Bolly Double is a spoof on the conventions of popular Indian Bollywood movies. Though the cast and crew include Indians and/or people of Indian descent, the production itself is embedded in Western culture, which makes this film an interesting hybrid.
The film, written and directed by Arun Bharali, stars Koel Purie in a dual role. Firstly, Purie plays a Kativa, a shy, pretty-but-dowdy girl with dreams of becoming a movie star, despite her family’s objections. She idolizes a bratty diva named Kohinoor, who is, of course, also played by Purie. The destinies of these two identical strangers intersect when Kohinoor is kidnapped for ransom, thus stalling the production of her current movie.
While the actress is in captivity, Kativa visits the location of the movie production in order to try to meet Kohinoor—and, of course, is promptly drafted to be her replacement. Of course, this means trouble for both Kohinoor and her captors, since the actress seems to no longer be needed for the production, and therefore nobody is trying to ransom or rescue her.
So, what exactly are we to do with this film, besides placing it under the broad category of the comedy genre? Some might say that we should call it Bollywood lite, i.e. among the number of Western-made, watered-down send-ups of popular Indian cinema. Bolllywood Queen, which starred Preeya Kalidas and the then-obscure James McAvoy, comes to mind. However, Bolly Double comes a little closer to the convoluted structure and frenzied energy of real Bollywood films, despite the fact that the performances are overall somewhat less engaging than those in Bollywood Queen.
Koel Purie does a good job juggling two roles, but the performances of the other cast members are not very remarkable, which means that Purie does not have much opportunity to play off the other actors.
Of course, this being a Bollywood spoof, there has to be singing and dancing involved. The musical numbers in Bolly Double are adequate, but suffer in comparison with above-average samples from real Bollywood movies. Bharali should have paid closer attention to such numbers. If we may generalize, we might say that there are two ways to make great song-and-dance numbers. Firstly, one might go for sexy, spectacular, large-scale extravaganzas with borderline-silly moves. This all-out approach is exemplified by “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai” from Khalnyak.
Otherwise, one might go for smaller-scale numbers that dazzle with inventiveness and humor, as does “Yeh Dosti” from the Bollywood classic Sholay. That number basically involved two guys, a motorcycle-with-sidecar, and a dirt road.
It is still an amazing piece of footage, even decades after it was first filmed. In short, the singing and dancing in Bolly Double are perfectly fine—just not very exciting, especially if you are familiar with some of the best Bollywood offerings.
Bolly Double is an overall decent effort with a charming lead performance. It is a decent way to kill two hours. However, if you really want a dose of Bollywood craziness, try another spoof: Om Shanti Om, which is much wilder, and is itself a product of Bollywood.
Year : 2006
Director : Arun Bharali
Writer : Arun Bharali
Starring: Koel Purie, Jessie Ahluwalia, Raahul Singh, Sitara Hewitt, Mukesh Asopa, Christian Bako, Cris Rossel
Producer: Daniel Hill
Co-Producer: Paul Russell
Director of Photography: Laurence Blyth
Music Supervisor: Glen Gummerson
Production Designer: Veronica Verkley
Running time: 124 mins
Awards: Houston Gold Remy Award, Toranto Star Audience Choice Award