Halla Bol poster

Halla Bol

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Loads of improvement needed and possible in almost all departments. Barring a few sequences, the movie seems very superficial.

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Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Running time: 160 minutes
Genres: Politics, Social
More Movie Info

Political dramas need a strong message backed by some power-packed dialogues and situations. And this is in addition to the regular requirement of well-thought out characters and a crisp screenplay. Halla Bol instead, has a regular message packaged shabbily around lame dialogues and contrived situations. Moreover, you don't feel for the characters and the screenplay is tedious for almost all of the runtime. My biggest problem was with the writing. The transformations of characters seemed more convenient than believable. And this applied to not only individual characters but groups of people as well - say the media or the general pulse of the country's population. The many real-life references seemed like a list of people and situations in the industry that needed to be caricatured. Just for the sake of it, with no particular purpose in mind.

The use of flashbacks in an attempt to create interest was a deterrent for me. For an already badly written character, unnecessary non-linearity in the first half just added to the lack of flow. Not to mention, right from the beginning the events seemed obligatory and rather superficial. Each event was laboriously explained where subtle hints would have done the job much more effectively. There was ample scope for hard-hitting, forceful scenes but, except for two places, the opportunities were not utilized.

Again, barring those couple of sequences, the dialogues were predictable. And on most occasions the predictability was because of the unnecessary pauses, which gave the audience time to think ahead of the lines. Many scenes were way too verbose. The few decent lines were also marred by very plain dialogue delivery. I attribute most of these flaws to the director. Because we have certainly seen much better performances from both Ajay Devgan and Vidya Balan, in similar roles. And while Pankaj Kapoor did a decent job, his character too became across as monotonous and one dimensional towards the end.

Yet another issue with the writing was the pace. With particular distaste for too many camera movements and pacy editing, I never thought I'd ask for quicker cuts. But this one so badly needed it. The lingering camera became way too annoying and gave a feel of immaturity. And when the cameraman had fits of creativity, he took pretty shots and inserted them in the movie randomly.

Again, brilliant occasions for compelling music and lyrics were taken over by dull, lackluster songs. The qawali was outright boring. The songs seemed to exist in the movie just because.

30-40 minutes shorter, crisper dialogues, a better issue to address, and more thought into the flow of events might have made this a better movie. All-in-all loads of room for improvement in direction. The only reason not to completely trash the movie is that we have seen worse, much worse.

- meeta, a part of the audience

33 reviewers(?) - 12 yays 7 so-so 14 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, All Bollywood : ...The scenes come alive because of the characters' ability to transcend the occasionally trite material... full review

Thumbs up, B4U TV : ...Halla Bol has some classic Raj Kumar Santoshi moments, which any hardcore Bollywood film viewer would enjoy... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachel Fernandes, Bollywood Mantra : ...The film may also seem too idealistic at times but nonetheless it is worthwhile.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ... the film can do with some trimming in the second hour... full review

Thumbs up, Indicine : ...Ajay Devgan, Pankaj Kapur and Darshan Jariwala are the pillars of the movie.... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, indya.com : ...doubling up as a writer as well, Santoshi packs a solid punch with his effective dialogues and identifiable topical sequences... full review

Thumbs up, by Rashmi Bansal, J.A.M : ...Halla Bol' is cheesy for sure but phir bhi solid cheez hai. Watch it!... full review

Thumbs up, by Nav Sharma, merinews : ...The story has been deftly handled and a lot of scenes are executed with confidence that they leave a strong impact on our minds... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...Kapur gets another opportunity to hammer home the point that he is one of the most accomplished actors that we have around... full review

Thumbs up, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...Though, the look of the film is tough, scriptwise it fails to rise above the average level.... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...The rise of the nation happens in one quick montage, almost dismissively... full review

So-So, by Amodini, Amodini's Movie Reviews : ...However the film does suffer from some long drawn out sequences (it could have been edited better), and some flaws in the screenplay... full review

So-So, by Prathna Tiwari, Bolly Spice : ...a ‘no song’ policy would have suited Halla Bol and the movie could also have done without the overdose of melodramatic scenes.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, Express India : ...Santoshi's penchant for picking up socially relevant themes gives Halla Bol resonance... full review

So-So, by Abhavya Sharan, MovieWalah : ...They say "well begun is half done". True, sometimes its only "half done"!!!... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Federico Fellini once said that "Sometimes I feel that I am, all the time, making the same film". Raj Kumar Santoshi must share that sentiment... full review

So-So, by Pankaj Shukla, SmasHits.com : ...The problem with Santoshi's film is that it starts the Inqlaab way and ends up the Yuva way... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ... Halla Bol is a rambling film that tries to take on too many things... full review

Thumbs down, by Jaspreet Pandohar, BBC : ...A no-brainer look at the Indian public's growing outcry at controversial outcomes in murder cases involving public figures... full review

Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Santoshi goes terribly wrong in making his hero shoulder that most dreaded of actorly burdens – that of becoming a mouthpiece for the screenplay’s conceits... full review

Thumbs down, by Fatema H Kagalwala, Business of Cinema : ...Evidently a bad film, Halla Bol’s problem lies in its vision... full review

Thumbs down, by Abhishek Mande, Buzz18 : ...Halla Bol has some classic Raj Kumar Santoshi moments, which any hardcore Bollywood film viewer would enjoy... full review

Thumbs down, by Manasi Paresh Kumar, Deccan Herald : ...Ajay Devgan’s performance is jaded at best while Vidya Balan had precious little to do.... full review

Thumbs down, by Aprajita Anil, Express India : ...Lacks the ‘Santoshi’ trademark... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'souza, Glamsham.com : ...It’s a pity a talented actor like Devgan is getting saddled in roles like these.... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...he has gone rabidly retro, the anti-Establishment un-zipper reminding you of dear old Jeetendra going ballistic in Jyoti Bane Jwala... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...I say brave because the actor sticks his neck out and takes on a character that few leading stars would have the courage to play... full review

Thumbs down, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...A cheaper version of Sunny Deol (Pankaj Kapur) arrives on the scene from nowhere...Can this saviour, save this sinking film? Another stupid question!... full review

Thumbs down, by Evita Saldanha, M TV : ...The shoddy production values made it look like Rajkumar Santoshi was shooting on a very tight budget. What else can explain the Maganlal Dresswala costumes and wigs?... full review

Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...it's the surprisingly tacky execution that hits you harder than the material itself... full review

Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...What also pulls the film down a few notches is the archaic filmmaking style... full review

Thumbs down, by Saakshi Juneja, To Each Its Own : ...we were presented with an immature script, cliched dialogues (at times even ridiculous) and above all an in-competent direction.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Consumer Goods

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

A film star, Sameer Khan (Ajay Devgan), wants to bask in the glory of his success, but is faced with a moral dilemma.

What Worked

  • The dialogues in the first roadside skit.
  • The sequence in which Ajay Devgan goes to Gaikwad's house the first time
  • The swimming pool scene with Pankaj Kapoor.
  • The action sequence in which Ajay Devgan has an accident.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The starting sequence - was extremely boring.
  • The arm wrestling scene - was very lame
  • The landlord flashback - was so unnecessary
  • The scene in which Ajay Devgan acts all teary-eyed - was so badly executed. Using glycerine would not have been a bad option.
  • How can a mother not know that her daughter has had a kidney operation?!
  • Marathi dialogues and attempt at a marathi accent for Gaikwad - failed miserably.
  • Darshan Jariwala's overacting.
  • The LIC analogy, I did not get it.
  • Exactly who starts the support for the Halla Bol movement and why?

Halla Bol - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Supporting Cast:
Background Score:
Music Director:
Running time:
160 minutes

Comments (4)

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well thanks for the review. if you would have posted it earlier that would have saved me the agony of actually watchin the film...i do agree with you ...its kind of a very dull effort of a social awakening~~~

[...] of those movies has already hit the theatres. How is Halla Bol faring? Here’s Meeta giving us a preview without giving the story away… Political dramas need a strong message backed by some power-packed dialogues and situations. [...]

rambhai, review was posted the Friday night it released! Oh well, har ticket pe likha hai dekhne waale ka naam...

Sanjay and Halla Bol, sentiments heard and understood...

Sailesh, thanks for your faith in my opinion :)

oh well, rahul...hopefully next time!

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