Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne is not just another comedy film in the Punjabi language, it is an attempt to bring the two Punjabs closer. The protagonist here might be an Indian Punjabi actor (Diljit Dosanjh) but the title role is played by another Punjabi (Sohail Ahmed), from the other side of the Wagah Border. Together, they create magic like never before and the result is a humorous production that relies on clean comedy, social messages and hilarious situations. Add to that the familiar touch of Indian Punjabi cinema, the exotic locations, and a simple entertaining story, and everyone from the makers to the audience ends up a winner.
Eternal dreamer Jaggi (Diljit Dosanjh) and his two friends work in a store in Canada but are sick and tired of their mediocre lifestyle. Their plan is to become rich quickly, without putting in much effort. After failing to impress potential investors with their incredibly stupid ideas including an undergarment that works in space, they come up with an ingenious scheme – adopt an abandoned old man from an old-age home, get him insured and wait for his natural death so that they could usurp his insurance money, without doing much.
Their quest leads them to Iqbal (Sohail Ahmed) who has hardly a month to live, according to his caretaker Preet (Sargun Mehta), and doctor. Things go awry for Jaggi and his pals when instead of getting weaker, Iqbal regains his health (thanks to their efforts) and even surprises his doctor who gives him a clean bill of health. What will Jaggi and his friends do since the loan they took to care for their ‘investment’, seems to be running out, and the con seems to be back on them. Watch the film in cinemas if you want to know the answer and have a great time in between.
From the first frame till the last, everything in this flick is placed perfectly but what makes it hilarious is the chemistry between Diljit Dosanjh and Sohail Ahmed. While Diljit’s character Jaggu is more like the Govinda of Dulhe Raja, Sohail Ahmed fills in as Kader Khan from the same film. Diljit makes plans to get rich quickly which are quashed by Sohail Ahmed’s Baba who seems to have done everything in his lifetime. From winning marathons to staying underwater for three minutes, there is nothing he hasn’t mastered and that’s what keeps the audience guessing.
If Diljit Dosanjh is the pull of the film, Sohail Ahmed is the push, but together they work. The confidence with which Diljit’s character asks his friends to ‘trust me’, or the swag with which he moves (or pedals) around is exactly what the audience wanted. His comic timing is perfect, especially in the scenes with Sohail Ahmed and Sargun Mehta. Even the romance between Sargun’s Preet and Diljit’s Jaggu is cute, and never crosses the line.
Director Amarjit Singh Saron must also be commended for not going for below-the-belt jokes, and staying afloat with ideas that at times remind the viewers of the Road Runner cartoons, where Diljit Dosanjh plays the Wily E Coyote and Sohail Ahmed is the Road Runner. The way he handles the emotional part of the film is also worth mentioning because when things don’t happen the way Jaggu planned, there comes a time when he is left alone and that’s where the director’s brilliance takes over and keeps the momentum going when lesser directors would have faltered.
BBPN begins as a film where three losers want to strike gold without doing much, however, the last half an hour revolves around a heist. It’s not that confusing since its part of the main plot but it would have been better had the characters involved in the heist had some experience in that regard. The Expendables look was a treat for sore eyes but for those who aren’t familiar with the franchise that would have been a drawback. The director could have inserted the film’s poster or shown it on TV to make the uninitiated, initiated.
Also, Sargun Mehta’s character should have had more to do onscreen, considering she is quite popular across the world, and wearing glasses throughout the film did little justice to her beauty. And finally, for a Diljit Dosanjh film, the music isn’t the strong suit here, which may be good for the film and the audience who are more involved in the plot, but not for those who would have bought the ticket to be treated by their favourite Punjabi singer.
Unlike most Pakistani Punjabi films (excluding The Legend of Maula Jatt, of course!) BBPN is a clean comedy film with a message for the viewers, who might be from six to sixty-six, or beyond. Written by Amarjit Singh Saron, Naresh Kathooria, and Chanchal Dabra the film’s dialogues are in simple Punjabi, simple English, and sometimes in Urdu and Hindi, depending on which language you understand. Despite not being well-versed in Punjabi, I was able to laugh uncontrollably throughout the film’s run and even predicted some of the forthcoming dialogues with mixed results.
This film must be shown to forthcoming filmmakers on how to make a comedy film without the help of vulgar jokes and situations, and how to insert a social message in it. The writers and the director fall back on the strategy of the golden era of cinema and empower characters to take the story forward. Although Diljit Dosanjh, Sargun Mehta, and Sohail Ahmed have the highest number of scenes, the other actors also chip in, making their presence felt when they can. It is a must-watch film for those who prefer sanity over vulgarity, and do it before it’s too late! -Ends