A movie like Bad Boy being made in 2023 would have been just as unwatchable no matter who made it.
That Rajkumar Santoshi has, is almost heart-breaking, sighs Deepa Gahlot.
There is something ineffably sad about a once successful and capable director like Rajkumar Santoshi stooping to make a film like Bad Boy. The film was quite long in the making, but not so much that should look like it belongs to another era.
It is the kind of film Govinda and occasionally, Mithun Chakraborty used to star in — the working class man, who attracts a wealthy woman, and is up against her stern, disapproving father.
The father in Bad Boy is played by the talented Saswata Chatterjee, a Bengali man in a high government post, who believes in ‘high quality and high standard’ in everything — a partly comic figure reminiscent of Utpal Dutt in his movies.
His daughter Rituparna (Amrin Qureshi) has to obey her father’s wishes, so she dresses in sedate salwar-kameez and manages ‘996 out of 1000’ in some exam though a few days later, she is seen in college — which year, what course is not important.
Like movie leading ladies of the past, she has no career options.
She has to marry a man of her father’s choice. Or, in this case, her own choice; studies abandoned without a backward glance.
The ‘boy’ in question, Raghu (Namashi Chakaborty) is the good-for-nothing son of a scrap dealer (Rajesh Sharma), who has failed in his exam — which one, not important, because he is hardly likely to crack a professional course entrance test.
On seeing Rituparna’s picture in the paper, Raghu falls in love with her, and like Munnabhai, takes the help of his friends to get into her college, impersonating a student from Barcelona.
Like in countless old films, he rescues her from goondas in the college canteen and she falls in love with him.
He takes her on paani-puri and pub dates, something her father would never permit, and she is willing to spend her life with him.
The father, however, challenges Raghu to prove his worth by bearing the expenses of his household for one month. If he succeeds, he can marry Rituparna.
The adult daughter has no say in the matter; the men have to decide her fate.
Johny Lever is dragged in from lord-knows-which decade, overacting like crazy as the black sheep Uncle Poltu, with an atrocious Bengali accent, brought in by the father to get rid of Raghu. One can’t even remember when Lever last raised a laugh on screen.
Bad Boy is neither funny nor emotional.
The many songs punctuating the endless film (just 123 minutes, but seems like a week of Mondays) are tuneless (Himesh Reshammiya) and badly picturised.
Even if the lead pair had any star quality, it would not shine in this film with its archaic plot.
So outdated is it that a chestnut like ‘Uski chhaati pe moong dalunga‘ pops up. When was the last time one heard that one?
Mithun Chakraborty drops by to shake a leg with his son, unrecognisable as the once graceful Disco Dancer.
The director, who began his career with films like Ghayal and Ghatak, has made romantic comedies too, including the cult-ish Andaz Apna Apna, but a movie like Bad Boy being made in 2023 would have been just as unwatchable no matter who made it. That Santoshi has, is almost heart-breaking.
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