The films of Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao have more or less captured the market on problems of men in small North Indian towns. Babloo Bachelor, directed by Agnidev Chatterjee, is late to the party, even though its subject could have been topical and relevant, if better written and cast.
Babloo (Sharman Joshi), the only son of a rich landlord (Rajesh Sharma), is a bachelor at 35, presumably because he rejected all the potential brides he went to meet, and some turned him down too. It’s not as if Babloo is averse to marriage, he just wants the perfect wife, whatever that means! He has just one friend in Chhote (Aakash Dabhade), the kind of annoying sidekick, who exists only in films, and no evidence of any kind of social life. There is vague mention of Babloo probably being being gay or bisexual, but that issue is not tackled. It is a fact that any man who is unmarried by the age of 30 has to suffer all kinds of gossip— it is much worse for women– and the dreaded ‘manglik’ dagger always hangs over their heads. However, in a city like Lucknow, it may be possible, though highly unlikely, that a wealthy and decent-looking guy would be a ‘virgin’ at 35.
When Babloo selects Avantika (Pooja Chopra), in spite of some misgivings about her five ex-boyfriends, she dumps him, because she cannot respect a man who does nothing and has no goal in life. Babloo is a cipher in the career department too, he does not need to work, he explains, because his father has earned enough!
When he does get married finally to Swati (Tejashree Pradhan), she runs off on her wedding night to become a “heroine” in Mumbai; apparently her strict parents would not have let her pursue a film career, so she needed to escape. After moping a bit– and smoking a lot– Babloo is sent by his father to Mumbai, to fetch her. In that short period of time, Swati has become a famous “heroine” though all she is seen in is a Swayamwar reality show on TV. In this social media era, she miraculously manages to hide her marriage.
Who should be interviewing Swati in a chat show, but Avantika; she works for a news channel, and lives in a palatial apartment in Mumbai, on an anchor’s salary!
Anyway, after some very silly misadventures in the city, Babloo has to pick between the two women, and the only one excited about Babloo’s dilemma is Chhote, who tends to be hyper anyway, and has a vocabulary that needed to be bleeped out by censors.
The look of the film –the garish interiors, kitschy costumes, and bored-looking extras in the background—is dated even by TV soap standards. Now that audiences have seen superior content on their TV screens, the question every filmmaker needs to ask is: will audiences want to spend their money and risk their health in coronavirus times to watch this film in the moviehall? If the answer is no, then go back to the drawing board!