Bittoo Boss (2012): A Sweet Desi Love Story (Movie Review)

Bittoo Boss 2012 Bollywood Hindi Film Poster

Kolkata April 14, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) It is not always easy for television actors to graduate to the big screen and go on to have successful film careers. While none other than the Badshah of Bollywood himself, Shah Rukh Khan, rose from popular telly-serials like ‘Circus’ and ‘Fauji’ to rule the Hindi film industry for over two decades, such instances have been relatively rare. In fact, there is a common notion that, actors who do not quite manage to do well in movies tend to take up assignments on the small screen (Apoorva Agnihotri, of ‘Pardes’ fame, would be a case in point!). Only recently, we have seen popular television actor Rajeev Khandelwal make his movie debut with the delightfully made ‘Aamir’. Yet another well-known small screen star, Pulkit Samrat (who gained immense recognition among viewers through his portrayal of the role of ‘Lakshya Virani’ in that mother of all mega-serials, ‘Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’) makes his cinematic debut with director Supavitra Babul’s ‘Bittoo Boss’. With a fresh new cast, promising trailers and an engaging basic premise, the movie was expected to do well at the box-office, catapulting Pulkit Samrat to the dizzy heights of glory in the Hindi film industry. ‘Bittoo Boss’ turns out to be a pretty entertaining watch too!

Trailer: Bitto Boss VDO Shooter (Hindi, 2012)

In ‘Bittoo Boss’, audiences are acquainted with ‘Bittoo’ (Pulkit Samrat), a cool, charming and debonair wedding photographer from Punjab. The man clearly is in love with his profession and obviously has the highest regard for his own expertise in videography (he even calls himself the ‘sesky (!) video shooter’!). ‘Bittoo’ believes in capturing all the beautiful moments of life through his lenses and his professional skills (apart from his jovial nature!) make him a darling among most wedding parties in his town. If there’s a wedding happening, ‘Bittoo’ is one of first persons called for!

The happy-go-lucky ‘Bittoo’ becomes romantically involved with the young and beautiful ‘Mrinalini’ (Amita Pathak). A strong-willed and level-headed girl, the latter helps ‘Bittoo’ gain a whole new perspective on life. For the first time ever, he realizes that, popularity can only take him a small distance in life and in order to become really successful, one needed to have the big bucks and widespread recognition among people. The simple joys of shooting (and dancing!) at weddings were hardly enough in life and this comes as a surprise to our naive protagonist.

As days go by, ‘Bittoo’ becomes increasingly determined to earn more money (his profession, in any case, was more about pleasure than any huge financial rewards!). Buoyed by the constant support and encouragement of ‘Mrinalini’, the young man keeps searching for the best way to attain greater financial stability. However, instead of really working hard to make his dream a reality, ‘Bittoo’ decides to take up a complicated short-cut (of a highly dubious nature!), that would, if all went well, deliver him considerable riches, clearing the path for him and ‘Mrinalini’ to spend their days together happily. Things do not go exactly according to plan though (in Bollywood, even the best-laid plans tend to go to waste!) and a series of confusions, hilarious incidents and wacky happenings ensue. Will ‘Bittoo’ be successful in his quest for success in life (with or without money!)? Go to the theatres and you will get the answer!

‘Bittoo Boss’ is held together by its fresh and sparkling lead pair, Pulkit Samrat and Amita Pathak. Director Supavitra Babul also deserves credit for selecting an innovative theme as the basic premise of the movie (not many leading men of Hindi films have been cast in the role of small-time wedding photographers in the past!). The screenplay is fairly racy and the incident-filled narrative tends to keep the viewers interested at all times. The second half, however, is not even remotely as entertaining as the first and the predictable, half-baked climax also comes as a downer. ‘Bittoo Boss’ is certainly not a bad first-time effort from the director, but it definitely had the potential for being an even better film!

Performance-wise, ‘Bittoo Boss’ is right on the money. Pulkit Samrat makes a fine big-screen debut with the film. The rich experience of television acting that Samrat has stands him in good stead and he brings an easy charm and candour to his performance. There may not be any great screen presence about the young man (which might, over time, stand in the way of his becoming a conventional and saleable Bollywood hero!), but Samrat more than makes up for this shortcoming with the infectious energy that he seems to exude in the movie. Cast in the title role of ‘Bittoo’, Samrat portrays, with relative ease, the confusions of his character at the crossroads of life and his desperation to wriggle his way out of the murky situation that his desire to get hold of more money had landed him in. The actor also has a smart flair for comic situations, which makes his performance in ‘Bittoo Boss’ appear all the more believable.

Amita Pathak, who was earlier seen in such eminently forgettable flicks like ‘Aakrosh’ and ‘Haal-E-Dil’,  also pitches in with a sincere act as the leading lady of ‘Bittoo Boss’. Her turn as the no-nonsense, clear-thinking, feisty young girl stands in stark contrast to the fun-loving character of ‘Bittoo’ and it is precisely this disparity that makes the couple look so endearing onscreen. Pathak’s expressions and emoting skills are at par (or even better!) with many far more seasoned actresses of Bollywood and the austere streak in her character is portrayed quite nicely in the film. The onscreen chemistry between Samrat and Pathak is electric in the movie, adding that extra dash of magic to several scenes of ‘Bittoo Boss.’ The others mostly play around the leading couple and are rather well-cast in their roles.

‘Bittoo Boss’ also benefits from a crisp screenplay (by Gautam Mehra) and a nice, rustic overall feel. The freshness of the storyline works wonders for the movie and the pre-interval phase, in particular, is particularly entertaining. The film does run out of steam somewhat in the second hour, as a bit of repetitive, slapstick humour starts to creep into the narrative. Indeed, it is only the charming performances of Pulkit Samrat and Amita Pathak that keep the viewers intrigued during this portion of the film. Editing, by Abhishek Seth, could definitely have been tighter. ‘Bittoo Boss’ starts off well, features quite fantastic performances from its leading duo, but falls flat in its final few reels (unlike ‘Band Baaja Baarat’, the 2009 Yash Raj Films-release, with which it is being frequently compared!). On the whole though, the good points of ‘Bittoo Boss’ do outshine its weaker aspects and the movie does stand out as a nice and frothy one-time watch!

Cinematographer Manish Bhatt pitches in with deft camerawork in ‘Bittoo Boss’. The picturesque locales of Punjab are captured with dexterity in the lenses of Bhatt, which also lends the movie a polished and authentic aura. It is indeed fitting that a movie about a videographer would itself feature smart wielding of the camera and ‘Bittoo Boss’ certainly does not disappoint on that count. Dialogs are uniformly smart and mostly funny, adding to the spontaneity of the onscreen proceedings in the film.

‘Bittoo Boss’ also does relatively okay as far as its musical score is concerned. Raghav Sachar’s tunes are in keeping with the overall mood of the film and ‘Kick Lag Gayi’ and ‘Kabootar’ are particularly hummable. A distinct Punjabi flavour can also be detected in the lyrics of Kumaar and Luv Ranjan. The musical album of ‘Bittoo Boss’ does not have any blockbuster hit numbers, however and is, taken in its entirety, not as strong as it should have been (particularly considering that music is such an integral part of romantic flicks!). Background music is quite nice.

‘Bittoo Boss’ is a fair attempt on the part of director Supavitra Babul to make a sweet and engaging (and intensely ‘desi’!) love story. The movie is also held up well by the sprightly performance of Pulkit Samrat, who is ably backed up by all the other members of the cast. The onscreen chemistry of the leading couple is also a joy to watch in the film. There are certain flaws and loose ends in the movie (particularly in its latter half!), which do not allow ‘Bittoo Boss’ to rise to any great cinematic heights. However, the unique storyline, the steady narrative, the fun incidents (which keep on happening right through the movie!) and the nice cinematography make ‘Bittoo Boss’ a pretty well-made entertainer.

Pulkit Samrat does a praiseworthy job of essaying the role of ‘Bittoo’ in the movie. Whether the popular television actor does manage to become one of the much-adored ‘bosses’ of Bollywood over time would, however, depend on his future projects!