Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Amala Paul, Sanjay Mishra, Raai Laxmi

Rating: ** ½

There is nothing bhola (innocent) about Bholaa. A bloodthirsty shrieking yarn of a film . A mayhem-filled masala dossier of crime and adventure that Lokesh Kanagraj made into a Tamil feast of fury Kaithi, now ours to appreciate in an adapted form ostensibly palatable to Ajay Devgn’s fans in the cow belt.Moo power to the adaptive gang.

Apart from one major radical change from the original, Bholaa is as faithful to the original as any banquet of bloodshed can be. For those who came in late(not a bad idea, since the prologue of this fast-moving commotion picture is pretty vapid) the eponymous Bholaa, played by the producer-director Mr Devgn(is that how he spells his name these days?) is out from jail after ten years(why ten? Why not twelve?) to meet his infinitely cute daughter Jyoti(Hirva Trivedi).

The interludes between the father and daughter on the phone are the only soft spots in an otherwise tough and obdurate action film where motorcycles fly in the air (Rohit Shetty’s influence over Mr Devgn’s artistic mindscape) as dear Bholaa manoeuvres a truck filled with poisoned unconscious cops to safety. His company in the driver’s cabin are a hardnosed cop Diana(Tabu) and a comic caterer Karchi(Amir Khan, not the one you think).

Fortuitously , the three begin to care for one another over a night filled with drugs and goons. There is a feeling of mutual empathy among the three incidental travelers that could have been further developed. But no! Director Devgn is interested in nothing more than pegging the smartly-done stunts to the characters . They exist only as long as the action does.Without the flying fists and bristling bullets the characters have no life.

Still, the stunts are fun to watch. And it’s a masterstroke that Mr Devgn has converted the original male cop’s role into a female. Tabu has played the dutiful and beautiful cop to Devgan earlier in the Drishyam films. Here in Bholaa Devgn and Tabu are a lot more interactive. I specially liked Tabu in the sequence where she tells Devgn about how she lost her child in the line of duty.

I wish the film had more such quiet ruminative moments. Sadly Bholaa is a film in a hurry. It knows it has a captive audience and it won’t lose it at any cost. Devgn’s direction stresses on accelerated action and aggravated drama. Almost the entire cast of goons and drug peddlers look like they’ve jumped out of Ram Gopal Varma’s cinematic universe. They could do with a wash.

The one actor who stands out in the melee of mayhem is Deepak Dobriyal. As the archvillain Ashu , Dobriyal is menacing and mirthful , taciturn and quite a mouthful. He is fun without letting the evil quotient be diluted. And he has a cannibal brother played by Vineet Kumar whose name is—hold your culinary cravings—Nithari.

This is the one real-life masterstroke in the derivative screenplay that seems suitably spirited in a film where the hero is a Shiv Bhakt . One massive action sequence has Bholaa impaling the goons with a trishul , like succulent meat forked off a plate.