Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four stars)
Star Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwari, Swastika Mukherjee, Divya Menon, Neeraj Kabi, Meiyang Chang, Mark Bennington, Shivam, Anindya Banerjee
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
What’s Good: A classic whodunit thriller which holds the suspense quite firmly till the end. This is an excellent effort of bringing to life India’s detective figure Byomkesh Bakshy and with this film, Dibakar Banerjee forms a strong base for a crime-mystery franchise. Characters are strong and the suspense build-up is bang on.
What’s Bad: For those who have enjoyed seeing a much more reclusive and reticent Byomkesh in Rajit Kapoor’s TV series, Sushant Singh Rajput seems a little goofy and unsure on his first case.
Loo break: Unless you want to keep guessing what’s happening next in the loo!
Watch or Not?: I would definitely suggest Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and especially for those who are not smitten by Sherlock Holmes; for them this is a tight mystery with a top-notch execution. Dibakar’s Calcutta of 1940’s is bloody, dopey and dark; take a ride of this side of the town.
Calcutta is struggling in the 1940s with the Japanese invasion and smuggling of drugs that is trying hard to put the city to sleep. In this town full of disguises and mysteries, Ajit Bandyopadhyay (Anand Tiwari) approaches an arrogant collegiate Byomkesh Bakshy with a case of his missing father. After brushing him off at first and learning that his lady love is getting hitched to someone else, a broken hearted Byomkesh decides to solve Ajit’s case. Thus begins a tale of interlinked stories as Bakshy tries to join the dots.
On his journey he meets distinctive characters such as the seductress Anguri Devi (Swastika), a room mate and drug dealer Kanai, the guest house owner Dr. Guha (Neeraj Kabi) and his second love interest Satyavati (Divya Menon). But the quest remains for the masterplanner of Calcutta’s destruction Yuan Guang.
Will Byomkesh be succesful at solving the murder mystery or will he get entangled in an even more warped plan? Watch to Find out!
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Review: Script Analysis
When it comes to whodunits and murder mysteries, the key element is suspense and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy not only masters it but also hooks you to each character. Towards the middle of the film, you will find yourself observing the characters with such precision that you may think of yourselves as detectives. When Dibakar said Bakshy is the Sherlock Holmes of India, I have to admit I was more than scared being compared to something so perfect.
Although after watching Byomkesh Bakshy, I am certain that the director has an eye for detail and his script is as thick as blood. Bakshy is not the perfect detective but this is his learning case. He is a little influential at this point but his strong gut and logic help him look beyond what can be seen. Another best thing that Dibakar does is present us with Ajit’s character as a replacement to Holmes’ Dr. Watson.
With an excellent backdrop of war torn Calcutta in the peak of World War 2, Banerjee makes sure the dialogues are quirky and even though a few scenes may run long, they never bore you. What is fascinating is Dibakar gives us multiple characters and all have exactly the required space in the film. One of the most entertaining characters turns out to be the domestic help Puntiram (Pradipto Kumar Chakraborty) who is a witness to all that is happening on Bakshy’s case. All in all the script is bang-on and forms for solid piece of work.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Review: Star Performances
Sushant Singh Rajput as Byomkesh Bakshy is darn good and after watching the film you may not be able to see anyone else play Bakshy the same way! His body language, mannerisms are perfect and he is apt as a detective who relies on his honed observation skills and is highly logical. This is Rajput’s best performance till date and I hope to seem him more as Bakshy if they plan a franchise.
Neeraj Kabi as Dr.Guha is brilliant. His character is highly influential and it is Neeraj’s acting prowess that makes it pack a punch on screen. After his act in Ship Of Theseus won him accolades, Dibakar finds him a apt role in this film.
Anand Tiwari as Ajit Bandyopadhyay is someone you really feel for. He is not smart, he has lost a father who is disappointed by him. Tiwari is getting better with every film and he is remarkable in this film too. I loved his camaraderie with Sushant, it looks natural.
Swastika Mukherjee as the seductress Anguri Devi is hot but cold when it comes to her act. The dialogue delivery with a heavy breathing did’nt work for me. Although she looks fabulous in the vintage avatar.
Divya Menon as Satyavati is charming with her expressive character. She does this role with quite ease.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
What can I say? Dibakar Banerjee just decides to wow me everytime he takes up a film. He is full of experimentation and I particularly love his descriptive nature of direction. Each scene is like a canvas and the riddled Calcutta looks brilliant with dingy allies, China town and trams moving along with the story. His characters are dressed perfect and his storytelling does not want you to blink.
The background score is different and it somehow works for the film. I was skeptical about the music blending well with this story but well he proves me wrong, it works like magic.
In a particular action scene, the director lets the background score take the lead as people are being slashed around blood spills on the walls; it is completely mind-blowing and that is what you call contemporary direction for a period drama.
The cinematography and production design have done their jobs well, and it can be seen as the representation of 1940s is life-like. Banerjee needs to keep this up and I am hoping for a franchise of it.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Review: The Last Word
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is a delicious thriller filled with elements that make you rack your brains too. This mystery is the one even you would want to solve. Watch it for an amazing story and its even better execution. Crime mysteries just got better in Bollywood! I am going for 4/5 here!
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Trailer
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy releases on 3rd April, 2015.
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