Movie Name: Bell Bottom
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta, Huma Qureshi, Vaani Kapoor, Adil Hussain
Director: Ranjit Tewari
RAW agents must be known by a code name in order to keep their identities hidden, which is a simple protocol. During his training, Anshul (Akshay Kumar) intuitively chooses ‘Bell Bottom.’ He is thrown into RAW at a period when India is dealing with back-to-back hijackings, the ensuing hostage discussions, that follow the eventual release of imprisoned terrorists in exchange for millions of dollars to ensure that no lives have been lost. It’s the 1980s, and Indira Gandhi (Lara Dutta) sits in the Prime Minister’s chair, flanked by her faithful adviser, RN Kao (Denzil Smith).
Director Ranjit Tewari doesn’t go overboard with the Akki charm; instead, he seeks to capture Akshay’s flamboyance by swishing the hemline of his extremely flared bell-bottoms.
The first half of the film is spent laboriously, if you will, establishing the idea. Anshul is given a backstory to prove that he has a personal stake in solving the hijacking case at hand, rather than doing so for the sake of the country. Apart from Tum Aaogey at the very end, Vaani Kapoor and Akshay Kumar are given a song, Marjaawan, which is the only one that makes it to the screen.
Akshay Kumar can pull off such roles sith utmost ease. There are no surprises here. Adil Hussain and Lara Dutta do an excellent job, but Lara’s make-up team deserves special mention. With the exception of one exchange about RAW’s honour, Denzil remains a silent observer throughout. Vaani Kapoor and Huma Qureshi are given very little screen time, yet even so, Vaani is given a song and Huma is given a fight scene. In his portrayal, Zain Khan Durrani is fantastic. Unlike most films, which portray jihadis as noisy, expletive-spewing thugs, Zain decides to present the figure softly, allowing his depravity to shine through his silent eyes.
Bell Bottom, at the end of the day, is entertaining. Yes, just like any other Akshay Kumar movie. Add in the pleasure of seeing a movie at the theatre after what feels like an eternity, as well as 3D viewing, and you’ve got yourself a winner. In the end, we’re just glad that we’re one step closer to returning to normal at the movies.