Babumoshai Bandookbaaz review: Not quite on target

A still from Babumoshai Bandookbaaz starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bidita Bag.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It takes time to settle down into Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. The camera’s entry into down and dirty Uttar Pradesh badlands — violence, kinky sex, peeing, pooping, burping, piles, in-your-face cleavage, double entendres — feels deliberately exaggerated and sensation-seeking, framed with an urban lens. Things begin to settle down slowly as the story itself kicks in and the larger canvas of characters begins to emerge.

On one hand, there is the professional world of Babu Bihari (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a contract killer, hired by politicians such as Sumitra (Divya Dutta), who has a colourful life beyond an ailing, old husband and Dubey (Anil George), who gets high by seeing his wife getting massaged by a male masseur.

On the other hand is Babu’s private world with Phulwa (Bidita Bag) for company. Both these worlds get complicated when a younger sharp-shooter, Banke Bihari (Jatin Goswami), who claims to be the shishya (student) to babu’s guru (teacher) comes into the picture. On the fringes hangs the police —cop Tara Shankar (Bhagwan Tiwari), who finds himself saddled with seven sons in the hope of having one daughter.

Babumoshai Bandookbaaz
  • Director: Kushan Nandy
  • Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bidita Bag, Jatin Goswami, Divya Dutta, Anil George, Bhagwan Tiwari
  • Run time: 122.39 minutes
  • Storyline: Babu Bihari, a hired killer in the badlands of UP finds life getting complicated when a younger sharp-shooter, Banke Bihari, who considers him his idol, crosses swords with him

More sex and violence follows and things bristle with sexual tension with the Babu-Banke-Phulwa trinity but it all eventually boils down to yet another bloody revenge drama, in perpetuity at that. In the midst of several characters and strands the film loses an essential sense of cohesion.

Women don’t have much to do other than being objects of desire. Divya Dutta does her level best to spit fire in a clichéd representation of politician. Things sail along on the performances — the dependable Nawaz and the otherwise little seen Jatin Gandhi. But the one who stays on in the mind is Bhagwan Tiwari as the cop Tara Shankar — the one inured to violence yet oddly vulnerable to covert, suppressed emotions, the one in authority yet beholden to his wife. It’s a small but most compelling track, what one would have wanted to see more of.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 6:42:12 PM |

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