Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri starrer film ‘Banjo’ released this Friday. ‘Banjo’ is directed by Ravi Jadhavi, while the music of the film is composed by Vishal-Shekhar. And ‘Banjo’ somehow got poor opening, making its first day collection to 1.72 Crore.
Banjo (2016) Movie Review: Banjo Story and Plot
‘Banjo’ opens in New York, where strong-headed Chris (Fakhri) happens to hear a group whose songs have been sent by a friend from India. And, as she is entering a music competition in a couple of months, she decides to get them as her band. She travels to Mumbai and decides to search in all the slums, where the banjo culture flourishes. In Mumbai, it is an uphill task, as her friend has just heard the band in a Ganpati procession. She enlists the support of a crooked man who works for a crooked builder and he suggests that she can also do his work in return — that is, click all pictures of everything bad about the slums so that they have a case for a real estate project in its place.
Each of the banjo group she wants, Grease, Paper and Vaajya are earnest men with simple dreams who are making ends meet with by delivering newspapers or playing instruments solo, while their leader Taraat (Riteish Deshmukh), an orphan, is an extortionist for an otherwise benevolent politician. Taraat is given the job of escorting Chris around, but he hides the fact that he plays the banjo from her, as he has a fixed notion that it does not add to his persona! The four guys have a rival team, and the leader is very jealous of them. All these banjo groups are auditioned by Chris, and she does not find what she wants.
She is disillusioned and decides to return to NY, and Taraat, now in one-sided love with her, is in a maudlin mood when she breaks the news to him and tells his band to perform as a catharsis in an open space near their homes. It is this music that Chris hears and realizes that the band is her very object of coming to Mumbai. She races towards the sound and is surprised that her slum guide is the chief of the band! So far, so good, but, post-interval, the complications start. Snobbery on the part of a businessman (Mohan Kapoor) to take musicians from the streets, some progress for Chris andher new band after a performance onstage, then many tangles like the benevolent politician’s planned murder, in which the rival banjo player wants to frame Taraat with a serious charge of having drugs in his possession, his change of heart when he finds that Taraat is instead framed for murder, and many other things happen. Chris returns to New York, and the band breaks up as they want nothing to do with a criminal (Taraat). India and the world love the underdog, and can the underdog not triumph?
Banjo Movie Review: First Half and Second Half
While the first half of the film is simply super, the second half undoes a lot of the expectations. The high emotional quotient drains away into cliché-ridden melodrama, abrupt ends to some threads and a truly hurried ending. More important, there seems to be a jinx on Marathi film directors coming into Hindi cinema right from the start after some illustrious exceptions like V.
Banjo Movie Review: Performances by the Actors
Deshmukh as Taraat is excellent in the complex nuances of his role, carrying the film on his shoulders. With a more universal topic and treatment, a film like this could have made him a big star!
Fakhri does a good job as the female lead. She looks good,dances well — and actually acts very well but her acting limitations are clearly visible all through ‘Banjo’. Kenny does a phenomenal job as the foreigner. A whole lot of dependable Marathi stalwarts also give excellent performances.
Banjo Movie Review: Music Review of Banjo
The music of ‘Banjo’ is given by Vishal-Shekhar and it is a winner in three songs, but the arrangements of all their banjo-based songs by Sourav Roy are just brilliant, as is his own fabulous background score.
Banjo Movie Review: Dialogues and Direction
Ravi Jadhav’s direction could have been more confident near the end of the film, and a little less clichéd and wannabe-“ABCD”-ish throughout. He captures the essence of the struggle,the ethos of the Mumbai slums and the rawness of some emotions deftly, but is let down by the poor culmination of the film. While dialogues will of course leave an impression on the audiences.
Banjo Movie Review: Watch It Or Not?
To be faithful, ‘Banjo’ is a good film to watch but not that much great. Director Ravi Jadhav has done a bunch of good Marathi films, and lead actor Riteish Deshmukh but unfortunately this one will prove to be an exception.