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Bandook review: Might of the gun!

Movie:
Bandook
Director:
Adiya Om
Cast:
Adiya Om, Manisha Kelkar, Arshad Khan, Ashish Kotwal, Gauri Shankar, Virendra Singh
Avg user rating:
This is the world, set in the badlands of UP, where a young man and his cronies aspire to be shooters and 'interview' for the position.

In this case, Bhola Kevat (Adiya Om) finds a mentor in Lochan Singh who is Tripathi's right-hand man. Tripathi is the local politician who is also involved in several criminal activities. Despite the 'interview' going badly, Tripathi notices a spark in him and offers him a job.

'Zindagi mein doosra chance sabko nahin milta', explains Lochan as he lovingly places the gun in Bhola's hand. Bhola goes for the kill and rises up the ranks of the gang quickly.

His success with Tripathi makes the other gang members uneasy and even causes discomfort between the mentor-protege. Tripathi uses this to his advantage and we see how Bhola and Lochan survive the word of crime, with all its trappings of power.

In unguarded moments, often when they are drunk, the two naively wonder how and why people like Tripathi never get arrested.

The film doesn't sugar-coat anything for the comfort of the audience. Sexual abuse (both genders shown to be equally vulnerable), cuss words (not beeped out) and children wielding guns are all part of the story.

But it's not all dark and gory - even in the despair, romance blossoms. Bhola meets a deaf-and-mute woman Kajri (Manisha Kelkar) who he falls for.

Despite her handicap and what she's been through, Kajri is shown to be a survivor. Gentle, but determined, she initiates the romance between the two and wears sindoor, without a formal marriage.

A relationship between equals, theirs is a romance the viewer immediately roots for.

It's true that the UP-based crime story has been done-to-death in Bollywood. But this film is still worth a watch for its authentic, rustic appeal and no-holds-barred portrayal of the brutal crime world.

The small nuances are truly delightful the gun-shaped impression in a plate full of vermilion, Bhola playing board-games while travelling for the next kill, and the delicate, often-violent, relationship between father-son.

The performances stand out. Aditya Om (also the writer-director) is spot-on in his portrayal of the goon who is considered a 'raakshas' and a 'devta' by an equal number of people.

Manisha Kelkar is delightful and gives an impactful performance without speaking a single word. The supporting cast is competent.

This small film with an easy-to-forget title needed more aggressive and focused marketing to get noticed. Still, do sample it if you enjoy crime dramas in an authentic rustic setting.

Rating: 2.5 stars

 

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