Movie Memories At The Strand

critic's rating:  3.0/5

Bob Biswas, the everyman killer, was one of the most interesting characters in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani (2012). Nine years down the line, his daughter, Diya Annapurna Ghosh, marks her directorial debut with a spin-off to Kahaani, with Bob Biswas as the central character. Bob, was played by Saswata Chatterjee with much elan in the original but here the makers have replaced Saswata with Abhishek Bachchan. The assassin has been under a coma for the last eight years. He wakes up with no memory of who he was. We come to know he has a beautiful wife Mary Biwas (Chitrangada Singh), a teenage daughter Mini (Samara Tijori) and a preteen son Benny (Ronith Arora). The daughter is from Mary’s previous marriage. Mini wants to become a doctor and due to exam pressure becomes addicted to a drug called ‘Blue’ – which are big button-like tablets blue in colour. The tablets increase concentration and help them stay awake all night. That’s one strand of the story. The other strand includes two government agents grooming Bob to become a killer again, this time seemingly for the good guys. He has no recollection of who he is but has enough muscle memory to put together an automatic revolver and point and shoot with unerring aim. Another strand includes a secret society or killers and their helpers, a la John Wick. Its prime members are Dhonu (Pabitra Rabna), an Indian-Chinese stall owner and Kali Da (Paran Bandopadhyay). Kali Da is the supplier of guns and ammunition under the guise of running a pharmacy and is someone who deserves his own film. 

Well, soon Bob becomes a full-time killer again. Though he isn’t doing it for the money this time but hoping to get his memories back by following a familiar routine. He does find out a few facts and comes to know he wasn’t a good man before the coma. He believes that he can escape the karmic punishment for his crimes and lead an idyllic life with his new-found family. But sadly he’s made to pay a heavy price for sins he committed in a previous life…

Sujoy Ghosh, who wrote the story, uses memory loss as a great narrative device to connect Kahaani with its spiritual sequel. For some time at least, you’re convinced that the family surrounding Bob isn’t real but are actors hired to lull him into a false sense of security so he can lead them to the deeper secrets of his life as an assassin. Alas, it isn’t to be. The family is genuine indeed and the film segues into being a run-of-the-mill thriller. The writing isn’t as taut and lucid as the original. Too many characters pop up with conflicting agendas. For example, Purab Kohli’s character is bumped off by Bob at the behest of the very kingpin for whom Purab was selling drugs. There’s no justification for the killing. Then, we aren’t told why and when Mary decided to marry Bob after her husband’s murder. The timeline is all blurry. There are many such questions that remain unanswered. A hardcore killer suffering from memory loss – it’s a gem of an idea alright but the screenplay leaves much to be desired. 

The film would have fallen flat if not for the performances. Chitrangada Singh doesn’t put a foot wrong as a dutiful wife who finds happiness again after eight long years. Though she’s apprehensive about her husband’s amnesia, she’s hopeful that her love will help overcome it. She and Abhishek gel together so well that they don’t feel like a screen couple working together for the first time. Newcomer Samara Tijori, who happens to be Deepak Tijori’s daughter, too makes a confident debut. She’s your typical teenager struggling with the generation gap on one hand and the stress of studies on the other. Abhishek Bachchan has been experimenting off-late playing immersive characters and his risks have reaped rich dividends. He hasn’t aimed to eradicate the memory of Saswata Chatterjee but gives his own spin to the much-loved character. He plays a man who slowly discovers he’s a monster and then makes his peace being one. It’s a layered portrayal by Abhishek and can be counted as one of his best performances so far. Debutante director Diya Annapurna Ghosh gets the basics right and manages to elicit fine performances from her cast. She’s made a promising debut and is sure to grow into her profession…

Trailer : Bob Biswas

Source : https://www.filmfare.com/reviews/bollywood-movies/bob-biswas-movie-review-51696.html

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