Friday, January 1, 2016

Trying way too hard

DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY! (2015)

Produced By: Dibakar Banerjee Productions and others
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Starring: Sushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwari, Divya Menon, Neeraj Kabi, and others
Pros: Successfully recreated the old Calcutta
Cons: Meandering story, poor screen presence, difficult to hear
Rating: ** of 5 (2 of 5)

Every now and then, an art house movie comes by and you watch it just to fill your annual quota and prove to yourself that you can be 'sophisticated.' Perhaps, these movies are made now exclusively to meet this requirement. And of course, sophistication, for some reason, has to be synonymous with old. And thus came another one from Dibakar Banerjee, who seems to be trying very hard to emerge the king of the genre.

Too hard, in fact. It was all there - a good story, good actors (Rajput impresses again with a good performance), and yet there was something missing. Sense. Sense that this was a movie and not a dream, and the audience includes more people than the director himself! To be fair, Banerjee did put in a lot of effort to recreate old-town Calcutta, complete with trams and British police officers speaking accented Hindi (although it should've been Bengali, but lets not nitpick). But then, the effort should have stopped right there. Instead, we got a story that only the director can actually make sense of, and the director also giving far too much credit to his own set, with the actors being forced to concede stage presence. Thus, it was more a mix between a dream and a picture book than a movie!

The worst thing about the movie is that it was so difficult to hear - actors should know how to 'whisper' while making sure everyone can hear them in the audience! Alas, Banerjee seemed to have no time for such trivial issues such as the audience for this movie that people see just for the heck of it. A dying breed indeed - I hope you're not one of them! (OTFS)

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