Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) is a Muslim who lives in New Delhi with his sister Sania (Asin Thottumkal). Abbas loses a legal battle for his ancestral home and is left without any money. Shastri, a friend of Abbas and his sister, convinces them to migrate to his village, Ranakpur. Here the powerful Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn) will give Abbas a job.
When Abbas and his sister arrive in Ranakpur, things start badly when Abbas breaks the lock of an ancestral temple while trying to save a drowning child. This enrages the villagers, but Prithviraj arrives and calms down the angry mob. Abbas fears that the villagers will become even angier if they realise he’s a Muslim. So he lies and says his name is ‘Abhishek Bachchan’, the same as the famous movie star.
Unfortunately for Abbas, this first lie leads to a second and then a third. He tells different people different things, including about his family. So it ends up sounding as though he has three mothers and a twin brother – and he has to pretend to be the twin brother. Abbas’s life gets even more complicated when he falls in love with Prithviraj’s sister, while Prithviraj falls in love with Sania.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Lies and deception; ethnic conflict; homosexuality
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
This movie has scenes of stylised action violence and slapstick. For example:
- After losing his court case, Abbas Ali physically assaults his lawyer by punching him in the face and body and then repeatedly kicking him as he lies on the ground.
- Gang members wave shotguns and rifles in a threatening way.
- During a stylised fight between Abbas Ali and an angry mob of villagers, a man with a rifle shoots a club out of another man’s hand. Someone else shoots the rifle out of the first man’s hand.
- There are several over-the-top stylised action fights involving Abbas, Prithviraj and gang members. Abbas and Prithviraj seem to have almost superhuman abilities. They punch and kick gang members in the face and body. Gang members are thrown through the air in all directions, and tables and property are destroyed. In one scene Prithviraj uses a ladder to entangle four men and throw them at a car. In another scene a man’s arm is broken, and we hear the sound of the bone breaking. A man is hit in the face with the butt of a gun, and another has his face smashed into a stone pillar.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight years. For example:
- A small boy walks along a high wall, loses his balance and falls into a pool of water. He thrashes around, calls for help and sinks below the surface of the water before he is rescued.
- A couple of scenes show car chases involving reckless driving. A car flies through the air to collide with the front of a bus, the bus windows explode, and people are thrown out of the windows in a shower of glass. There are many car crashes, and a car goes over a cliff and hangs dangerously on the cliff face.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
This movie has some low-level sexual references and innuendo, which are meant to be funny. For example:
- A man gets nervous and can’t say what he means. He ends up saying to a woman, ‘I am here to make you a mother’.
- In a comic misunderstanding, a man tells another man, ‘You do a one night stand for me’.
- A woman talks about gay men and how she wants to be with another man’s gay brother.
- In a misunderstanding about a man’s ability to perform sexually, another man says, ‘Don’t worry. There are many medicines available out there’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Women wear revealing clothing.
- There is some cross-dressing.
- The lead characters flirt mildly.
- A man pretends to be gay and does an extremely camp dance. During his dance men rub themselves up against each other in a comically sensuous way.
None of concern
This movie has occasional low-level coarse language and put-downs.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Bol Bachchan is a 1970s-style Bollywood romantic comedy targeting older teenagers and adults, particularly fans of Bollywood movies. Some of the humour is culturally specific and might go over the heads of younger viewers, who might also find the movie too long. The movie is in Hindi with English subtitles and heavily accented English. This might also present problems for younger viewers.
The movie’s main message is that telling lies to avoid problems is likely to lead to more serious problems and the need for more lies.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness. For example, Abbas risks his own life and safety to rescue a small boy from drowning.
You could also talk about the many cultural differences between western culture and Indian culture and lifestyles as shown in the movie. For example, Prithviraj appears to control all aspects of his sister’s life.