Rajkumar Santoshi’s HALLA BOL is a clone of his earlier hit film DAMINI. If you have seen the Sunny Deol-starrer, you know what to expect here. But then DAMINI was in a different league and was, so to speak, ahead of its time. Good performances, tight script and brilliant courtroom scenes. Sadly the same cannot be said here.
The script is old. Very old. And you can predict most of the twists because you have seen it unfold a number of times on the big screen. So when the victim’s sister does a volte-face in a packed courtroom, you are not surprised. You are not surprised even when you learn the reason. As for the scene on the Persian rug where the film’s protagonist Ajay Devgan relieves himself, you almost implore him to do it!!!!
HALLA BOL is all about a small town boy who dreams of making it big in Bollywood. Ashfaque (Ajay Devgan) who later has a screen name, Sameer Khan, hits the jackpot. What values he stood for earlier, he conveniently forgets in the quest of moving up the popularity charts. But when he is a witness to the murder of a girl in cold blood in a night club, things change. Reluctant at first, he later relents and takes on the might of the powers that be, who play every trick in the book to get the accused freed.
It’s a pity a talented actor like Devgan is getting saddled in roles like these. He stands out in his scenes but it’s not enough because there is nowhere the film goes, script-wise. It’s a dead end. Pankaj Kapur as Sidhu a reformed dacoit who stages street plays to educate the junta, is top class. But how much can he do? Vidya Balan has not much of a role, but she does stand out in one scene where she takes on the media concerning the question of her marriage. But one scene does not make a movie!
To his credit, the director begins the proceedings with a bang and when he takes you to the point of thrill, reverses his car to get into flashback. And by the time he gets back to first gear to the point of the thrill, all excitement is lost. You almost forget which spot it was that he had reversed his vehicle. Has he lost his touch? Looks like, because even the court proceedings are so hurried that it looks like he had lost interest in the project. All the accused rush up to the ‘box’ and before they can say anything are charged “Guilty”. The end is abrupt!