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Bob Biswas review: Lacks the edginess of a thriller

Abhishek Bachchan has proven himself to be a fine actor

Source: SIFY

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 2.5/5

Monday 06 December 2021

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Movie Title

Bob Biswas review: Lacks the edginess of a thriller

Director

Diya Annapurna Ghosh

Star Cast

Abhishek Bachchan, Chitrangada Singh

If you’ve seen Kahaani (2012) you’ll remember the character of middle-aged Bob Biwas who looks deceptively everyman. The scene where he hurls the pregnant Vidya in front of a train was unforgettable. So creepy and memorable was that character’s presence (played by Saswata Chatterjee) that it led to an entire stand-alone film.

Debut director Diya Annapurna Ghosh’s film begins with Bob Biswas (now played by Abhishek Bachchan) waking up after a coma. He has lost his memory and is welcomed by a wife and two kids. As he’s settling in with a family he doesn’t remember, in a home he’s never seen, two men blackmail him to carry out a couple of contract-killings. They claim he’s always been a hit-man even as he insists he doesn’t remember anything.

Add to this mix, a parallel story about teens addicted to a drug, and the love story between Bob and wife Mary (Chitrangada Singh). 

This romantic relationship doesn’t move you and has generous helpings of casual sexism, beginning with an out-of-his-league Chitrangada Singh smitten with Bob Biwas’s character who has the propensity to wear the dullest clothes, say the dullest things, and wear the dullest spectacle frames.

The film decides a central quality for a particular character and then lays it on thick. Chitrangada’s character is Mary and someone in the film points out that she’s actually like ‘Mother Mary’. She potters around, telling her kids to do their homework or “haath muh dho lo” (wash-up), when not fussing over her strange husband. It’s not just that Bob’s character is shown as a middle-aged average looker, it’s also things like asking his wife out on lunch translating to sharing her tiffin on a bench (in a non-charming way).

She still, however, remains the smitten kitten and even calls him an angel. But then, she’s also that person who tells off her lecherous boss by threatening to ‘complain to her husband’.  

At one point, confused about his past, Bob asks her, “Main acha aadmi hoon yaan bura aadmi?” (Am I a good man or a bad man?). Of course, she insists he’s the best person in the world, even as he looks unconvinced.

Meanwhile, he goes around terrorizing pint-sized school bullies by killing off their pets and threatening pesky neighbours.

Some interesting characters are introduced as the story moves along. Kali da (played by veteran Paran Bandopadhyay) is a mysterious man and owner of a homeopathic shop that stores much more than medicines. A roadside stall owner, several police characters including a determined inspector called Indira, get involved in the goings-on.  

(Spoiler alert) Bob, it appears, has no choice but to follow orders and turn hit-man. In a few hilarious scenes, we see him struggle with his bag’s zipper as he reaches for his gun; or when, having run up the stairs, Bob asks the man he’s about to kill for a moment to catch his breath.

This is the case of a very interesting character, but a performance that’s not as layered. Abhishek Bachchan has proven himself to be a fine actor in several films. But here, he reads the character too obviously. So, there is a consistent nervous smile, measured dialogue delivery, slow trudge and so on.

Barring a few scenes in the film that get you involved, the film remains an average watch.

(Bob Biswas is streaming on Zee5)

Sonia Chopra is a critic, columnist and screenwriter with over 15 years of experience. She tweets on @soniachopra2

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