Bholaa Review: This Kaithi Remake is an Algorithm-produced Movie

Rahul Desai

The Old-is-new Syndrome

A remake of Lokesh Kanagaraj’s 2019 Tamil hit Kaithi, Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa is a subscriber of this old-is-new syndrome. Its story is a throwback to Nicolas Cage-starrer Con Air (1997): A family-bound ex-prisoner’s freedom is hijacked by one night of hell.

An Algorithm-produced Movie

At no point does the tactless Bholaa feel either old, new or anything in between. It looks like an algorithm-produced movie, a soulless attempt to impress the audience rather than express a sense of masala and scale.

A Knack for Stunt Choreography

As a film-maker, Devgn is a chip off the old block. The son of veteran action director Veeru Devgan, he has a knack for stunt choreography and innovative set pieces, evident in the mountaineering parts of Shivaay (2016) and the airplane thrills of Runway 34 (2022). Bholaa should have been the easiest to execute in terms of, well, altitude.

The Disorienting Themes of a Post-Sarkar Ram Gopal Varma

Most of the film is at shot at night, so the 3D – a format that mutes colours and darkens images – is questionable at best. The camera angles try too hard to shadow the energy of the narrative, following bodies as they fall to the ground and evoking the disorienting themes of a post-Sarkar Ram Gopal Varma.

Identity as a Remake?

A lot of Bholaa’s missteps can be traced back to its identity as a remake. Sometimes directors get so busy replicating the formula of a story that they end up trying to counterfeit the success of a film. The result is a robotic mishmash of tropes that strive to offset the absence of voice with technical bravado.

A Nocturnal Crime Thriller?

In other words, Bholaa disqualifies itself on a fundamental level. One cannot read deeper when the handwriting is all warped. After all, it takes some doing to undo the bleakness of a nocturnal thriller. It takes some more doing to invisibilize Tabu in a crime thriller.