This breezy comedy bounces its way into your heart
Review: Babli belongs to a Haryanvi village bordering Delhi, famous for providing bouncers to clubs in the city. A chance encounter with Viraj (Abhishek Saxena) changes the course of her life and she decides to take up the job of a bouncer at a club in Delhi. Eventually, when Viraj leaves her heartbroken, she finds true happiness in educating herself and taking her employment and her career seriously.
Madhur Bhandarkar returns with a directorial venture after a gap of five years, and once again, picks up a plot that revolves around a woman’s quest for her love, and for identifying her real strength and identity. While watching the film, you can sense that it has been crafted by someone who knows the beats of this sort of cinema, set in a commercial space, pat down. Even though Babli Bouncer is not a patch on Bhandarkar’s previous national-award winning work, he doesn’t seem to have entirely loosened his grip on such narratives.
The subject of the film is one of its pluses. The life of a bouncer, leave alone a female bouncer, has never really been explored in a movie in India. The barely-visible women bouncers lead a tough life, which has been depicted in a lighter vein. The writing, however, falters here. Babli faces hurdles all throughout her journey of self-discovery but she gets past them without much ado. She’s depicted as a feisty, go-getter, who doesn’t care for what the world says. And yet, the moment her heartbreaker holds the mirror to her, she begins to change the course of her life, and corrects everything he points out is wrong with her. That and a few other nuances dilute the narrative and limit the scope the story actually had. The dialogues are decent, although there was plenty of room for them to be great. Throughout the film, Babli keeps saying she’s very funny but the comic punches don’t work in every situation.
Having said that, Babli Bouncer is a fast-paced, light-hearted watch that doesn’t waste much time before the story sucks one in. The film has been shot well, neatly capturing the essence of Haryana and Delhi. The songs are decent and help push the story forward. The few scenes where Tamannah slips into action mode have been done well. Tamannah Bhatia nails those with ease.
Among the performers, Tamannah’s the one that shines really bright. Her effort to speak like a Haryanvi local, her body language and the depiction of naivety of her character all hint at her potential to deliver. She seems very comfortable playing Babli, and more emotional heft to her part would have only added a silver-lining to her performance. Sahil Vaid as Babli’s friend Kuku is okay but doesn’t seem to have much to do. Saurabh Shukla works well on screen, though could’ve been given some more to do. Abhishek Saxena, as Babli’s love interest, could have bitten harder into his part.
After delivering some crackling films in the past, Madhur Bhandarkar stands quite far from his own benchmarks, though he hasn’t lost form. However, the film is still a breezy watch and has some light and sweet moments that see you through its near-two-hour run.