Bell Bottom is a film inspired by real life incidents of airplane hijackings that happened during late 70’s and early 80’s during Indira Gandhi’s Prime Ministership. The story revolves around an undercover Research And Analysis Wing agent, code named Bell Bottom, who saved 210 passengers of a hijacked Indian plane.
The film opens with a hijack in 1984, at the back of other similar incidents, after which we are introduced to Anshul Malhotra, played by Akshay Kumar, who is a singer, a national level chess player, a French instructor and an IAS aspirant. Anshul’s mother Raavie Malhotra (Dolly Ahluwalia) dies in the same hijack and from here his journey as a RAW agent begins. Akshay’s performance is great and we get to see him portraying different shades of his character – emotional, lover boy, sharp minded, comedy among other aspects.
Vaani Kapoor plays Radhika Malhotra, Akshay’s love interest. Unfortunately her character is quite banal & does not contribute to the movie’s story itself.
Lara Dutta as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is absolutely amazing. Playing Indira Gandhi on screen is no cake walk and no doubt Lara has absolutely nailed it. Dutta is totally unrecognisable in that look; and one must make a special note of the makeup artist for this feat.
In supporting roles Zain Khan Durrani stands out. He surely left an impact with his powerful negative role in the limited screen space he got. Adil Hussain who plays one of the strongest characters in the film, RAW chief Santook. While there were a lot of expectations from Huma Qureshi’s character, unfortunately though it is nothing more than a guest appearance.
Bell Bottom is lacking that surprise factor that must come with spy thrillers. Instead it is quite predictable. Ultimately it is a typical bollywood flick with a lot of “unrequired masala”. But despite all the flaws, I found it to be a decent one time watch.
Directed by Ranjit Tiwari, Bell Bottom is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.