Bicchoo Ka Khel review: A witless, unwatchable crime comedy
Divyendu Sharma gets typecast in a show that’s hurried, nonsensical and stale
Barely have the credits rolled on Mirzapur Season 2 and here comes Divyendu Sharma again, accosting a man in a loo. “Kahe humare aadar ka mother-father kar rahe hain?” he asks. “Why are you shading my hospitality?” Divyendu’s bluster isn’t out of place. His new show, Bicchoo Ka Khel, is about filmy characters caught in their own filmy loops. But where Mirzapur worked hard to earn its Bollywood stripes, Bicchoo feels like bad fan fiction — the Shakti Kapoor of genre tributes.
The show begins with Akhil (Divyendu) killing a prominent lawyer during a college function in Varanasi. Brought under arrest, he calmly narrates his story: how his father, Babu (Mukul Chadda), was framed for a murder he didn’t commit and put in jail, which led to his suicide. The whole thing traces back to a murky redevelopment project coming up in the city. The dead lawyer was involved, as were several of his cronies. Thus, Akhil killing him in cold blood is both an act of revenge and a leveling with a system he thinks killed his father. “My dad was a Madhuri fan,” he explains in a kooky voiceover. “But they made an Amrish Puri of him.”
Cast: Divyendu Sharma, Zeishan Quadri, Anshul Chauhan, Rajesh Sharma
Streaming on: ALTBalaji
The first episode — inexplicably titled ‘Duniya gol hai, har baap ka double hai’ — appears to introduce a straight revenge story. In truth, director Ashish Shukla’s show is anything but. Working with screenwriter Gibran Noorani, he switches genres recklessly, like eager kids let loose in a DVD store. The initial mood is blithely comic; Akhil tailing a suspect across the ghats of Benaras has shades of detective fiction, while his love affair with Rashmi (Anshul Chauhan), whose father he’s about to kill, further curdles the plot. There are courtroom scenes I couldn’t wrap my head around. A jailbreak is teased in episode 3 and quickly forgotten. The female characters are either having affairs or getting hit by cars. Only Zeishan Quadri as a wry, role-playing cop is watchable in a mostly scattered show.
The opening credits also hawk a tribute to the Hindi film music of "the 70s and 80s." Yet, apart from a few RD Burman nods in the score, the show fails to excite musically. The main theme — with its annoying ‘lagao…lagao….lagao…’ — is repeated throughout, regardless of scene or context. The few older songs we hear are used unimaginatively: Kaanta Lagaa plays during a funeral, Kajra Mohabbat Wala at a wedding. The dialogue is equally nonsensical. “A rich man saves money to fend off the courts,” Akhil says at one point, “…a poor man to pay his child’s fees. But I’m middle-class… so I’m screwed.” Okay, buddy.
Since Mirzapur 1, Divyendu has emerged as one of the most exciting actors on the Indian web. His ability to play criminal characters with humour and cheek is fairly unmatched. Yet shows like Bicchoo Ka Khel only dilute what is clearly a rare and formidable talent. It’s what they did to Seann William Scott or Michael Cera or Arshad Warsi by repeatedly casting them in the same roles. When a judge in this show goes, ”Please…get a little sincere,” it’s like he’s warning Divyendu of the pratfalls of success.