'Bunty aur Babli' turns 16: Revisiting the timeless Bollywood rom-com
Bunty aur Babli was a Bollywood blockbuster in the truest sense. It had incredible music, a stellar cast, on-screen chemistry to die for, and a dance number that became India's thumping anthem. The mad caper was an Indianized version of Bonnie and Clyde, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji. On its 16th anniversary, let us look at some lesser-known facts about the classic movie.
It focuses on a street-smart, small town duo, who decides to con people through schemes and eventually give birth to the legendary Bunty and Babli. From gangsters to spiritual gurus and bureaucrats, they can transform into anyone with ease. The journey seems like a smooth sail until they come across a very upset policeman. How long can they go on with their con job?
Abhishek as Bunty paid homage to many iconic movies of Amitabh Bachchan, as he reprised his father's roles throughout the film. While trying to con a hotel owner, he pretends to act like Agneepath's Vijay. For another sequence, Abhishek shows up in Rishi Kapoor's costume from Amar Akbar Anthony. Most songs playing in the background throughout the movie are also from Big B's movies.
Did you know Sushmita Sen was once considered for the Kajra Re song? Bunty aur Babli also marked the first appearance of Amitabh and Abhishek together in a film. Amitabh and Raj Babbar shared screen space for the first time in this Shaad Ali-directed movie. Hrithik Roshan was approached to play Bunty. However, he wanted either Yash Chopra or Aditya Chopra to direct it.
The motorcycle (with a sidecar) featured in the movie is a 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet. Although it was designed in England, the bike is produced in Chennai. Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput worked as a backup dancer in Nach Baliye. The movie had a worldwide box collection of Rs. 64 crore. The adjusted inflation rates today will make it around Rs. 254 crore.
Apart from music, locales, story and performances, if there's one thing that set the film apart, it's Mukerji's costumes. Right from her vibrant kurtis with matching patialas, to her red jhola bag, all became a rage. In fact, her style in the film was called the 'Bunty Babli suit'. And that year, tailors got orders from customers who demanded replication of that particular type.
In a previous talk, Ali shared what inspired him to make this classic. "It's kid's genre, it's chor-police, which is a common game for the children to play," he revealed. "As someone who grew up in the '70s and '80s, I had seen several films with the premise of cop and thief. Those films had a great influence on my childhood and growing-up years."
Though audiences loved their on-screen chemistry, things weren't that great between Abhishek and Mukerji. The couple was reportedly dating that time, but Jaya Bachchan didn't apparently accept their affair. The failure of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) further took a toll on their relationship. Meanwhile, Abhishek didn't invite Mukerji to his wedding, which made fans sure that their relationship didn't end nicely.
Anyway, now both are happily married. Returning to the film, its sequel is in the making. But this time, our Babli has found her Bunty in Saif Ali Khan. Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Sharvari Wagh are their co-stars. While plot details have been kept under wraps, the Varun Sharma-directorial takes place a decade later with two pairs of con artists. Shooting has wrapped up already.