Art & Entertainment

‘Bandaa’ On Zee5 Movie Review: Manoj Bajpayee Touches The Zenith Of Excellence In Bringing To Life PC Solanki’s 2013 Case Against A Godman

Manoj Bajpayee ‘Bandaa’ promises to be allegedly based on the 2013 real-life rape case of a minor fought by Advocate PC Solanki against Asaram Bapu. Is the film worth the watch? Or can you simply skip it? Read the full movie review to find out.

A Still From 'Bandaa'
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‘Bandaa’: Cast & Crew

Director: Apoorv Singh Karki

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Adrija, Surya Mohan Kulshrestha, Kaustav Sinha, Nikhil Pandey, Priyanka Setia, Jaihind Kumar, Durga Sharma

Available On: Zee5

Duration: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

‘Bandaa’: Story

A common man with honesty and integrity can take on the system when he has truth on his side. That’s what ‘Bandaa’ is based entirely on. ‘Bandaa’ is a courtroom drama Inspired by true events. It is the story of a 5-year-long standalone fight of a regular session court lawyer who stands for the truth, and his struggle to bring justice to the girls who were wronged by a godman. Will he be able to finally get justice for the victims? Will the godman finally get punished? Or will the godman get saved by the piles of cash he’s stashed over the years? Well, for all that, you’ll have to watch the movie.

‘Bandaa’: Performances

Manoj Bajpayee has a very knack for picking up stories that are so hard-hitting and manages to invariably entertain you throughout. With ‘Bandaa’ he has managed to do that, tell a real-life story, and also give an important message to society. It’s like killing three birds with one stone. His performance is flawless. The accent he has in the film it’s so native to the city and he hasn’t flinched from that even for a single dialogue in the movie. He is that accurate. To add to that, the body language that he brings along makes the character even more lovable because he shows a vulnerable side to the character. That amalgamation is perfect and gets to you, and makes you want to watch Bajpayee perform this over and over again.

Vipin Sharma as the opposing counsel is also brilliant. He brings a very human and relatable factor to the lawyer’s character. He knows he’s on the wrong side, but he doesn’t flinch from his professional behaviour and also doesn’t forget basic human etiquette. That’s a great way to portray the character of the opposing counsel, who has perennially been made the villain in Hindi cinema.

The rest of the supporting characters are decently good, although none of them has a big screen time to warrant a stand-out performance.

‘Bandaa’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Deepak Kingrani’s writing is laden with nuances which make the film more believable. The characters feel real, the setting feels real and above all, the incident feels real. He hasn’t tried to pump up a real-life incident by taking too many cinematic liberties. He has tried to keep it as close as possible to what must have happened in a real-life situation. Otherwise, in a story like this, you could have easily ego-boosted the character of the hero and made him feel like Superman, and made the other party the dirtiest of the villains. But thankfully, he didn’t give in to such temptations and kept things real, relatable and believable.

Apoorv Singh Karki is the find of this film. The way he has directed this film makes you wonder what more is in store coming from him. There are subtle nuances that he manages to bring to the presentation that makes the film more realistic and believable. For example, since time immemorial courtroom dramas are being shown where one side is the hero’s character and the opposing counsel is a dreaded villain. What Karki manages to show is that the opposing counsel doesn’t have to be a devilish person. They might be standing there defending someone who’s not right because it’s their job, but they too are human and have basic human decency and etiquette. Then showing the vulnerabilities of the hero. He is fighting for the right cause, and you know that he will end up coming victorious in the end, but he is scared to wits for his family’s safety. He isn’t showing himself as superhuman and challenging an opponent who could take him out with just one bullet. Showing those insecurities in your lead character is a bold move, and that’s something that works and makes the film more relatable and thereby it has such good rewatch-value.

Arjun Kukreti’s cinematography doesn’t manage to capture the beauty of the city of Jodhpur to its full potential. He uses a single overhead shot of the city with the hill fort at its centre. Besides that, there is just one chase sequence which showcases the city a bit. Otherwise, it’s entirely an indoor courtroom story, which doesn’t have too much scope for him to explore his prowess behind the camera. Still, a few close-up shots do manage to bring depth to the presentation. For example, the shot of the godman walking out of the police van in white sandals or Manoj Bajpayee’s hands shaking after giving the closing arguments of the case. Those are simply worth remembering.

Sumeet Kotian’s editing is sadly the only weak link in the entire film. There are numerous scenes inside the courtroom climax scene where there are long pauses created for cinematic effect, but that slightly takes away the feel of realism, which is so evidently prominent in the rest of the movie. With a judge presiding, and the lawyers giving such long pauses for cinematic effect just makes you feel that in real life, the judge wouldn’t have waited for such theatrics and would have simply moved on. A little bit of trimming of those scenes could have made the film utterly perfect.

The background score and music by Sangeet-Siddharth and Roy are also good. Songs like ‘Bandaa’ is definitely a memorable one. Sonu Nigam’s enchanting vocals make you want to keep listening to it over and over again. Even ‘Sahara Tu Mera’ is something that you’ll remember for a long time after having finished watching the movie.

‘Bandaa’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes

Outlook’s Verdict

Manoj Bajpayee leaves an indelible imprint with his performance in ‘Bandaa’. This is definitely a keeper and a movie that generations of acting and filmmaking students would watch in order to learn about the craft. The intensity of the story added to the powerful acting added to the nuances of the real-life situation making you want to watch this film over and over again. It’s definitely a Must Watch. I am going with 4.5 stars.

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