CAST & CREW
Sharadibdu Bandyopadhyay famous Bengali sleuth is a cult figure in Indian literature and its TV adaption by Ranjit Kapoor has set a benchmark for any further adaptations of the adventures of the prominent literary figure, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. Director Dibakar Banerjee picks up a project around this character and, therefore, takes this challenge of making a film that lives up to this legendary character. And boy, does he do that. He carves out an edge of the seat thriller painted on his canvas of boundless imagination. He takes the enigma around the popular Bengali sleuth a notch higher.
PLOT The movie is set in a war torn Calcutta of the early 1940s, where the Chinese and Japanese smugglers were trying to reach and usurp this city from the Britishers. Thus they desire to take up the Indian and Burmese markets. In this situation of high tension and chaos, the local people are tired and in an array of confusion. We are introduced to a Chinese drug gang and its rival, who is presumed to be dead but makes an appearance and robs the drug consignment of the gang in Calcutta. Amidst this, we have Byomkesh Bakshy ( Sushant Singh Rajput), a socially-awkward youngster interested in solving mysteries, readying himself for a meaningful life in the future. It is at the juncture that he meets Ajit Bandyopadhyay ( Anand Tiwari) whose father is missing for past two months. He asks Byomkesh to help him find his father. For Bakshy, it is clear that a person missing for so many days is dead. But to prove his theory, he takes up this case, and thus the case becomes Byomkesh’s first case. The investigation that should be easy as per Byomkesh leads into a more complicated mystery. It proves more dangerous when it leads to a bigger game involving a local politician, his mistress, Japanese dentist, Chinese drug dealers and its rival are all its players. Throats are slashed, blood spurts, siren wails- and amidst this affair of murders, international politics intrigue, and seduction, Byomkesh has to piece together a gory jigsaw puzzle and use his wits to the most villainous and clever arch criminal the world has ever seen.
REVIEW Right from the title of the movie, which ends with a ‘y’ and a ‘!’ Instead of an ‘i’, the director makes this movie his own despite the characters taken from Sharadindu’s novels. There is difference aplenty between this Byomkesh and his literary counterpart, the former not having the razor sharp intelligence of the latter. He takes his own time to observe and get to conclusions that seem fairly obvious. The right mixture of history and fiction, the elegant violence and the tributes to noir in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy reveals that it is Banerjee's creation. History and noir cinema are always an exciting venture, and this is no different. Cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis has done a brilliant job in capturing the beautiful Calcutta of the 1920s, which can also be attributed as one of the leads of the movie. The art direction and the depiction of Calcutta of that era are phenomenal. Every tiny detail in that prospect is properly attended to and so the background details in a scene, from posters to banners to the Trams, gives us the information about the amount of effort and perfect put in the pre-production of the movie. A gorgeous mix of fantasy and reality, Banerjee's Calcutta is as beautiful and delicate as a watercolour painting, but with shades of noir. Opium and crime lace the wintry air with shadows haunting the streets at night. The performance from the cast is also banged on. Sushant as the determined puzzle solver is superb. He brings in a breeze of charm and brings life in the legendary character with great elan. He is often confused, as he is handling such a heavy weight mystery as his first case. But eventually he ends his confusion with his wit. Anand Tiwari is also in top form. His role of Ajit brings in humour to this film and his perfect comic timing and chemistry with Byomkesh brings refreshing dimension in this thriller. Swastika Mukherjee as the seductress Angori Devi is good while Divya Menon fails to make the presence felt. But it is the antagonist who steals the show in this department. A feared criminal who is presumed dead but then comes back alive and start a chain of events which leads to chaos and gore. He gives a phenomenal performance towards the end of the movie and is surely a contender of an award this year. Dibakar Banerjee is considered as a director par excellence and few minutes into the film, we get to know why is he considered so. He spins an edge of the seat thriller in a tension-prone and chaotic backdrop, which might be inspired from one of the novels of ShardinduBandhopadyaybut is in reality his very own. He shows his cinematic excellence in many points of the film. Special mention to the climax that is shown mostly in shadow play, where Dibakar is in his most stylish and wicked. He brilliant story teller and adds style to this movie.
THUMBS UP - The intriguing plot. - Superb performance from the lead. - The spectacular Calcutta and the cinematography. - Brilliant Direction. - Some spectacular scenes.
THUMBS DOWN - The pace of the film. The film tends to be slow sometimes which might kill the thrill for some. - Music of the movie is below average.
VERDICT The movie is for people who have a knack of whodunit movies that is well served here combined with noir and history. The movie is a perfect edge of the seat thriller that makes the viewer guessing of what happens next.
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