Review of “Bagh Bandi Khela” – A good effort to save mainstream cinema
Director – Raja Chanda, Sujit Mondal, Haranath Chakraborty
Cast – Jeet, Sayantika, Soham Chakraborty, Srabanti, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Rittika Sen
Overall Rating – 3/5
Anthology films are not a new concept for Bengali movies but in mainstream commercial cinema no one has experimented with this format so far, in that sense Bagh Bandi Khela is the first anthology film for mainstream Bengali cinema. We all know mainstream Bengali cinema is going through a bad phase and the biggest reason behind that is lack of original stories. People are continuously rejecting remakes. In such a situation Surinder Films and Jalsha Movies have joined hands to bring back mainstream cinema on track again that too with not one but three short films combined together. No matter how good or bad the stories are but the good thing is none of these three stories are copied from any south Indian movie. Another good thing is the makers have not imported anyone from outside for this work rather they have preferred to work with the regular names of actors and technicians who are very much involved with this masala movies from the beginning of their career.
So far from the promotions and the trailer it is very much clear that this is a combination of three movies named Bagh, Bandi and Khela. Still if anyone have any doubt then to clear that they have used these names in corresponding stories multiple times to make you aware that which story you are watching now. The stories are not connected by any way, a new story begins once the earlier story ends. So it is better to talk about each story separately.
The first story is Bagh made by Raja Chanda. It is an action thriller featuring Jeet as Barin Ghatak aka Bagh, an under cover cop who is on a mission to catch some criminals. This story also features Sayantika as his wife who also accompanies him in the mission for no particular reason. Although it is not a copy from any south Indian movie but the story penned by N K Salil, is hugely inspired from all those action thrillers which we have seen so many times. In fact in stead of story, it can be better called a montage of action sequences joined one after another with some routine intervals of comedy in between. Not to forget there is a forcefully inserted routine song also in the middle of all the actions. Even the twist in the climax is very much predictable. The best part of the story Bagh is the action sequences designed by Allan Amin. Jeet has executed all those scenes wonderfully. Also he is good with his comic timing when he is not shooting a gun. Sayantika is just okay in her limited scope. Rajatava Dutta is embarrassing with his over acting.
The second story is Bandi, directed by Sujit Mondal. The story begins in a rom-com format, with two wedding planners Hirak and Jayanti played by Soham and Srabanti who have created a lot of mess in their very first assignment. They are trying to cover up the mess at their best which creates some genuine funny moments including a song at the wedding reception. Soon after, this rom-com takes a new turn when Hirak accidentally witness a murder. The murderer is a high profile political leader who wants to catch and murder Hirak also as he is the only eye witness. This begins a cat and mouse chase between the murderers and Hirak along with his partner Jayanti. This chase leads them to Banaras. This story is better compared to the first one as it has some content. But again the screenplay is very routine and follows tried and tested path. There are some comic scenes during the chase sequence in Banaras which looks too immature to be funny rather it adds extra time only. Also there is one extra romantic dream song which could have been easily avoided. We really do not need a five minute dream song to understand that the guy has fallen in love with the girl as it is very much obvious from the beginning. Both Soham and Srabanti has good comic timing and they share a very good chemistry together. Biswanath Basu has tried to do something different but it do not work properly as the character is not well written.
The third story is Khela directed by Haranath Chakraborty. This is the story of a criminal lawyer Agnidev Roy played by Prosenjit Chatterjee. For him earning money is more important than actual justice. But one case changes his way of thinking when he tries to defend few rape accused where the victim is the best friend of his own daughter played by Rittika Sen. What follows that is very much inspired from the Bollywood movie Mom. Here also N K Salil has not worked much on bringing new ideas rather he has chosen to follow tried and tasted safe path. But what makes this story the best among the three is the powerful performance of Prosenjit Chatterjee. Apart from him, Rittika Sen and Shantilal Mukherjee shines in their limited scopes. There is only one song in this story which is very much situational and helps the narrative to move forward. With this story Haranath Chakraborty has proved he is still a good director in mainstream format and he should be given more chances.
Overall Bagh Bandi Khela is a good effort to bring back audience in theaters by making an entertaining masala movie. It has big stars, comedy, drama, action, music everything required for a hit movie, only thing that lacks is a good story. Except for the last one, the other two stories are too weak to grab attention. It could have been a better film if more effort would have been given for story and screenplay.