Byomkesh Bakshi : Worth getting tangled in this beautifully crafted web
I am not very fond of Dibakar Banerjee. Though I very much liked his “Khosla Ka Ghosla” and some what liked “LSD: Love, Sex aur Dhoka”, I find his “Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!” and “Shanghai”, a little overrated. But we must give the credit to the man for being different and always trying something new with his each films. His latest offering “Byomkesh Bakshi” is one of the most awaited movies this year. It created ripples from the first look, teasers and trailers. The initial box office collection looks good too.
I love detective, suspense movies. It is a content which always keeps you hooked if done well. Apart from that “Byomkesh” is a popular literary character we have seen on Television so nostalgic connection is there too. So was excited to see this movie.
Story by Saradindu Bandopaddhyay is about Byomkesh (Sushant Singh Rajput) getting sucked into a maze of conspiracies and lies and how he cracks the code using his common sense and brilliant observations and genius analysis. Ajit Banerjee (Anand Tiwari) appoints Byomkesh as detective on the case to find out his missing father. Byomkesh cracks the case but finds that his analysis was wrong and then it gets entangled into the web which was spread for him. While going through that maze, he finds out a big conspiracy which can harm Calcutta. How he saves Calcutta from that disaster is the story.
Writing real good suspense story and screenplay for it is really complex job. Saradindu gave a good story to Urmi Juvekar and Dibakar Banerjee and the duo skilfully developed a convincing screenplay. There is a chaotic feel always in everything be it screenplay or other aspects of the film and I think that’s just synonymous with Calcutta.The build up is very good and audience really can not guess the plot till end but the revelation of the suspense is a bit let down as it lacks any excitement.
I think Dibakar Banerjee is influenced by many Chinese movies and the movie does have a treatment akin to the ones we see in International English movies from China. Dibakar’s narration is very immerse and audience’s eyes are glued to the screen throughout the film. A girl besides me in the theater had her palm on her cheeks and eyes enlarged in the anticipation of what’s next. Others were appreciating the intermittent acts of deducing appropriately.
Credit must go to Dibakar for his hard work on the detailing of each aspect of the movie, be it every visual frame, sound or characters. This is by far the most audio-visually immersive Bollywood film I have seen. I was so busy in watching and wondering in awe every frame, sound elements that I feel I need to watch the movie again for other aspects of the movie. I think that is the success of the movie if it makes you watch it for the second time.
The film as has noir and slow kind of treatment, it grows on you, it builds up slowly. It is around 135 min and editors Manas Mittal and Namrata Rao did a great job in managing the different pieces of puzzle without getting them revealed to us. However, after the excellent build up the pre-climax, climax and the final scene is a bit let down. And some may find this kind of treatment little slow.
Casting Director Honey Trehan has assembled many good (and unknown) actors for each role and Dibakar did a great job extracting the best performances from his character. Sushant Singh Rajput has infused his personality into the character and made him look real, vulnerable and lovable. He brought out the nervous energy and inquisitiveness in the character perfectly. Anand Tiwari as his accompany does stand out. Divya Menon as Satyawati portrays the strong woman character to the tee. Don’t know why was the need there for Byomkesh to propose her at the end (may be I need to watch movie 2nd time for that if I had missed something). The surprise package of the movie is Neeraj Kabi who plays Dr. Anukul Guha. He excelled in this role and I think industry discovered a great actor in him. Again there was no need for the last scene about him which just seems to be added for an impact-full end. Swastika Mukherjee is ok in her glamorous role. Meiyang Chang as Kanai Dao gets a very small role but does justice to it. Overall, very good performances by the whole cast.
The last part where we review the technicality is sometimes just a few mention. But in Byomkesh, these departments really stand out and play a CHARACTER in the movie. Production Design by Vandana Kataria is worth every award this year. This is relatively a low budget movie but we do not see that affect the exquisite detailing in the production design. Second equally good work is in the Sound Design and so is by Sneha Khanwalkar in Background Music. And not to forget the brilliant cinematography by Nikos Andritsakis. All these 4 elements equally stand out and elevate the experience. So artistically and technically, Byomkesh Bakshi is a COMPLETE CINEMA.
Finally, all I can say is Byomkesh Bakshi is a brilliant work of impeccable craftsmanship which must be seen and applauded. Many will find this or the other fault in the movie, but it must be watched for the immersive cinematic atmosphere it creates in the dark theater. And it is a clean film (barring few violent scenes) which can be seen with complete family and friends.
Recommendation: GO, WATCH IT!