh and Vimmi to pursue this so-called Bunty and Babli “2.0”, whose modus operandi seems to be modelled on their own past glories. It doesn’t take the original con artists long to figure out that it is in fact Kunal Singh (Chaturvedi) and his girlfriend Sonia Rawat (Wagh) behind the makeovers as ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, to a rather curious climax.
The new version of this Bollywood oldie is a colourful, joyful ride – very much along the lines of the original. Even the music pays homage to the chart-topping hits, including the popular item number featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.
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However, this only serves to highlight some of the missing ingredients from the original. While Tripathi is as adept as ever at hitting the right comic notes, the others are not entirely spot on with their comic timing. Newcomer Sharvari Wagh stands out for her stylish debut and Chaturvedi is impressive as the social media savvy Bunty.
All in all, the film may not be a better 2.0 version, but it has enough going for it as a light-hearted entertainer in its own right.