Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 14, 2010

What a bummer!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:49 pm

May 14, 2010

Cast: Darsheel Safary, Ziyah Vastani, Atul Kulkarni, Rituparna Sengupta
Director: Priyadarshan

There are so many things wrong with director Priyadarshan’s adaptation of Iranian gem Children of Heaven, you can’t decide where to start.

The film’s awkward title — Bumm Bumm Bole — has no relevance to the story whatsoever, but appears to be a reference to a song in Taare Zameen Par whose young star Darsheel Safary is the lead in this film too.

No concern for geographical accuracy or attention to detail, the director has filmed this movie in the idyllic town of Ooty where children attend Christian missionary schools; but with references to Bihu and tea plantations, and a sub-plot involving ULFA militants, it’s evident the story is set in Assam. And yet the characters dress like Kashmiris.

Sticking to the basic plot of Majid Majidi’s original film, Priyadarshan’s version is centered on a young boy’s search for his sister’s lost shoes, and culminates with him participating in a race in which he’s determined to come in third so he can win the corresponding prize: a pair of brand new sneakers. Until then, the boy and his little sister must share the same pair of shoes to school, petrified to tell the truth to their parents who cannot possibly afford a new pair.

The most fatal flaw in this Hindi adaptation is the miscasting of Darsheel Safary as the selfless brother. The kid is impishly cute and knows he can act, but comes off as too city-slick, and lacks the naiveté required to pull off the part convincingly.

Where the original film used subtleties and silences to convey emotions, Priyadarshan’s version goes for over-the-top melodrama, and throws in the unnecessary terrorist angle which only dilutes the impact of the siblings’ dilemma. Shameless product placement for a sporting goods brand and the use of songs in a narrative that didn’t need any is evidence of the fact that the makers aren’t above exploiting every possible situation to maximize commercial benefits.

Bumm Bumm Bole fails entirely because it’s hard to connect with the kids and their pain. There is an endearing charm to little Ziyah Vastani who plays the chatterbox sister, but it’s wasted in a film that has little integrity.

I recommend you stay home and watch the original film on DVD instead. Children of Heaven is a heartbreaking drama that’ll leave you with a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes.

This one, meanwhile, deserves to be skipped. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Priyadarshan’s Bumm Bumm Bole. Not worth your time.

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