Star Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Pulkit Samrat, Jacqueline Fernandez
Director: Karan Anshuman
What’s Good: Actually, nothing. If you are clutching at straws, then some dialogues are quite witty; and play on clichés well. Jacqueline Fernandes dancing to a song is also a relief.
What’s Bad: Pulkit Samrat; the sad plight of a talented actor like Ritesh Deshmukh; the futile utilization of a wondrous city like Krakow as a location; & just about everything in this film.
Watch or Not?: Steer clear. Catch the British Indie comedy ‘Four Lions’ on DVD instead.
‘Bangistan’ is aptly titled, in the sense that it induces desires to bang your head against a wall/ steel plate/ any available hard surface multiple times while watching it. Alternately, its sheer inanity & bad acting (Pulkit Samrat shines in this space) numbs your mind. Multiple times while it played out, you wonder how a banner like Excel Entertainment, led by Ritesh Sidhwani & Farhan Akhtar, ever greenlit a project so shoddy.
An attempt at the sub genre ‘Jihad comedy’, Bangistan recounts the journeys of two young, easily influenced boys from the fictitious nation who travel as suicide bombers to Poland (Pulkit Samrat & Ritesh Deshmukh). While the first, a ‘Ram Leela’ performer is a Right Wing Hindu, enthralled by a guruji that leads the quirkily named political party ‘Maa Ki Dal’, the other is a devout Muslim who sheds his call centre job due to an identity crisis and decides to plunge into ‘jihad’ full time. He too is won over by the violent message and promise of heaven of ‘Al Kaam Tamaam’. Their coincident missions are to sabotage a World Religions Conference, where peace and brotherhood will be discussed. These bumbling oafs end up sharing a ramshackle flat in Krakow, and getting somewhat enamoured by a free spirited bartender, Rosie (Jacqueline Fernandes).
As the film progresses, you regularly grit your teeth, wondering if anything about this script was ever written out properly, and why would anyone attempt a sensitive, complex subject like satire around religion & terrorism in such a juvenile manner. Add to that, pathetic, over the top acting from everyone in it’s cast, except for Ritesh Deshmukh, and you know that this is a recipe for disaster. I am all for drawing from international forms & flavours, provided one actually begins with a solid, convincing premise.
15 minutes of this film and you know the journey is going to be down hill. Nothing makes any sense, which in a satire comedy, could work. But here, it only exposes more flaws in the plot. The drama is forced, the foreign characters caricaturish & the conclusion random and unconvincing.
A good word for a few moments in the film that turn out to be actually funny- a Chinese bomb maker who speaks chaste Hindi, and a few dialogues show promise of a decent comic writer. But that’s about it.
Bangistan Review: Script Analysis
To be honest, analyzing this script will amount to making a mountain out of a grain of sand. That’s about as much meat as this script has!
Satires are written around situations & humour emerges from those situations. None of that happens in this film. So perhaps, not much got written in the first place.
That Krakow, one of the worst victims of the Jewish Holocaust as a city, and a place where memories of the Second World War live, breathe & exist in every corner, is only backdrop to nonsensical and superficial matters, does say a whole lot about how much thinking went behind this film; all that mattered was a paid vacation!
Bangistan Review: Star Performance
Ritesh Deshmukh is completely wasted in this film, and the only saving grace. Pulkit Samrat is simply bad, and has to work off a huge Salman Khan hangover. A dialogue in the film, where Ritesh calls Pulkit a ‘truly bad actor’, induced the most laughs. Go figure.
Kumud Mishra & Chandan Roy Sanyal are trapped in loud, quasi comical parts that have little for them to do. Jacqueline Fernandez is pleasant in her tiny part.
Bangistan Review: Music, Direction
The film’s music is nothing to write home about, and the popular Ram Sampath- Sona Mahapatra song ‘Ishq Karenge’ doesn’t feature. Direction, well, what’s to say! Introspection would definitely help the filmmaker.
Bangistan Review: The Last Word
I would advise not really spending on this ticket over the weekend, but if you have to, best to step inside the theatre in some sort of intoxication. Else, watch it at your own risk.
Bangistan releases on 7th August, 2015.
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