Banjo Reviews by Critics

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Banjo Review by Indicine

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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.

Banjo Review by Bollywood Hungama

Rating: ★★½☆☆

While BANJO’s promos beautifully mirrored the lives of street musicians, the film elaborates the same in totality. The film’s story set up (Kapil Sawant, Nikhil Mehrotra and Ravi Jadhav) is relatable. After taking a promising start, the film also highlights the life, lifestyle and the dreams of those (unsung talents) living in the slums. The film successfully manages to establish the quirky characters of Taraat and his band members. The life and lifestyle of the slum dwellers have been convincingly portrayed in the film. The film’s dialogues (Kapil Sawant, Nikhil Mehrotra and Ravi Jadhav) are simple, unassuming and funny. There are many one liners in the film, which have been used as punches, will surely have the audiences in splits.

Banjo Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Deshmukh is thoroughly unconvincing as a shaggy musician with unwashed hair. While he displays a knack for the comic scenes, he seems uncomfortable in the romantic ones. But when you have corny pickup lines masquerading as intense dialogues, can you really blame Deshmukh for coming up short? The scenario that a DJ from New York would come to Mumbai to hunt down a group of musicians in a Mumbai slum also requires you to suspend disbelief. The other band members from Taratís team have some of the best comical lines. But thatís not enough to redeem this drama-slash-comedy.

Banjo Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life

Rating: ★★½☆☆

If Banjo had been made by a lesser-known director, these flaws were forgivable to some extent. But Ravi Jadhav is a man who gave us Natarang and Bal Gandharva, so this mess of a film is inexcusable. While Riteish as a performer is adept as always, the idea to make him massy falls flat, especially those scenes that insist on making him look tough. Nargis Fakhri is decent, until she speaks Hindi, cry or basically has to emote. Banjo would have been a really good entertainer, if the film had stuck to what the title had promised, instead of straying to other subplots. If you are a Mumbaikar then this is a one time watch for you.

Banjo Review by Renuka Vyavahare on The Times Of India

Rating: ★★★½☆

Director Ravi Jadhav, who has some outstanding Marathi films to his name (like Natarang), captures the pulse of Mumbai and the city’s buzzing chawl culture in Banjo with simplicity and a dash of humour. His characters exude the quintessential middle-class values, which are bound to resonate with many. The underprivileged are not conditioned to dream big, so even their wishes are realistic. One of the characters innocently asks a waiter at a posh club, if he could take some champagne home for his father. Though commercial in approach, Jadhav keeps things unpretentious and thus relatable.

Banjo Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Had this 137-minute film refrained from long cross-conversations and forced conflicts in the second half, it could have struck a better chord. Riteish has come out of his comfort zone and thatís the best thing about Banjo. The actor who plays Corporator Patil in the film is also worth a mention. Itís a film by someone who can see Mumbai with indigenous eyes. Scratch the filters and itís as raw as it always was. Show patience in the second half, and it may work for you. Thereís a lot to like in Banjo.

Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies

Rating: ★★★☆☆

On the flip side, the film has certain shades of ABCD and Rock On. At the press screening last night, a fellow reviewer sniggered that Banjo is ‘zopadpatti ka Rock On’ and though I offered a polite chuckle to humour him, I couldn’t help but reluctantly agree with his observation. Also, the film doesn’t restrict itself to just the banjo players, but also tries to explore issues like slum rehab and builders trying to forcibly acquire slum property and rivalries over performing at Ganesh pandals, subjects which would have made more sense in a film about the underworld. However, having said that, though the second half drags on for quite a while, Jadhav has come up with such interesting characters and clever writing that you are ready to forgive the makers for veering off the track at certain points of time. If you love a good underdog story and are a true Mumbaikar at heart, ‘Banjo’ will surely strike the right note for you…

Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Coming to the main lead, Riteish Deshmukh is underutilized, sadly the script didn’t had the nourishment to feed on Riteish’s acting talents. He is fabulous in whatever character is sketched for him by the writer and director but considering the talent he posses BANJO just turns out to be concentrating more on how to be a crowd pleaser. Nargis Fakhri is a stunner as far as looks are concerned. Talking about her acting, well the damsel still needs to travel.

Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Similarly, the presence of Dharmesh Yolande brings ABCD to mind and, again, only to the detriment of Banjo. So let’s mince no words: Banjo is a painfully pointless exercise that does no justice to either the instrument that it extols or the street musicians that it showcases. Neither the struggle of the slum boys to break out of their impoverishment nor the street and slum scenes the film banks upon to acquire grittiness yield the desired results, leaving Banjo dangling in a yawn-inducing limbo. Even the peppy music (Vishal-Shekhar) and the lively lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya) cannot bring this comatose film to life. It is just too good at playing dead. Rarely does a film press so much noise into service to achieve so little in the end. Heed this warning: don’t get within the earshot of Banjo.

Review by Tatsam Mukherjee on India Today

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

The makers of Banjo should have focused on the bigger issues like a less contrived script, a better-acted film, and a movie slightly closer to what Mr Jadhav would have made in the parallel universe.

Review by Sukanya Verma on Rediff

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Between musicians who double up as goons and a encroachment arc that goes nowhere, Jadhav derails from a slum to stardom tale to tangle itself in needless complication, conflict and melodrama through murder attempts, fall from grace, awakened conscience and a supremely unconvincing rift. By the time Banjo serves its dark horse comeback to a pounding Vishal-Shekhar spectacle laced in unabashed Maharashtrian pride, indifference has seeped in.

Banjo Review by Indiaglitz

Rating: ★★½☆☆

‘Banjo’ looked highly promising due to its unusual theme, good music and association of a national award winning director. The movie fulfills its promise in some part and fails to create an impact in the rest of them. Stale narration, dragging screenplay and lacking of soul factor makes ‘Banjo’ end up on a mediocre note.

Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Director Ravi Jadhavís first attempt in Bollywood is noticeable. He is successful in bringing out the local Marathi flavour in the western context. Ravi Jadhav has also written the screenplay alongside Kapil Sawant and Nikhil Mehrotra, which is predictable yet entertaining. ‘Banjo’ will take you back to the 90ís since the film has a love story, emotions and a conspiracy. The film could have been much better in several aspects and hence it remains a one time watch. The humour in the film is like a breath of fresh air.

Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

The only time the film stops trying your patience somewhat is when it bursts into song, and even there, it has only one which is foot-tapping. Really, you expect better from Deshmukh, whose artfully dusty, tangled tresses and toned, worked-out frame donít match up to the required grunginess of his character description. And from Jadhav, who has done so much better in his previous outings.

Review by Rajeev Masand on News18

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

There is literally nothing original or unpredictable about how the story unfolds. Jadhav knows his characters and their world but fails to set It up dramatically. The acting is serviceable at best, but watching Nargis Fakhri on screen, you still feel like she’s in the wrong profession. There isn’t a moment on screen not one that she looks or sounds convincing. Part of the reason you stay in your seat nevertheless is the entirely hummable music score that Vishal-Shekhar have come up with. And a word for Riteish Deshmukh, who appears to be the only one here making any effort. From the body language to the cockiness, his Tarat may be the single interesting character in this ordinary film. In the end, the notion of a film about an undervalued genre of musicians is more compelling than “Banjo” itself. It starts out from a promising place, but fails to make any leaps or strides.

Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

The hero opposite Nargis is Riteish, of course, the tanned sadak-chaap mawaali, with a pony tail, thick beard, looking a shade of Shah Rukh Khan from Happy New Year, which this movie seems so similar to as well. Let me not go on. So yeah, youíve been there, seen that; why watch this same kinda picture again? I donít know. Iím only glad that some of the guys in my theatre were at least responding to it, while I was sadly falling asleep.

Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Riteish Deshmukh is a dependable sidekick, a desi street danseuse par excellence, but as a solo lead, his shoulders give in. Nargis Fakhri may have the lips of a lemon-and-spoon Olympic champ, but when pursed to insinuate deep thought, it seems as if her thought bubble is packed with soap bubbles. Her translation of every situation – being screamed at, flirted with, or even given a shocking piece of news – is the same: a puppy-faced pout. To get from CST to Andheri, she hops into a cab and says, “Un-dairy chalo.” While her accent is justified here, her expressions aren’t.

Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The climax is good fun. The movie ends rather well. Great song, and ending of rivalries. Yes, yes, there’s a rival band there too. Go watch them, and dance in the aisles. And hope Riteish stops acting in the awful sex comedies and gives us such happy frothy romances.

Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Where the film founders terribly, almost bringing down the plotís spiraling aspirations, is in cramming too many strands and sub-plots in the screenplay that are induced to create a dilating drama. Also, the visual palate of streetside bonhomie tends to get over-cute at times. Rather than digresss into a subplot about a politician taking on builders, Jadhavís narrative should have stuck to the story of the street musicians who are embarrassed by the lowbrow status allotted to their art, until the American woman with the long legs and the leggier pout discovers them for her own devices.

Review by Meeta on Wogma

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

There isn’t anything very moving or engaging in the acting department either. Riteish Deshmukh does the drunk bit, the macho beating up goon bit, the love-struck bit in rhythm Ė one after the other. While performances by the other band members are full of energy, Nargis Fakhri loses you at her dialogue delivery itself. It is painful to watch her speak Hindi. And for all the hue and cry about creating music together, her character has all of three lines to sing.

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