Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! is a movie that reads streets of Calcutta spectacularly. If you haven’t been to Calcutta before, this beauty of a flick ensures you do. As the credits of the movie breathe on a moving frame, we witness Banerjee’s subtlety at its best. The camera shifts its focus back and forth to display minute details of a city lost in history, wrapped in beautifully with the protagonist’s normalcy as he sits like a lost chap in a sloth Tram, next to a crime that lived crouched up in a newspaper a fellow man held. The Tram moves slowly depicting life as it was. The main theme of the movie – trying to hold city’s breath in bare hands, to save the living, to save a city from turning into rubble, dust and ashes!
Dibakar Banerjee is a pro when it comes to direction. There is subtlety lying in his frames that complement a story quite gorgeously. His pace lets everything sieve through and settle like sediments into our brains. With such a big bag of brilliance on his shoulders, he lets us on a thrilling ride into history smeared by wicked people, into a puckered city and into a mind numbing tangle that would only unravel with Bakshy’s head. Witness Byomkesh Bakshy, a lost hero resuscitate himself up on the big screen, to solve a crime that keeps on unknotting itself into bigger oblivion.
Taking up such a humongous project was a daunting job per se. To live up to the expectations of the public who lived a Byomkesh era through the books of Sharadindu and who literally saw the sleuth come alive on screen through the exceptional Basu Chatterjee’s TV show, was a rare feat to achieve. But Dibakar closed in on it, unlike any other Indian director could have even possibly imagined.
Excellence drips through Banerjee’s direction. Little things that he pays heed to while creating a scene is absolutely commendable. Not saying the name of the protagonist for a considerable amount of time in the movie, jumping off from frames into clever openings, stopping time to depict a thriller, reiterating an act for emphasis, and icing shots with brilliant score that often metamorphosed into needle dropped hard rock songs, are some of the main courses that the audience could feast upon in the movie.
The big downside of the movie I felt was Sushant Singh Rajput’s charisma which was nowhere to be found for a sleuth like Byomkesh Bakshy. He just played a confused guy without imparting a personality to the character. There was no gravity on his face to carve such a strong character as Bakshy’s. On the contrary, Neeraj Kabi as Dr. Anukul Guha was downright exceptional. His transformation was a delight to watch. His face writes the experience he has garnered through theatre with pizzazz.
An intricate detective story that weaves out great! However, it is imperative that you pay attention. A minute lost could cost you an entire movie. There are so many subplots in the flick that could be hard to keep up with if you are not paying heed. That could be another downside to the movie: Complexity only gives birth to indifference.
With Urmi Juvekar and Dibakar Banerjee’s tale in the vanguard, everything pans out quite fine. At the end we see a loose end to the tale, that insinuates an impending franchise in the making. I wish Banerjee resumes his badass chaotic convoluted sojourn once again with a promising sequel.
Dibakar might have failed to reach a level ardent Bakshy fans had asked of him, but what he has certainly managed to do is revive a lost Indian hero that we only remembered through pages.