Posted in Bollywood, Cinemascope

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! – From Saradindu Bandhyopadhyay’s Bakshi to Dibakar Banerjee’s Bakshy!

If you have known Saradindu Bandhopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi, I am sure you will be eager to see how Dibakar Banerjee’s Byomkesh Bakshy, with a sharp ‘Y’, fares. But don’t sweat it if you haven’t. Our ‘Bhadralok’ sleuth will not disappoint you. So, as a Cumberbatch fan, I went to the cinema hall with very measured expectations. I did not read too many reviews, avoid spoilers like the plague and was not over thinking it all. And I can assure you that, though I did not leave the hall swooning over the movie, I was more than pleased with our Bakshibabu. The film opens with beautifully captured Kolkata (or Calcutta, if you prefer it that way) of 1940s, complete with clanging trams, narrow bylanes, serene Hooghly and lots of dhoti-clad Bengalis. Brilliant work by Nikos Andritsakis in the cinematography department. The tension of the ongoing world war and the drug mafia situation have also been aptly depicted. In comes Sushant Singh Rajput as our flowery dhoti-clad Byomkesh, exuding the right amount of cockiness, recklessness, arrogance and brilliance. I could not help but like him when he says ‘Is Duniya mein aise hi kuch bhi nahi hota’. He is definitely likable, and does good justice to the brilliant Sherlock Holmes-inspired character much liked by Indians. After Kai Po Che and Shuddh Desi Romance, he is turning out to be one of those actors whose presence in a trailer makes me curious and interested in a film. I know I am forgetting PK, but then… *yawns* The core structure of the movie is the old whodunit style plot which is sufficiently exciting till probably intermission, or until the last 35 minutes or so of the movie. A simpleton Ajit (played very well by Anand Tiwari) engages the foot-loose, just out of college, jilted lover Byomkesh to investigates the whereabouts of his father Bhuvan Banerjee. The story builds well and I was so busy trying to see how well Sushant fits into the mold of a detective that I was a bit distracted from the fact that how predictable the movie was turning. This one is complete with everything – the red herring, a mystery antagonist on the run, the chase and some innocent bits thrown in here and there to make you doubt your own instincts. But do not think too hard about the story. Go with your gut feeling and you would not miss out much on the plot. Instead, I was busy with characters of Ajit, the Dr. Watson to Bandhopadhyay’s Bakshi and Dr. Anukul Guha, the physician and the lodge owner. Without letting out any spoilers, Neeraj Kabi as Dr. Guha is good, very good infact. Very different from his stint as Maitreya, the monk in the Ship of Theseus, Dr. Guha has many different layers to his characters and Dibakar has done a decent of peeling them off as and when required. The supporting cast is okay and I was frankly a bit disappointed with both the character and portrayal of seductress actress Anguri Devi, especially with Dibakar comparing it to Mata Hari. The Chinese, Burmese and Japanese mafia wars are a bit boring and I felt the film was a stretched a little bit too much around climax. But all in all, I was happy with movie. Sit back, enjoy the refreshingly different background score (Sneha Khanwalkar has done an excellent job!) and don’t strain your brain cells too much! That my dear, is the secret to enjoying our clever Bakshibabu on celluloid!

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