wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
Loads of improvement needed and possible in almost all departments. Barring a few sequences, the movie seems very superficial.Read more
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
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 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
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
A film star, Sameer Khan (Ajay Devgan), wants to bask in the glory of his success, but is faced with a moral dilemma.