I remember when we were in school how we would eagerly look forward to watch Byomkesh Bakshi played by Rajit Kapur on the national television channel – DoorDarshan way back in 1993.
For the time and space when these detective series were written, it would simply leave us baffled. Having grown up reading Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christies and of course Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), I’ve always had an eye for such thriller and suspense novels and films during my growing up years.
About ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ what I liked best about the film was it’s treatment and the setting of Calcutta in the early 1940s during World War II. What a fascinating backdrop to set a crime scene which leads up to something really big – big enough to alter a city’s history.
Having a soft corner for Sushant Singh Rajput, I loved the movie even more. He is not the typical macho, crime fighting detective. He’s a believable guy with flaws and imperfections, whom you can safely relate to. He’s likeable and convincing as the truth seeker. His humility and his simplicity has a certain charisma and style.
However, I did have a problem with the spelling of ‘Bakshy’, it is somewhat not synching in too well for me.
But I did find that there must have been a deliberate downplaying of his personality to match the role of Byomkesh Bakshi to a certain time and era. Remeber Sherlock Holmes played by Robert Downing Jr (played by one of my favourite actors) – he’s lovable, sometimes funny and curiosly irritating too.
If you’re going in for some dance and item numbers or spruced up locations in the film, forget about it. The scenes, the drama unfolding are brutal, honest, sinister, menacing and whether you like it or not – on your face.
I liked that in a time where phonecalls, internet and the so called modern technology was not available, how brilliantly a man deconstructs a crime scene. It is a showcase of his marvelous intellect.
However I would like to add that I did find the glimpses of Guy Ritchie’s direction style in Byomkesh Bakshy – where Byomkesh is sitting in a rickshaw crossed legged traveling through the market.
But overall, I think the director Dibakar Banerjee has done a splendid job. He’s upped the bar of Indian film making. He’s brought to life a fictional character and made us believe in him. He took us through Calcutta at a time when it was battling through the fag end of imperialism and the second world war.
The costume, the sets, the actors, the scenes – are played out so convicingly and real that I want to go back and see it again.
A similar thrilling pulsating movie that I personally like a lot is Kahani (by Sujoy Ghosh), and I would like to add ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!” to this top Bollywood film list.
I hope Dibakar Banerjee turns Byomkesh Bakshi films into a franchise and we get to see more of his detective work unfold in front of our eyes.
Genre: Thriller/ Action/ Period film
Music: The music score is outstanding, there’s a rock number which is totally unexpected especially during the action sequences and the song ‘Calcutta Kiss’ is quite catchy, hear it on Saavn radio if you like.
Paisa Vasool: Totally! Don’t miss it.