Synopsis – In a contemporary interpretation of war torn Calcutta during the 1940’s, the film follows the first adventure of Byomkesh (Sushant Singh Rajput), fresh out of college, as he pits himself against an evil genius who is out to destroy the world. It’s his wits against the most villainous arch criminal the world has seen, in a world of murder, international political intrigue and seduction.
My Take – In Bollywood, there are but a few who have divulged themselves into intelligent film making while catering to the masses with their brilliant storytelling services. The name of director Dibakar Banerjee pops up first as a reference to the earlier statement. With films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhoka & Shanghai under his belt, their is no wonder why his 1st outing with YRF Films based on Bengali detective in the pre independence era is so clearly awaited! So does the movie succeed? Do finally get an Indian Sherlock Holmes? Well Yes! Based on the fictional detective Byomkesh Bakshi created by the Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, this detective thriller is a blast! The movie is set in war-torn Calcutta of 1943. It was a time when World War II was at its peak and a couple of everyday murders were no big deal. The story follows the first adventure of Byomkesh (Sushant Singh Rajput), fresh out of college, as he takes up the case of Ajith’s (Anand Tiwary) missing father, which seems simple at 1st but is of course much more than that. It’s his wits against the most villainous arch criminal the world has seen, in a world of murder, international political intrigue and seduction. The movie rests on the gripping screenplay.
The screenplay is so novel that it will make you bite your nails in curiosity to know what happens next. This stunning build-up of characters and narrative will boggle your mind to keep guessing until the end. Banerjee has completely rejuvenated the character of Byomkesh in this flick. It is not another translation of Saradindu story on the big screen. This is the reason why Byomkesh’s latest adaptation transcends into a genre of its own. The protagonist himself becomes a part of the crime and lands into a deep trouble. Banerjee through his writing slow cooks the plot only to unravel a meaty climax. Yes! The climax raises a few unanswered questions & those who are looking for mind blasting Abbas Mustan style climax would be disappointed, but yet this is something which has not been in an Indian movie before. Banerjee & Urmi Juvekar’s Adapted Screenplay is very well-done. The Writing is super sharp, despite, its slow-pace. The first-hour builds up suspense, while the second-hour offers one intriguing moment after the other. The brilliance of a director can be perceived when a fictional character, projected by him, becomes a reality of the viewer’s mind. Frankly speaking, I was tad bit hesitant about the entire concept of how detectives are portrayed in Indian movies (like last year’s Samrat & C0) without being too artsy or too ‘masala’ filled to cater to a wider audience. But to my surprise, Dibaker Banerjee has aptly delivered my thriller-seeking mind a performance to relish upon. What delighted me the most was that the titular character was shown as an ordinary man. He is not the flamboyant spy who keeps guns and gadgets and girls around. He believes in the practicality of a situation and then deciphers the controversies involved. And the way he illustrates these quandaries to his fellow intimates, makes him unpretentious and unimposing. The background score adds a lot of weight to make it an audacious Bengali drama. The camera work is striking. Production design is top-notch.
The performances – Sushant Singh Rajput has come a long way! From starring in soapy dramas on TV to an excellent debut in Kai Po Che, this young lad is in for a long haul! He is just excellent! Anand Tiwari is fantastic. He contributes so much in the goings-on & offers the much needed humor in the proceedings. Swastika Mukherjee enacts the femme fatale, confidently. Divya Menon is first-rate. Neeraj Kabi is outstanding. He stands out. Meiyang Chang is effective. Arindol Bagchi is adequate. ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ is a slow-burn thriller, that grows on you with each passing scene. The drama unfolds with such detailing & crispness, that I kept going with the narrative more & more. Bakshy’s first adventure has moments of pure shock, twists, humor & also betrayal. Writer-Director Dibakar Banerjee deserves full marks. He has delivers a deliciously twisted thriller, that’s grim, dark, complex & yet engrossing. Its a moody period film, that works hugely as a suspense-thriller! Must Watch!
Director – Dibakar Banerjee
Rated – PG15
Run Time – 148 minutes