4 March 2011 | Chrysanthepop
The (mis)adventures of Benny and Babloo
Yunus Sajawal makes an interesting directorial debut with the dramedy 'Benny and Babloo'. It starts off with the title characters working together at a teahouse which is suddenly shut down. Luckily, Benny (Kay Kay Menon) finds employment as a bellhop at the Mirage hotel while Babloo (Rajpal Yadav) finds work as a waiter in a local beerbar. Benny is immensely proud of his job while he pokes fun at Babloo for working at a sleazy place. Eventually, he realizes that Babloo has a more dignified job and more reason to be proud of than him.
The comedic sequences work wonderfully. The first quarter hour made me laugh as did the comic relief in between. However, most of the more intense scenes felt melodramatic. For example, the scenes depicting corruption at Mirage hotel felt forced and staged (the acting and dialogues were bad). It was like watching a scene from 'Page 3'. Many of the subplots felt rushed (like the Riya Sen track) and poorly developed.
The execution is passable. Most of the songs are well-set in the background and they're pleasant to the ears. The actors have good chemistry. Kay Kay Menon and Rajpal Yadav are a delight to watch. Not only are they convincing as best friends, but they bring a certain humbleness and naivety that makes these common men easy to relate to. Aashif Sheikh is brilliant as the hotel manager. Of the actresses, Richa Chadda steals the show as the streetsmart bargirl. Anita Hassandani is decent and Rukhsar is very good (except in the scenes where she's required to be emotional where she's slightly melodramatic). Riya Sen is passable at best.
It's interesting how Sajawal draws parallel between a five star hotel and a beer bar. He implies that even a beer bar can have more dignity than a 5 star hotel where corruption has become a way of living. If only he had tightened the writing and shown more development, this would have been a real treat to watch. Yet, 'Benny and Babloo' is far from being a bad film. I'd say it's at least worth a one-time watch. Menon and Yadav are great.