BYOMKESH BAKSHY(2015)D

Posted: April 10, 2015 in Dibakar Bannerjee, Hindi films

I rarely make a trip to the movie theater these days because the kind of films I prefer are mostly available on select TV channels, CD/DVD &  Youtube, rarely ever in the neighborhood cinemas. Yet there are exceptions when I quite look forward to catching a flick on the wide screen. An extended weekend saw us the whole family heading to watch the movie BYOMKESH BAKSHY @ a local theater. My affinity stemmed primarily because of two names associated with the film – the director Dibakar Bannerjee and one of my favorite writers, Saradindu Bandopadhyay.

The film is set in pre-independence era in the city of Kolkata. The director takes pain to recreate the bygone era. It is commendable to make the streets of Kolkata look convincing, swarming with Trams and Rolls Royce and other vintage cars in keeping with the times. Where the director falters is in the script department – the layered narrative successfully builds up the suspense, yet doesn’t satiate the discerning viewer. Too much of violence and gore mars the proceedings; too many questions remain unanswered.

I guess e very detective is commissioned by someone to solve a mystery for which he generally gets paid handsomely. Yet, in this film Byomkesh played by Sushant Singh Rajput gets entwined into the mystery risking even his life without any lucrative offer as compensation by Ajit (Anand Tiwari), the son of a mysteriously missing chemist who was also his college mate and instrumental in getting Byomkesh to work on the case. In an opening sequence, Bakshi claims to hail from Munger in Bihar and has arrived newly in the city. His fake identity was exposed by Dr. Guha, a central character in the film , which he could make out owing to Bakshy wearing a shoe available only in a specific shop in College Street, Kolkata. As the movie progresses, we find Bakshy enticing two security guard Pehlawans with his Mungeri dialect, and they in return open the lock of the factory door. No attempt was made to clear the doubt regarding the sleuth’s nativity.

My personal favorite stories of Saradindu Bandopadhyay are Chorabali (Quicksand) and Sajarur Katha among others.  The film is supposedly based on the first case of Byomkesh, but his deductive skills shown at the outset would shame a pro. The viewer could have been given inkling on the genesis of brilliance in our sleuth Mr. Bakshy. A full half an hour before the film ends, the culprit is made known to the viewer & the film meanders with a lack of purpose in the denouement.

Saradindu excelled in incorporating unconventional devices into the plot, showing only flashes of his brilliance in this story on which Dibakar has based his film. Sushant Singh Rajput  in the titular role and Swastika Mukherjee as a femme fatale perform credibly. The supporting cast is good too.

Overall, the film proved a disappointment, as expectations soar when the repertoire of the earlier works of the director includes such wonderful humor laced human stories such as KHOSLA KA GHOSLA & OYE LUCKY, LUCKY OYE.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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