Movie Review – Bob Biswas Is Abhishek Bachchan’s Very Own Don

By Joginder Tuteja

Movie Review - Bob Biswas Is Abhishek Bachchan's Very Own Don

The man has lost his memory and the biggest predicament that he has is, whether he is a good or a bad man. The world hands him over a gun with a silencer, he is made to commit murders as a hired assassin, he has a loving family at home who aren’t aware about his real profession (remember, The Family Man?), he manages to sleep well at night only after he kills an annoying neighbor, and yet, as a viewer you root for him. He doesn’t come across as a psycho either; it’s just that he has been sent to this world for a definite purpose. He is just doing what he has been made for, morals he damned!

That’s Bob Biswas for you in this prequel to Kahaani where Sujoy Ghosh’s daughter Diya Annapurna Ghosh makes her debut by bringing on a spin-off character of Bob Biswas. A thriller which has been shot in a realistic manner with a slight offbeat feel to it as well, it captures Kolkata in a way that only Ghosh father-daughter can, at least when it comes to Bollywood filmmakers.

The characters have their own quirks, be it the rogue pharma entrepreneur, the cops, the youngsters, the chow mein seller and most importantly, the chemist shop owner who answers only those questions that are asked and follows the ‘niyam’. In the midst of this all, Bob Biswas doesn’t put on an accent. He could well be the man of all seasons as he too talks less and does more, what if his core expertise is to point blank shoot right at the forehead without flinching at all.

Abhishek Bachchan embodies the role in a picture perfect way and one has to give it to him for not just getting the body language right of an introvert who is trying to find his true bearings, but also getting into a persona that is very unlike him. Whether it’s the VFX, prosthetics or some real work that he has done on himself but the fact remains that Abhishek has totally transformed his face as well as overall persona to become Bob Biswas for this film. He plays the character that he looks and that’s a win in itself.

As for his family, notably Chitrangda Singh who plays his wife and Samara Tijori (daughter of Deepak Tojori) who plays his teenage daughter, they are just right for the part. There is something about Chitrangada that makes her hold the screen in such a seductive manner without revealing at all, and that’s what makes her all the more endearing as Mary who has all the right traits. As for Samara, you want her to come out of this mess called ‘Blue’, an attention enhancing drug that is killing teenagers all over Kolkata.

With the drug angle playing right through the narrative and Abhishek stepping in as a ‘family man’, what one remembers is Amitabh Bachchan’s Don where the man has lost his memory and is trying to figure who he was, what he did, and where he is headed for. In Don, he was faking it all. Now in Bob Biswas, is the son faking it or is actually a victim of memory loss? Well, you get to know about it as the narrative progresses.

One has to admit though that in the quest of finding out the secret, there is some sort of patience required, especially the first 30 minutes. Number of characters are introduced and while some are interesting and some not, what you crave for is to know about the real essence of Bob Biswas. It takes a really long time and since the character is such that he doesn’t speak much, the narrative seems a bit sluggish and dull at times. It’s just that when Abhishek Bachchan holds the gun for the first time, this is when the drama truly begins. There is a Quentin Tarantino feel as well, especially during the climax, when bodies start falling down and though the middle portions around the interval point are a bit predictable, you go with the flow.

What Diya also does right is getting the casting right, courtesy Mukesh Chhabra. There are several supporting actors and the one who makes the best impression is 80 year old Paran Bandopadhyay who plays the chemist shop owner. He is just brilliant and his relevance to the plot is well established too. Purab Kohli as a drug peddler is quite good and does well in each of his scenes. Then there is also Tina Desai who plays a cop and makes for a decent inclusion. The two cops who lend Bob Biswas his many assignments are adequate and so is the man who plays their boss.

Of course, there is a connect between Bob Biswas and Vidya Balan’s Kahaani and you have to watch the two hour film to get to the end of it. Yes, the film could well have made an even better impression had it been 10-15 minutes shorter. However as an entertainer, it does manage to hold your attention for most part of it, and for that you don’t need a ‘blue’.


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