Movie Review: Banjo

Banjo:  Music which could have been Better


Banjo Movie Review

Ravi Jadhav after his successful stint in Marathi films with Natrang, Balgandharva, Balak Palak, Timepass & Timepass 2, debuts in Bollywood with “Banjo”. Such a high profile director the expectations of “Banjo” automatically go sky high….

“Banjo” tells the story of 4 guys from the slum Tarrat (Ritesh Deshmukh), who works for the local politican as an extortionist, but his heart  is in playing the Banjo, Grease (Dharmesh) a local mechanic but his heart is in playing the drum, Paper a local newspaper wala who plays the Dhol and the other guy who plays the tasha, they have a small band and they play in local Ganpati, Navratri or marriage party, till they are discovered by Luke (Luke Kenny) who records one of their performance and send it to his friend Chris (Nargis Fakhri) in New York. She gets so impressed with the music that she decides to come to Mumbai and search for the group and record two singles for a international Contest…Is Chris able to find the group and whether her dream gets fulfilled is what the movie is all about…

Written by Ravi Jadhav himself along with Kapil Sawant & Nikhil Mehrotra, the story and screenplay is an amalgamation of too many sub plots which has no bearing with the main story, and that is the problem as the movie takes the entire first half to set up the story and the second half drags on unnecessary melodrama. The intrinsic problem with the writing is that it is flat throughout and it never peaks neither in pace nor in emotional quotient. The sub plots hamper the pace and the weak characterization and low EQ makes the movie too boring. The characters other than the principal 4 characters which are still well written, rest are too flat without any depth. Sometimes you feel that the comedy has been an afterthought. The dialogues do not help as well, other than the tapori lingo other dialogues sound too banal. Where the writing scores is capturing the struggle and tribulation of the slum dwellers with humour…

Ritesh Deshmukh time and again has tried to prove that he is just not an actor who is good at comedy but as a serious actor he has potential, what with Naach, Ek Villain and Lai Bhaari previously; in “Banjo” he tries again and comes out in flying colours with his sincere performance of Tarrat. Dharmesh Yelande as Grease again proves that he is not only a good dancer but a good actor as well, but somewhere he is getting type cast in a tapori character. Other two actors who played Paper and the Tasha player, unfortunately nothing has been written about them, but they also do a good job. Nargis Fakhri as usual adds the glamour quotient but surprisingly she shows some acting chops in playing the character Chris, but I feel still she needs to go along way. Luke Kenny as the firang music arranger does a good job, good to see him after a long hiatus, we saw him last in “Rock On”. Mohan Kapoor as the club owner Nair does what he does well, mouthing hindi in English accent and somehow his swagger suits the role for a change.

“Banjo” which is based on music, hence we expected some good music what with Vishal Shekhar at the helm, but sadly other than 2 songs “Bappa” and the breezy “Udan Choo” other songs are more of cacophony, even the lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya is average.

Manoj Lobo’s camera work is the most impressive; the contrast of the slum vis-a-vis the high rise buildings is very well captured…

As I mentioned earlier “Banjo” being Raj Jadhav’s debut in Bollywood my expectations were high, but he disappoints, and that to in a department which has been his strength in his previous movies, the wrting. Story & Screenplay falls flat from the word go. Though I must mention that Raj captures the spirit of slum very well and quite realistically but in the bargain fails to tell an impactful story. But I have not lost hope and will await Raj Jadhav’s next Bollywood offering..

“Banjo” had a brilliant idea but somewhere the execution on paper as well as on the Big screen lacked the punch…I will go with Two and a Half stars….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)


Movie Review : Bangistan

Bangistan: Too Lukewarm for a Bang

Sometimes our film makers think that just having a different idea is enough to make a movie, but they forget that there is always a beginning, middle and a climax to a movie and all the three need to gel well to create the required impact. It is more difficult if it is satire.

The issue with the Film Critic turned film maker Karan Anshuman’s debut venture is that the idea was good on Bangistan Reviwpaper but unfortunately the execution was far from being good.

“Bangistan” takes forward the question asked in “PK” whether religion and sect is really essential for survival or is it just a business of various religious leaders, but in the form of a satire. The story unfolds in an imaginary town “Bangistan”, where Hindus live in the south of “Bangistan” and Muslim towards the north, and their tolerance is limited and every now and then there are communal riots. In this whole mayhem two naïve and relatively unknown youth Hafeez Bin Ali (Ritesh Deshmukh) a call center executive and Praveen Chaturvedi (Pulkit Samrat) a struggling actor become pawn and are brain washed by their respective religious leaders Guruji and Abba (Kumud Mishra in a double role) and are convinced to become suicide bombers and sent to Polland to bomb a World Religious meet. The rest of the movie captures their adventure in Polland…

The story & screenplay written by Punnet Krishna, Sumit Purohit & Karan Anshuman himself is a satire and starts off well when Bangistan is introduced with a lot of tougue and cheek moments from the Bangistan Call Center to the Fc Donald’s outlet. It gives an impression that the movie is going to be different but the screenplay just falls flat once the action shifts to Polland introducing unnecessary characters which make no sense to the overall story. The second half is a disaster with an extremely lukewarm climax which becomes too preachy. . The characters are written without any depth. Overall the idea was good but the execution on paper just does not match the idea, and what we get a half baked movie.

The two actors Ritesh Deshmukh & Pulkit Samrat try to salvage with their performance but the weak writing pull down their earnest effort. Ritesh as a staunch Muslim Hafeez Bin Ali, who disguises as Ishwar Chandra, makes an earnest effort and it shows in his performance which does justice to the character. Pulkit Samrat as Praveen Chaturvedi a staunch Hindu who disguises as a Muslim, brings the required energy to the proceedings and gives an honest performance. Kumud Mishra in a double role of Guruji and Abba is one of the best performances of the movie, he yet again proves his mettle as an actor, who is underutilized. Jacqueline Fernandes as Rosy is wasted and you wonder what was she doing in the movie other than for a single song. Chandan Roy Sanyal as Tamim is again wasted due to weak writing. Arya Babbar as terrorist Zulfi tries to be funny but fails miserably. Other than the performances of Ritesh Deshmukh, Pulkit Samrat and Kumud Mishra, rest of the cast fail to create any impression.

Cinematography by Szymon Lenkowski captures the moments well and both in Polland & India. Production design by Amit Ray tries to create the quirkiness of the story through his designs and does well. Editing by Shweta Venkat is very average….

Music by Ram Sampath is extremely forgettable excluding a single song “Hogi Kranti”.

Karan Anshuman’s motive and idea of making the satire was commendable, but the execution was extremely average creating no impact whatsoever….

I will go with Two & a Half Stars…

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)