Sunday, 19 April 2015

Nanak Shah Fakir :: Movie Review

NANAK SHAH FAKIR is exceptionally intellectual, intelligently compromised so that it does not defy Sikh sentiments, lavishly & impressively captured and spiritually well focused epic saga highly recommended to be seen on big screen. " We are not human beings having spiritual experience. we are spiritual beings having human experience ". This is what hoovers your conscious, sub conscious and super conscious state of mind after viewing this EPIC MOVIE which makes you feel like having a personal audience with Guru ji in-spite of being seated along with co-watchers. When you enter the hall, you are full of Anek Omkaar and by the time you leave, you are full of Ek Omkaar. A journey from Marjana to Mardana. You become a Co-Journeyer. Millions of salutations to the genuine intentions, spiritual efforts and salutation-al courage in giving silver screen shape to Holy Commandments of Guru Nanak Shah Fakir Ji. Bharat, surprisingly has this time and for the first time gifted a Screen to the world for which it is best and well known as Genesis of Divinity and Spirituality. Indian Film Industry, perhaps the largest producers of films in the world, has been cowardly scared to deliver spiritually rich movies. Reasons are many and the intentions are remotely genuine. After this movie, it will grow up hopefully. With billions of restrictions and taboos, it is painstakingly challenging to compose such an Epic giving rooms to many obvious shortcomings for sure. Yet a very certain unconditional appreciation for the acumen with which His Holiness has been projected becomes a must, perhaps which could have not been possible without his blessings. Simple messages are most complicated to live by and much entangled to be delivered too as well. Baba Nanak Ji miraculously lived it with such an ease as if it falls in his comfort zone. Besides, a well traveled man understands life and its purpose with very compassionate way. His learning gets un-fathomed reach and vision sky broad. If a normal person can achieve so much, it is beyond our reach to understand how much a His Holiness would have gathered and delivered. We have heard about one and only unconditional & selfless love between Lord Krishan and Radha ji, but among siblings, perhaps its first instance of its kind. Baba Nanak and Bibi Nanaki are perfect Gods for the festival of Rakhi by all means. Baba Nanak Ji is a messiah of universal equality, humanitarian compassion and religious tolerance and the film very much justifies his these teachings, the very reason that the film was widely appreciated at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2014, at the Sikh Film Festival at Toronto in Oct 2014 and at the Sikhlens Film Festival at Chapman University, California in Nov 2014. It is pity & ironical that his teachings have been failed by those people who have banned this movie in some parts of India.   

Story & Screenplay                                                                                 ::   The story of the movie has been penned down by Prof. Amrit Basra & Bhai Veer Singh Sadan and the screenplay of the movie has been written by Harinder Sikka . They have ably structured the screenplay in such a balanced way that the movie never sounds preachy but instead comes across as an inspiring biopic which is able to hit the right spiritual chords with the audience. It ably depicts the beliefs of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first of Sikh Gurus and his four Uddasis (Spiritual travellings) across India to spread the message of "Ik Omkar" meaning God is one. The movie begins in village Talwandi where one night, Tripta Devi wife of a village inhabitant Kalu Mehta (Anurag Arora) is undergoing labor pains and is about to deliver a baby. While the birth of Baba Nanak Ji's takes place, village landlord Rai Bular ( Adil Hussain) experiences a divine aura in his alpha state of mind. Later on, Rai Bular shares a unspoken, well understood affinity with Baba Nanak Dev Ji so much so that before his final departure he transfers all his property in Baba Nanak's name. When a PanditJi visits Kalu Mehta's house with Nanak's Kundli and listens to Rai Bular saying that he experienced a divine aura last night, he confirms that he was already aware that a divine soul is going to incarnate while drafting horoscope of Bibi Nanaki (Puneet Sikka), elder sibling of Baba Nanak. This itself proves that there was a strong divine connection between brother & sister which became evident that Nanaki used to understand each & every expressed as well as non expressed feelings of Guru Nanak Ji. Right from his childhood Baba Nanak is inclined more towards spirituality which remains a cause of worry for his father for quite a good time. When marriage of Bibi Nanaki gets fixated with a revenue official, Bhai Jai Ram (Manav Kaul), a shehnai player visits their house along with his son. When Tripta Devi inquires about the name of his son from the shehnai player, he says that since all his previous children died after taking birth hence he has named his son Marjana. Baba Nanak Ji who is listening to this conversation rechristen his name as Mardana (Arif Zakaria) i.e. one who will live forever. Mardana develops a strong affinity towards Nanak Ji which can be better explained as total samarapann at first sight and remained his eternal friend, companion and follower. Sensing Baba Nanak's inclination towards spiritualism his worried father arranges for a Government job for him at Sultanpur where Bibi Janaki resides. Soon, Bibi Janaki with the help of her husband arrange and solemnize the marriage of Nanak Ji with Sulakhani. How Nanak Ji got transformed from Nanak to Guru Nanak ? What inspired him to compose his universal aarti at Jagannath Puri temple ? What is the story behind Patther Saheb ? How 200 years old cave Rishis became disciples of his holiness & what is the height of selflessness in the form of Mardana is what forms the rest of the story.   

STARCAST                                                                                             ::           The makers have wisely selected talented ensemble starcast who have ably portrayed their respective characters convincingly, irrespective of their appearance duration. Arif Zakaria along with the technical brilliance of the movie hold the key to the film's efficacy by portraying the character of Mardana with utmost conviction. To his credit, we are not able to locate Arif Zakaria in the movie but only Mardana. Adil Hussain as Rai Bular has given a subtle, mature, true-elderly performance. His dialogue delivery is mesmerizingly thoughtful with a perfect voice modulation. Watch out for him in the scene where he is on his death bed and blessed Nirvana by Nanak Dev ji. Anurag Arora has a done a commendable job while portraying the character of Kalu Mehta. His concerns for his son were genuinely reflected, his worries were so well connected with that of father's regarding stability of his son that we could walk in his shoes. Puneet Sikka as Bibi Nanaki has given an earnest performance. She has been able to portray the other end of spiritual umbilical chord of Guru Nanak Ji effectively. Manav Kaul who got noticed earlier for his performances in "Kai Po Che" & "Citylights" gets to play the character of Bhai Jai Ram who is brother-in-law of Guru Nanak Dev ji. Manav, once again ably manages to make his presence felt in the movie. After a long hiatus, we get to see Tom Alter on-screen in this movie portraying the character of Daulat Khan, the ruler of Sultanpur. It was difficult to recognize him because of the prosthetic make-up Only a dignified & seasoned actor like Tom Alter could give justice to a complicated character of Daulat Khan, who on one hand is sick, tired and looks cruel but on the other hand is just, understanding and well balanced ruler. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                                 ::        The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Uttam Singh is as pristine as it can be. The soulful Shabads that he has composed have been sung by vocal chords of Padma awardees Pandit Jasraj & Bhai Nirmal Singh. The background score that has been composed by eminent Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen & conducted by music maestro A.R.Rahman is spellbinding and provides further impetus to the visuals. Due regard for this must be given to Resul Pookutty who is the sound designer as well as co-producer of the movie. Plenty of the credit for the tonal correctness of the narrative must go to the cinematographer of the movie i.e. A.K.Bir who has captured stunning visuals that look as pious as the theme of the movie. His camera has not only captured the locales of Jagannath Puri, Tibet and the Himalayas with utmost finesse but his usage of color palettes as per the requirement of the shots is praiseworthy. The movie has been edited by Archit Rastogi who has kept the runtime of the movie to 145 minutes. The editing is precise as despite the languid pace of the movie, your yearning for the movie never fades away. Kudos to producer Harinder Singh Sikka for not only being brave enough to make a movie on Baba Nanak ji despite knowing its repercussions but also making it on such a magnanimous scale that every frame of the movie is enriched. The makers have done an outstanding job by keeping a fine balance while helming this tale so that it does not defy Sikh sentiments. It is not an easy job to direct a biopic where you cannot actually show the face of main protagonist but with his finesse & able assistance from technical crew, director has made a cult biopic with a mix of myriad emotions that will invoke a range of sentiments in your heart while watching this movie. There are no exaggerated dramatic flourishes here, no playing to the galleries. Unlike other biopics & period films which have conveniently and lazily restored to antiques, artifacts and vintage songs, Nanak Shah Fakir simply and effortlessly emerges from the character and his milieu. 

CONCLUSION                                                                                              ::     Since God has no religion, Nanak Shah Fakir is also not confined to single path-faith, hence a must watch for all humans who wish to understand the true meaning of love and humanity. Also a must watch for all those who wish to understand how India looked like & suffered during the said tenure.  

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Dharam Sankat Mein :: Movie Review

Dharam Sankat Mein is a honest & specific social face-off which depicts dilemma of a common middle class man going through identity crisis with respect to religion in a thought provoking manner. While the premise of Dharam Sankat Mein is interesting in the way it presents the dilemma of its protagonist who is an atheist & doesn't care much for the religion he belongs to but the frequent oscillation of the narrative between being a satire & preachy,insightful one robs the common middle class man's uncommon story of its charm making it a tepid film. Though, the movie is an official remake of the 2010 satirical comedy "The Infidel" (by Josh Appignanesi) written by David Baddiel but the makers have rechristened the screenplay keeping Indian backdrop in mind. The Infidel is the story of Mahmud (played by Omid Djalili) whose life is turned upside down when he discovers that he is not a British Muslim, but a Jewish by birth. Since the movie talks about religious fanatics & self styled Godmen, comparisons are bound to be there with past films like O.M.G. & P.K which also revolved around the same subject. But, there is a major difference in all these three movies as both the earlier ones were deliberate satires on Godmen and blind faith of people in their respective religious parameters. Where as in this movie there is no deliberate attempt to make mockery of any religion as they drop in obviously due to given circumstances. Another major USP of this film as compared to P.K & O.M.G is that these two movies had portrayed Hindus as most intolerant, violent, superstitious, blind followers, narrow minded religious fanatics but in Dharam Sankat Mein, the director has tried his level best to give justice in keeping right balance between two religions. He has portrayed the shortcomings amongst the blind followers of both Hindusim as well as Islam as on one side there is Hindu Baba Neelanand (Naseeruddin Shah) who is fleecing his followers for his own ulterior motives & on the other side is Imam (Murli Sharma) who is trying his level best to convert Dharam Pal to Islam. The movie begins with ordeals faced by DharamPal (Paresh Rawal), who one fine day discovers that he is a born Muslim who was adopted and brought up by a Hindu family. This comes as a real shocker to him as he is a very liberal common man with an obvious mindset towards Muslims. He even questions the sense of humor played by God on him. Soon, as the reasons behind his adoption get revealed to him along with the fact that his biological father is still very alive and hasn't got remarried because of his affection towards him, he treads on a path to self discovery. Despite having a good storyline & some powerful actors, Director Fuwad Khan has not been able to capitalize on them as the movie has got several loopholes in it. To quote a couple of examples ; the movie through one of its principal characters states that Muslims in this country are a harried lot being in minority which seems illogical as Muslims in this country are leading a healthy, respectable life & especially the film fraternity to which Fuwad Khan belongs is full of prominent people belonging to this community. This perception voiced in the movie is not based on concrete grounds. Secondly, when a Hindu religious preacher is called to teach some rituals to Dharam Pal, he is shown teaching him "Shiv Tandava" which is totally irrelevant as it is not a part of the prayers. While Dharam Sankat Mein makes a solid case against blind faith, the excesses of religious rituals, it never sticks its neck out far enough as if afraid to be too provocative. If only the film had the nerve to go the whole hog with its healthy spirit of scepticism and fired on all cylinders, its unusual central premise would have made infinitely more sense and found its intended mark.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                           ::                        While the credit for the story has been given to David Baddiel (The Infidel), the screenplay of the movie has been written by Sanjay Sharma, Alpesh Dixit, Vijay Desai & Vedish Jhaweri. One of the drawbacks of this film is its patchy screenplay that aimlessly oscillates from one issue to another without addressing anyone with the required clarity. As a result of this, Dharam Sankat Mein ends up on a dull note conveying the age old preaching about message of humanity & that self styled Godmen are all fraudulent people who work for their own vested interests. Though, the movie begins on a promising note by setting a tone of being a cinematic critique of prejudices that are prevalent in Indian society but soon looses its steam by amalgamating drama & satire which fails to bind the movie as a coherent whole. Due to this, even the satire fails to leave that inducing effect. The way screenplay has been penned, the drama appears quite far-fetched and unbelievable at places, robbing the film of the plausible element. Had the entire film been comical and satirical rather than philosophical in parts, it would have been far more entertaining and universal in appeal. The film begins with the movie's protagonist Dharam Pal (Paresh Rawal) trying to cover his ears as he is getting irritated from the sound of morning "Azaan" coming from a nearby mosque. He is a well settled caterer in Ahmadabad who is leading a happily married life with caring wife and two doting children that include a son and daughter and his biggest passion is to listen to songs of a singer by the name of Manchala (Gippy Grewal). His son, Amit falls in love with a girl whose father is a staunch Hindu and devotee of Baba Neelanand (Naseeruddin Shah) & wants Dharam Pal to visit the ashram of Baba as well as learn finer nuances of Hinduism to impress the girl's father. While going to the ashram, Dharam Pal's car accidentally rubs across with the car of his neighbor Nawab Mahmood Nazeem Ali Shah Khan Bahadur (Annu Kapoor) who is a lawyer by profession and sends a legal notice for the same to Dharam Pal. This infuriates Dharam Pal who is already at logger heads with him due to their religious differences and they have a verbal spat. The twist in the story comes when Dharam Pal's wife asks him to to go & open the locker of his dead mother. On opening the locker, his life is turned upside down when he finds an old affidavit which states that he is a muslim by birth and was actually adopted by his Hindu parents. He is taken aback and hides this fact from his family fearing disgrace from the society he lives in. To know the identity of his biological parents, he approaches Nawab Mahmood with a plea to trace his parents who soon comes to know that Dharam Pal's mother is dead and ailing father is living in a Muslim sanctorum. Upon reaching the sanctorum, he is not allowed to meet his father by the Imam (Murli Sharma) who wants Dharam Pal to learn all the rituals of a devout Muslim. Until he becomes a devout Muslim, he will not be allowed to meet his father.  He finds his savior in Nawab Mahmood who begins to teach him mannerisms and rituals of a Muslim. On the other hand, his son, Amit calls a Hindu preacher at home to teach Dharam Pal finer rituals of a devout Hindu. Dharam Pal is caught in a fix ; learning the finer rituals and mannerisms of both the religions, simultaneously. Now, Amit wants his father to impress Baba Neelanand to win over father of his ladylove and in the process of doing so Dharam Pal ends up burning Muslim skull cap which attracts backlash of Muslims. To save his skin, Dharam Pal reveals in front of everyone that he is a Muslim by birth following which his family abandons him. Left all alone, he stumbles upon a startling truth about Baba Neelanand. Will Dharam Pal be able to meet his biological father, will his family come back to him, will he able to expose Baba Neelanand & will he able to get his son marry the girl he loves, is what forms the rest of the story.

STARCAST                                                                                                        ::       Kudos to Vinod Rawat (Casting director) for casting 3 National award winners i.e. Paresh Rawal, Nasseruddin Shah & Annu Kapoor for this movie but alias! he failed to assemble talented ensemble starcast to back them up. Paresh Rawal is acknowledged as a supremely accomplished and consummate actor of our times. The veteran actor is so talented that he can carry any film on his own shoulders and execute any kind of challenging character with candor. But, in this film Paresh Rawal looks like an under utilized actor. One reason can be that his character in this movie is quite similar to Kanjibhai from Oh My God, that there was nothing much left for him to bring anything new or fresh to the character of Dharam Pal. Still, there are few scenes where he is able to come out of the shadow of Kanjibhai and leaves a lasting impression. Watch out for him in the scene where he goes to Muslim function by putting on a fake beard with Annu Kapoor and wins over everyone present in the function by the virtue of his presence of mind. His act in that scene is stellar as well as effortless. Naseeruddin Shah as Baba Neelanand is simply a treat to watch. He has ably captured and enacted the finer nuances of his character that include being flashy, over the top and loud. His entry scene on a modified mobike, wearing flashy clothes and donning goggles are reminiscent of another present day Baba who also made a film recently in which he himself played the role of protagonist. Whenever Naseer appears on-screen, he leaves a smile on your face with his loud act. But, as per me the best performance of the movie has been delivered by Annu Kapoor who endears you with his class act as Nawab Mahmood Nazeem Ali Shah Khan Bahadur. Be it his verbal banters with Paresh, emotional bonding with him, teaching Muslim mannerisms to Paresh or his defending Paresh in courtroom ; he has come out equally good in all of them. Suffice to say, his sequences with Paresh Rawal contribute enormously to the delightful moments. Murli Sharma is another fine actor who always manages to leave his mark even by playing small cameos like he did in "Badlapur". In this movie, he has portrayed the role of Imam with utmost conviction. His face expressions and firm body language lend a certain aura of authenticity to the character he portrays in this film. Another actor who deserves a special mention is Mukesh Bhatt who has enacted the role of Hindu Priest. With his comic timing, he brings chuckles on your faces. Alka Kaushal has given an apt performance as wife of Paresh Rawal. Punjabi singer & actor Gippy Grewal makes his Bollywood debut with this movie, though his performance is restricted to singing songs only. The ensemble starcast includes Auritra Ghosh, Rushita Pandya, Sharat Sonu, Suresh Venkataraman, Jagdish Rajpurohit & Jahangir Karkaria. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                           ::       The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Meet Bros Anjjan, Sachin Gupta, Jatinder Shah & D J Kiran is on a very average scale with couple of good numbers. "Allah hoo" sung by Sachin Gupta & Ravi Chowdhary is a retrospective number with some fine lyrics from Kumaar and is pick of the album. "Tu Takke" sung by Gippy Grewal, Meet Bros Anjjan & Khushboo Grewal is another foot tapping number from the album. The background music of the film that has been composed by Sachin Gupta is apt enough as per the genre of the movie. The cinematographer of the movie is Anshuman Mahaley who has not done a fine job behind the lens. His camerawork is uneven and you can gauge the paucity of light in several visuals of the movie. He had a brilliant opportunity to capture the outdoor locales of Ahmadabad as the whole movie has been shot there but he has hardly captured any of those. His uneven camerawork comes out all the more surprising as the movie has been directed by Fuwad Khan, who himself is an ace cinematographer. So as an audience, I had preconceived notion that quality of visuals in this movie would be excellent which turned out to be otherwise. But, I would like to applaud Alpesh Dixit, Sanjay Sharma & Vijay Desai ( Dialogue writers) of this movie who have penned down some real good one liners in the movie. Their well conjured dialogues add up spice to the narrative and never dry out till the end. To quote a few ; Dharam koi bhi ho, topi sab pehnate hain. When Annu Kappor enters the courtroom pronouncing his name "Nawab Mahmood Nazeem Ali Shah Khan Bahadur" as the defense lawyer, judge asks where are the other lawyers to which Annu promptly replies " Kai baar to mera naam parrne mein hi case ki agli date dall jaati hai ". The movie has been edited by Apurva Asrani who has kept the runtime of the movie to 129 minutes which seems a tad too long for movie of this genre. The editing is tacky & some of the scenes could have been shortened or done away with on the editing table. Cinematographer turned director Fuwad Khan chose an ambitious, sensitive subject while helming his debut movie but his inexperience is perceptible across the canvas. His biggest flaw is that he fails to draw a trajectory with respect to what he wants to portray ; emotional drama or a well meaning satire. As a result, what we get is a convoluted movie which keeps on oscillating aimlessly in different directions with the pace lagging & humor falling flat several times. Fuwad chose a very good subject but was not able to execute the same in a flawless manner.

CONCLUSION                                                                                            ::     Dharam Sankat Mein is frequently weighed down by verbose and preachy passages that overstay their welcome. The film's premise is courageous no doubt, but its heart and sinews are rather weak. It seems to chicken out a tad too easily in the end. So, despite the high fun quotient inherent in the concept and the steady flow of droll one-liners from the principal players, the movie never rises to particularly great heights either as an entertainer or a social message-oriented drama.  

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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy :: Movie Review

                                       Image result for 4 stars out of 5
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy helmed by Dibakar Banerjee is an uncompromising, classic whodunit thriller which starts as a murder mystery but catapults with each subsequent scene, cooking up the suspense gradually with the best saved for the last. The best part about the movie is that its screenplay has been layered with different characters being introduced at several junctures which not only keeps the audience engaged but also keeps them guessing till the climax unfolds. What begins as a simple case for Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (Sushant Singh Rajput) to locate the missing father of Ajit Banerjee (Anand Tiwari) soon takes a dangerous recourse with enough twists & turns, inducing obvious horror that it might out turn out to be his last one. Soon, several sub plots are unraveled centered around World War 2 that include drug lords fighting for supremacy in Kolkata, refugees flowing in from Shanghai-Burma route, nationalists fighting for freedom and the city is under threat of a Japanese attack. All these plots are intertwined and it is left for Bakshy to join the dots, unravel the mystery and save the city from impending threat of Japanese attack. The concept behind a jigsaw puzzle is most fascinating. Its three step model involves drawing an intricate picture laden with buried details and fine clues, cutting it into several unrecognizable segments and assembling a jumble that carries a seemingly simple challenge - to fall in place, to make sense. Suspense thrillers are just the same. But very few times films belonging to this genre are able to fit the right piece in the right place. And that's what makes Dibakar Banerjee's accomplishment in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy worth all the applause that comes its way. He builds anticipation and tension without relying too much on the age-old ploy of red herrings or an overwhelming background score. It's as though he wants his viewer to follow the cues, solve the quandary on a personal level and entertain every conceivable theory/ wild suggestion that pops in the head. Gratifying, if you nail it and astounding even when you don't. Either way his refreshing approach is appreciative of his viewer's intellect and enthusiasm. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is a captivating recount from its commencement to its conclusion. Dibakar has fashioned enough scenes around the plot that keep the viewer on the edge of the seat. Besides, fragments of tongue in cheek humor pop up when you least anticipate to liven up the solemn plot. Yet, the storyteller never deviates from the fundamental somber premise. The movie triumphs in invoking emotions. You experience compassion, resentment, triumph and defenselessness at a variety of stages. A wonderful movie-going experience, you come out feeling a sense of pleasure and fulfillment after watching Detective Byomkesh Bakshy. Not only the suspense in Dibakar's Byomkesh is nail biting but his eye for detailing also succeeds in getting Kolkata of 1940's to perform at its peak and look like it's on a wire between vintage and dilapidated. Every shot which Dibakar has shot has been captured with such intricate detailing that it brings pre independent Kolkata to life. The overall attitude of the city and the city's voice is consistent in the story and the characters too. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                             ::       The story as well as screenplay has been penned down by Dibakar Banerjee along with Urmi Juvekar. It's no mean task, penning a script that holds your attention while its intention is to throw you off the mark. To the credit of writers - Dibakar & Urmi - no strand remains untied. Taut and refreshing, the script of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy keeps you on your toes with its tendency to throw surprises and twists at every turn. As is integral to all good stories, writers sketch out solid characters with most of them wearing a mask of falsehood and pretending to be, what they are not. The movie is set in 1940's when World war 2 was its peak and the threat of oncoming Japanese bomber-jets was looming large over Kolkata. The movie begins with a boat landing on coast of Kolkata in 1942 with few Asian people in it and one of them saying that it takes time to load 500 kg of opium. A hooded figure emerges from darkness who guffaws terrifyingly and warns the Chinese that it wants Kolkata back. A man's eyeballs are popped out and throats of others slit. This dark scene captured brilliantly sets the tempo for the rest of the movie. Cut next, Byomkesh Bakshy (Sushant Singh Rajput) who is sitting in a sports room is approached by Ajit Banerjee (Anand Tiwari) who wants Bakshy to solve the case of his father, Bhuvan, who is missing since last couple of months. Bakshy refuses to accept the case and bluntly tells him that his father might be no more leading an upset Ajit slap Bakshy in front of everyone. Later, Byomkesh takes on Ajit's missing father case maybe because he wants to prove to him that his intuition about his father being no more is true. Bakshy questions Ajit about intimate details of his father and comes to know he was a genius bio-chemist who was living separately in a lodging house. To find clues about the case, Bakshy moves to the same lodge posing as a tenant which is run by Dr. Anukul Guha (Neeraj Kabi) where several other tenants live including Kanai Dao (Meiyang Chang) who is an opium dealer. He starts gathering evidence and soon meets (or is made to meet) Angoori Devi (Swastika Mukherjee) who soon warms upto him. In her purse, Bakshy finds some letters which lead him to a closed factory of a local politician where he finds corpse of Bhuvan. And then starts his journey to find the killers of Bhuvan. Hereafter, the story takes an intriguing turn when his investigation takes a dangerous turn on finding that a local politician, a Japanese dentist and Chinese drug cartel are all a part of some big conspiracy. As the case progresses, several new characters are introduced, who in turn, lead to various twists and turns. Throats are slashed, blood spurts, sirens wail - and in the middle of all this is Byomkesh, trying to piece together a gory jigsaw puzzle. Soon, following the clues Byomkesh Bakshy catches hold of a mysterious map. Does Byomkesh becomes successful in finding the culprits behind Bhuvan's as well as series of other murders, Will he be able to solve the mystery of the map is what forms the rest of the story.           

STARCAST                                                                                            :: Sushant Singh Rajput who has already established himself as a romantic hero and made quite a hearts go aflutter with his boy next door image by displaying his charming persona through his past flicks like Kai Po Che, Shudh Desi Romance & P.K. gets to display his acting mettle by playing Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. He has left no stone unturned to delve deep into the skin of the character and live upto the expectations of Dibakar who showed a lot of confidence in him by giving him a chance to play the main lead in this film. Expectedly, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi unspools as a one-man narrative, and Sushant proves that he can carry a film on his own, even with no other recognizable star. He is alternatively firm, fierce, vulnerable, playful and charming that you're sometimes unsettled by these shifting emotions. What he does do is lend undeniable credence to his role and this thriller, making you walk every step with him in this journey. Anand Tiwari (Go Goa Gone) fame gets every sensitive nuance of his role spot-on, as Bakshy's companion who assists him along the way and endears himself completely to the viewer. We can say that if Byomkesh Bakshy is Sherlock Holmes, than Anand Tiwari is Watson. Swastika Mukherjee looks stunning as the femme fatale and has portrayed her character of Angoori Devi with utmost conviction. Swastika amazingly transforms herself into physical & mental aura as a carved marble dice of the Shakuni minded antagonist who kisses the dice when he is winning & breaks it, otherwise. Kudos to Swastika for capturing the finer nuances of her character in her first big budget outing. Divya Menon manages to impress as niece of the politician during her brief stint on-screen. Meiyang Chang has played his character to pitch perfection during his extended cameo in the movie. But, the icing on the cake is the performance of Neeraj Kabi as Byomkesh's landlord, Anukul Guha. His character has several layers attached to it which keep on unraveling with due passage of time and it speaks volumes about his acting finesse, the way he enacts his character. Watch out for him in the scene where he laughs like a maniac but without going overboard. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                           ::     As per the trend these days, the musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by a battery of composers that include Sneha Khanwalkar, Dibakar Banerjee, Madboy/Mink, Blek, Mode AKA, Joint Family, IJA & Peter Cat Recording Co. - PCRC. befits the tagline of the movie i.e. expect the unexpected as it is unconventional. The soundtrack is not run of the mill stuff and the genre of most of the tracks is Western Indie music. The cinematographer of the movie is Nikos Andritsakis who has done an outstanding job of capturing visuals. Kolkata's architecture, even in the rundown bits, lends a wonderful edge to Nikos's visual commentary. Dark, lingering, soulful and enigmatic - Kolkata is multiple people in city's body. This varied, pulsating and intriguing temperament is what is documented in well captured frames without distracting itself from the story or its telling. A special mention of Vandana Kataria (Production designer) & Manish Malhotra, Manoshi Nath, Rushi Sharma (Costume designers) who with their brilliant contribution in their respective fields have been able to recreate the Calcutta of 1940's. The movie has been edited by Manas Mittal & Namrata Rao who have packaged the whole action in run-time of 150 minutes. Some people might have a problem with the languid pace of the movie but this is how good thrillers are meant to be ; cooking up the suspense slowly & gradually. As a director, Dibakar Banerjee, with the skills of a master storyteller, amalgamates a missing person story in a thriller format. Without doubt, Dibakar gives it his best shot with gleaming sincerity. Positioned alongside an intimidating environment of Kolkata's tapered side streets and constricted alleyways, the setting is ahead of credence in its realism. Dibakar has ably captured the falling phase of Kolkata which used to be center of power being capital of India till 1912.

CONCLUSION                                                                                    ::       Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is a 150 minutes epical noir with its unescapable gritty tone. The suspense remains consistently tight, and the story well-executed. The film delivers on its promise, and keeps you guessing until the end. It's a well made thriller especially for those who like slowly cooked up suspense films moving at a languid pace. I am giving it 4 stars out of 5.

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