'BellBottom' review: It's an Akshay Kumar show all the way and we aren't complaining 

WION Web Team
New DelhiWritten By: Shomini SenUpdated: Aug 19, 2021, 11:00 AM IST
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Based on true incidents and set in 1984, 'BellBottom' has Akshay Kumar playing a RAW agent who leads a covert operation in Dubai to rescue an Indian Airlines flight hijacked by the Khalistanis under the instructions of Pakistan's ISI.

There is nothing that Akshay Kumar can't do. He can single-handedly evacuate the Indian population from war-torn Iraq, he can teach lessons on menstruation to the world and he can ward of barbaric Afghans with just a few handful of people by his side. In filmmaker Ranjit M Tewari's 'BellBottom' he rides outside a moving jeep amid a blinding sandstorm and rescues hostages while fighting terrorists.

Based on true incidents and set in 1984, 'BellBottom' has Kumar playing a RAW agent who leads a covert operation in Dubai to rescue an Indian Airlines flight hijacked by the Khalistanis under the instructions of Pakistan's ISI.

Our Bharat Kumar-whose code name is Bell Bottom is called in during an emergency meeting with the then PM of India Mrs Indira Gandhi(Lara Dutta). The union ministers of Defence and Civil Aviation are not very keen on making Bell Bottom in charge or lead of a covert operation because he has been a desk guy with RAW so far. But RAW chief (Adil Hussain) is convinced that Kumar is the man who can bring everyone home safely without negotiations or releasing any of the arrested terrorists. Turns out Bell Bottom has some personal scores to settle with the group who has highjacked the plane as he had lost his mother in a similar highjack a few years back (what are the odds!?)

Armed with limited aids, Kumar and a handful of agents and ministers fly down to Dubai where the high jacked plane has taxied in the hope to negotiate with the Indian govt and get some of their members out of jail . We do not need to tell you how the rest of the story pans out.

While the plot may take a predictable turn, it still manages to keep the viewers engaged throughout its 2 hours of runtime. It's edgy, entertaining and engaging and that's why the film scores. 

Akshay Kumar plays Ayush an IAS aspirant whose life changes when his mother dies and he is recruited by the RAW. It is slightly amusing to watch Akshay Kumar play an individual who scores high in mental abilities and IQ but struggles in the fitness test - while he is training at the academy. He though overcomes his shortcomings in a span of a song like a quintessential Hindi film hero and eventually becomes the most dependable man at the academy. So dedicated he is to his job that even on a family holiday in London, he hunts down a handful of terrorists and gets them arrested. Bharat Kumar, after all!

While the film is all about Akshay Kumar and his histrionics, it also has some credible faces playing supporting characters. There's Sunit Tandon plating ISI chief, Adil Hussain as the RAW chief, Huma Qureshi as an Arab woman helping the Indian government and of course Lara Dutta as Indira Gandhi (kudos to her makeup artist). There is also Dolly Ahluwalia and Vani Kapoor as Kumar's mother and wife. Most of the actors have limited screen time and it is an absolute Akshay Kumar show all the way. 

Kumar, of course, doesn't let down. He is the one-man army who saves the nation in every film and 'BellBottom' is no different. He is sharp enough to identify suspected terrorists without any formal training, he is brave enough to withstand sand storms and rescue his countrymen and he is charming enough to sing and romance women half his age. 'BellBottom' of course, takes a nationalist turn which is very unnecessary for a film with such an interesting plot. In the garb of giving a patriotic film writers Aseem Arrora and Parveez Shaikh not just make Pakistan the main villain but also highlight Khalistan and its anti-nationalist activities in the 1980s which eventually led to Mrs Gandhi's assassination. 

It is interesting to note that 'Bell Bottom' may not offer any thing that we haven't already seen in other Akshay Kumar films, but it still manages to keep you hooked. The 'one-hero-saving-the-country' formula has been perfected by the superstar over the years which other actors haven't been able to adapt as well as him. 

The makers claim the film is based on true incidents in history but of course take artistic liberties to make the film an interesting watch. It serves many purposes in one go. It highlights Pakistan's role in encouraging terrorist activities in India, it also shows the Khalistan movement (briefly of course) which in recent months has been a topic of discussion during the farmer's protest, it also reiterates India's strong ties with the UAE, which serves as the backdrop for the climax. 

The film has unnecessary songs and they make Vani Kapoor look like a woman who has travelled back in time to romance the hero in her very contemporary outfits. 

Does 'BellBottom' work? Despite its flaws, it does and primarily because of Akshay Kumar and a gripping screenplay. You get into the film knowing how the story is going to pan out but still end up enjoying and that makes the film a winner. 

'BellBottom' is out in theatres on August 19.