Babli’s (Tamannaah) father runs a successful akhada in their Haryana village. The USP of the gym is that it successfully churns out bouncers bound for Delhi clubs year after year. Babli has grown up around pehalwans, knows all their tricks and can lift as much, if not more, weight as them. She’s a tomboy supreme who talks to her buffaloes, likes to drink copious amounts of lassi, eats 12 rotis at one go and loves riding a Bullet. She’s smitten by the phoren returned son of her former class teacher. She finds out he’s based in Delhi, convinces her father that she wants to work as a female bouncer and lands up there. She becomes friends with him but after a while realises there’s a huge gap between them. This moment of epiphany convinces her to better herself. She starts learning English and even completes her 10th successfully after so many years. And also realises that she doesn’t need a man to complete herself.
Babli Bouncer got struck, thanks to the coronavirus. It’s finally seeing an OTT release. Its feel-good recipe is just right for the medium. Madhur Bhandarkar is known for his dark, edgy, slice of life films, so it’s a surprise to see him making an attempt at action comedy. It’s his mildest film yet. In fact, the grim start of the film convinces you that you’re in for a gritty ride but barring that, the film is all sunshine and positivity. A woman wanting to become a bouncer – that’s kind of unusual but alas the film doesn’t go beyond the one-line plot. Being a trained wrestler herself, she takes no time to become a bouncer. But then what? Yes, she goes through a journey of self-discovery but we have seen it all before. The film reiterates the point that it’s important for girls to earn their own money and wait for real love to happen, instead of giving in to attraction. And that they should learn to love themselves first as accepting yourself as you are is the key to fulfilment.
Most of the dialogue in the film is in chaste Haryanvi, especially in the earlier portions. That takes getting used to. The writers have tried to keep things real. Abhishek Bajaj’s character doesn’t fall in love with gaon ki gori but finds her uncouth and doesn’t hesitate from saying so. Sahil Vaid plays the childhood bestie who secretly carries a torch for Babli. He risks a heartbreak and blurts out his feelings, instead of keeping them bottled and suffering in silence. Babli’s character is full of quirks and idiosyncrasies. While she does want to polish herself and finish her education, she also realises it’s her eccentricity that makes her unique.
The role was written for Tamannaah and one can see she’s having fun essaying it. She’s known for her acting prowess down South but in the Hindi industry, her films such as Himmatwala and Humshakals didn’t create any magic. So Babli Bouncer is a comeback film for her in Hindi cinema. She grabs the chance with both hands and runs with it. Her Haryanvi accent is spot on and so is the comic timing. She makes Babli entirely believable and never deviates from character. The action sequences involving her feel real and don’t look like the usual superhuman stunts seen in our films. It’s time Hindi filmmakers took notice of her talent. Tamannaah‘s the best thing about the film and carries it on her shoulders. Watch the film for her natural acting and for its empowering message.Quick take: Babli Bouncer is a coming-of-age film with a twist. Continue reading …Read More