The movie Babli Bouncer is unlike anything Madhur Bhandarkar has done before. Using the comedy genre for the trope this time by the filmmaker, who has frequently produced films about women shattering the glass barrier, may be a sign of the times. But alas, Babli Bouncer is soulless, unlike many of his earlier efforts (Page 3, Fashion). The movie isn’t sure if it wants to be a lighthearted comedy with a tonne of clichés or a coming-of-age drama. It strives to be both but ends up being neither, losing a potentially interesting plot and doing something significant a disservice. s Also read: Tamannaah Bhatia’s Babli Bouncer is a game-changer, according to Madhur Bhandarkar
The titular Babli Tanwar (Tamannaah Bhatia) is a girl from the twin towns of Asola-Fatehpur Beri, which are close to Delhi and are referred to be the village of bouncers. The pehelwans from these villages are bouncers in Delhi-NCR nightclubs. As a “woman bouncer,” Babli adopts a similar attitude. Her motivations are to avoid getting married and to date a gorgeous Delhi boy she met at a rural event. The movie then depicts Babli’s development as she reconsiders her decisions and figures out how to put what really matters first in life.
To begin with, Babli Bouncer is not a story about female bouncers or the difficulties they encounter. It is not about a woman shattering the glass ceiling in an industry that is dominated by men. Actually, Babli’s voyage through the field is fairly simple—if anything, it’s a little too simple. However, the movie focuses on her personal development. The job as a bouncer is merely a setting. Anything may have been the case. The focus of this tale is on a country girl who discovers her own value and realises there is more to life than merely pursuing her ideal husband.
Tamannaah portrays Babli admirably and with sincerity. She carries the film on her shoulders, an unpleasant duty, and she does it wonderfully. The movie would have been unwatchable in several places if not for her charm. However, she does a good job of depicting the physique of the rural Babli. She does struggle with the more emotional passages, but thankfully she has the help of some excellent actors who fill in the blanks. In addition, Saurabh Shukla is outstanding as Babli’s father. Sahil Vaid, who is also a bouncer and plays her enamoured fiancé Kukku, is endearing and serves as the narrative’s moral compass. The other actors perform admirably, especially Abhishek Bajaj who portrays Viraj, the love interest of Babli.
Babli Bouncer, while having so much going for it, wastes it all with some dubious narrative decisions. To put it mildly, the first half-setup hour’s is cringeworthy, with jokes being dropped like they’re nobody’s business. Sadly, the humour is forced, the comic relief is unpleasant, and the gags don’t really land. Years ago, movies like Namastey London did a far better job of montaging the creative ways Babli irritates her suitors. Nothing new has been added there.
The dialogue seems like it was scripted for a 1990s movie by someone who had no real understanding of how people in the area communicate. Every character has been reduced to a caricature of how a person from south Bombay would likely perceive them, and the clichés are overflowing. The Delhi guy is all about “my Baahubali saansad daddy,” the girls are snorting at the club, and the locals are all simpletons. The cop is caricature-like funny. I recognise that the story required a dramatic rendering of what Babli sees in Delhi. But even after taking it into consideration, the presentation lacks nuance.
After Babli’s awakening and as she changes into a character who is more focused on “apne pairon pe khada hona,” the movie improves in the second half. Although it is greatly needed, I believe the reform has come too late. Even still, Babli’s solutions to problems or her manner of handling things come out as more sensible than heroic. Additionally, the practise of delivering random jokes in some difficult circumstances using the Haryanavi accent should be abandoned and returned to 2002.
Babli Bouncer is ultimately a sincere attempt at a coming-of-age tale. It puts a likeable individual in an unfamiliar situation. The story then completely ignores such backdrop in favour of concentrating on Babli’s romantic life. It may have been a better, and more acceptable, story if the movie, which is named after a female bouncer, spent a little more time exploring the struggles and triumphs of these women.