CAST & CREW
Films made on the criminal-political nexus have been made in Bollywood over so many years now – and has now got refined over the years with the entry of people like Prakash Jha. On a superficial level “ Bandook” would appear to be from a similar genre, but the moment the surface is scratched, it would appear that it has much more depth and insight that has gone into the plot and the making of the film. This is what sets it apart from other films made on the theme of politics and crime.
Plot: “Bandook” is the stark tale of Bhola Kevat ( Aditya Om) who comes from a socially and financially humble background, leading a blatantly wretched life in the dark interiors of Uttar Pradesh. Periodic harassment punctuates his life of misery by all around him who wield greater power than him – ranging from cops to petty officials and the more prosperous in the villages. The exploitation is not just physical but also psychological, social and even verging on the sexual. All these continue till he is once rescued from his travails by Lochan, portrayed by Arshad Khan. Lochan too had humble beginnings but now is a politician's private sharp shooter, and by dint of his position is feared by all around. Although hesitant and unsure in the beginning, Bhola ultimately gets convinced by Lochan that in order to be counted by others, he needs to know how to use a gun. Along with Lochan, Bhola also soon comes to be known as the more dreaded sharpshooters in the internecine gang wars that rage incessantly in rural UP. The film then takes off from the superficial - which is purely the stark link between guns and politics and then delves into the mind of the individual. In this case, it is Bhola the simpleton turned professional killer, and how it changes his life, his values and everything he possessed earlier have radically changed.
Review: In most parts, the film does not try to glamorise or glorify the character of Bhola. He is portrayed for what he is and what he becomes ultimately. There is no attempt to add Robin Hood touches or glorify his powers as a near superman. He is shown doing his killing assignments in a most matter of fact and unpretentious manner. Even a bit of romance injected into the film is deglamorized.
Star Performances: Aditya Om is himself the director, story writer and lead actor all rolled into one, and has, therefore, had the full opportunity to mould the film the way he wanted to. His performance in the lead role is exceptional and fits exactly the character he had etched out, to the last detail. Perhaps it is not coincidental that Aditya hails originally from Sultanpur in UP, although he has actually matured as an actor through his long acting career in Telugu films. Not for nothing, therefore, he comes out as a seasoned campaigner in this strikingly different film. Even the supporting cast consisting of Arshad Khan and Manisha Kelkar is brilliant in their roles and has added admirably to the overall underplayed stark ambience of the movie.
Verdict: It is a must see films for all who are looking at cinematic values and enjoy watching movies on subjects that have been treated differently. Aditya Om is indeed a revelation as a filmmaker.
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