After last week’s Aniruddha Roy Choudhury who debuted with Pink, another acclaimed regional director Ravi Jadhav makes his foray into Bollywood with this week’s Banjo. The promos have promised a fun, dramatic movie based on music and a band with a high Mumbai connect. Is the movie any good? How is Riteish Deshmukh as a solo lead?
Story: Taraat (Riteish) plays Banjo in his part time when he is not busy extorting money as a Henchman. He is a part of a Banjo band that is quite talented but never gets the due recognition. Things seem to turn around when NY based DJ Christina (Nargis) finds out about them and want to collaborate with them. She lands in Mumbai and is assigned Taraat as her guide, but it takes a long time for her to figure out that he is the Banjo player she came to Mumbai looking for. Amidst all this, there’s an added layer of rival Banjo bands, music moguls and even evil builders. How does it all culminate? Watch the movie to know.
Screenplay and Direction: Ravi Jadhav, who has made laudable Marathi films like Natarang, Time Pass, Balak Palak sadly falters with this Hindi film. The effort to make a good film and give due recognition to the street music players is evident but when the movie falters as a movie, the effort doesn’t count for as much as it should. The dialogues are too heavy handed, the pacing is way off and twists that are visible from a mile away are given too much importance and stretched to eternity. Banjo is languid, and the extra characters/subplots just add an unnecessary drama to this well meaning movie.
Banjo has clearly been shot by Ravi Jadhav with the intention of showing the beauty of the rawness of the slums and chawls of Mumbai, and it does quite a good job at that. The music scenes are pretty realistic as well. The cinematography and production design has to be credited for that. But the editing is sub-par. Banjo has no business being almost 140 minutes long when the story could have been told with a greater impact in 120 minutes. The music of Banjo is high paced and matches the tone of the Banjo band. The romantic ballad is a nice track too.
Acting: Riteish Deshmukh rises above the film. He is brilliant in his role as he brings the character of Taraat alive with his emotive expressions and behaviour. He gives it his best shot. Nargis Fakhri plays a NY based girl and she plays it to her best level. She’s a NY girl herself and she knows how to play one too. Thankfully, the role doesn’t demand too much from her. Others like Dharmesh, Aditya Kumar, Luke Kenny all do well in their respective parts
Conclusion: The well-meaning nature of Banjo cannot be debated, but that means nothing when the movie doesn’t entertain as much as it should. And it is unpardonable when a movie gets boring. Riteish Deshmukh is in great form and gives it his all, but the movie itself stretches on for 20 minutes too long. Having said that, the director Ravi Jadhav has a good track record and Banjo should be considered nothing more than a temporary setback. We would be interested in seeing what he does next.
- Riteish Deshmukh is in brilliant form
- The musical scenes are realistically shot
- The production design and cinematography is good
- Banjo gets boring as it stretches it on for 20 minutes too long
- Quite a few scenes are unnecessarily added
- The twists don’t surprise as much