Bob Biswas (2021) Review!!

Synopsis – A spin-off of the fictional character named Bob Biswas from Kahaani (2012).

My Take – There are times when a particular character, irrespective of their onscreen time, manage to create such an impact on the audience that they end up transcending above the lead character and the film itself.

Such was the case of the character Bob Biswas, played by actor Saswata Chatterjee, who appeared for about eight minutes in the 122 minute long outstanding Kahaani (2012) and managed to leave a lasting impression as the unlikely assassin who almost bumped off the lead character of Vidya Bagchi, played by Vidya Balan, before meeting his own demise. Such was his kinky charm and impression, that till date, he continues to reside in memory.

Now nine years later, Bob Biswas is back in a spin-off of his own, with Abhishek Bachchan taking over the titular role, with original director Sujoy Ghosh moving to writing and co-producing duties, allowing his daughter, Diya Annapurna Ghosh, to take over the directorial reins.

Who in order to leave her own stamp in her directorial debut, sets this ZEE5 release as slow-paced character-driven film, unlike the high-octane and thrilling Kahaani, with continuous intrigue and twists punching in at short intervals.

While it should not come as a surprise that the film is not as memorable as 2012 Sujoy Ghosh directorial, a standard he himself couldn’t live up to in the underwhelming follow up Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh (2016), it’s nonetheless an interesting watch. Backed by a superb performance from Bachchan Jr., this underwritten spinoff is still a tale you can bob your head to, at least once.

Set months before the events of Kahaani (2012), the story follows Bob Biswas (Abhishek Bachchan), who has just woken up sans memory from an 8 year long coma which a fatal accident put him into. Thrusted by the hospital into the care of his family comprising of a wife Mary Biswas (Chitrangada Singh), a son Benny Biswas (Ronith Aurora) and a step daughter Mini (Samara Tijori), Bob is asked to get on with his life as an insurance agent and a family man.

But as soon as he begins veering into his newfound life, Bob is dramatically whisked away by two individuals, Jishu Narag (Bhanu Uday) and Kharaj Sahu (Vishwanath Chatterjee), who claim to be cops, hand him over a flip-top mobile phone, and ask him to return to work as their assassin, who balanced the good and evil of the world.

Finding himself trapped and curious about his forgotten skills, Bob agrees to carry out killings of these random strangers, who unknown him are a part of a drug operation who have just introduced a blue colored pill into the market which has become an instant hit amongst students, including Mini. Hereby raising the stakes of not just his own life, but the lives of those he loves most, his perfect family.

Given how the character, though small in screen time, made a big impact on audiences nine years ago, it’s interesting to see how writer Sujoy Ghosh has woven an engrossing screenplay around Bob. Although, the storyline is nowhere near as fascinating as the Vidya Balan starrer, there are enough twists and turns to keep the viewer hooked until the end. Though at a couple of places this film tends to lag, for most part it keeps you invested in the narrative.

As a debutante, Diya Annapurna Ghosh has done a good enough job directing. The mystery of this thriller lies in its tightly-knitted story, multiple mini shocks and the well-packaged dialogues. It’s not just Bob getting introduced to this whole new world for the first time, it’s all of us going through the same together with him. The beauty lies in its unpredictability because we don’t exactly know what to expect from the titular antihero. Only if it was better written.

Despite claims of the film being an origin story, it fails to tell us about Bob’s initiation into the world of crime, how he became a contract killer in the first place. Something which would have been much more interesting. It certainly would be an interesting exercise to explore Biswas’ true origins, starting with his childhood.

While Bob Biswas’ back story is intriguing and the film informs you of how he is connected to the tale in Kahaani, it also takes the lazy way out, leaving a whole lot of plot holes on the way. Unless, the Ghosh family has planned for more films for ‘Kahaani’ franchise in the future.

Having said that, the best part about the film is Abhishek Bachchan, who delivers a competent performance in the titular role despite being unable to match the level of Saswata’s brilliant act. To get into the skin of his character, the actor has not just gained weight but also thoroughly aced the body language of his character.

It is also great to see Chitrangada Singh on screen, in a proper role, after long time and the ever gorgeous actress does justice to her role, oozing sheer charm and sex appeal even in a non-glamour role. Samara Tijori, Deepak Tijori‘s daughter, manages to make a confident debut, despite having an underwritten role.

However it is Paran Bandopadhyay and his performance as Kali Da is a major highlight of the film. The scenes between him and Abhishek are just excellent. Here’s is a fascinating character that deserves a spinoff of its own. Purab Kohli in a special cameo shines bright with his quirky presence.

In other roles, Tina Desai, Ditipriya Roy, Bhanu Uday, Vishwanath Chatterjee, Ronith Aurora, Amar Upadhyay, Kanchan Mullick, Pabitra Rabha, Rajatabha Dutta, and Sharad Joshi are solid in their respective roles. On the whole, ‘Bob Biswas’ is an effectively engaging spin off backed by a superlative Abhishek Bachchan performance.

Directed –

Starring – Abhishek Bachchan, Chitrangda Singh, Amar Upadhyay

Rated – PG15

Run Time – 131 minutes

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