Superman Stats

Monday, 11 January 2016

For Your Consideration: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! [2015]

HIndie Awards 2016

For Your Consideration: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! [2015]

Like most of Dibakar Banerjee's film, it probably takes multiple viewings for DBB to grow on you. I haven't watched it twice, so I can't say that but the first time I did; I came out with an underwhelmed feeling.

That's what I felt, with the kind of hype I had surrounded under a film from possibly my favorite director of all time; what else could happen.

But that hype makes a big splash over here, including the fact that the film struck rave reviews and somewhat fizzled out because of its terrible box office draws.

Still one has to commend Yash Raj for attempting something out of the box, one must consider several aspects of this finely made film.

Here goes...

Best Picture [Drama]: Aditya Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee for Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! [Yash Raj Films]

Based on the characters created by writer Sharadindhu Bandyopadhyay in his Byomkesh Bakshy novel, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy tells the origin story of the titular character. During World War II and with the imminent threat of a Japanese invasion, Bakshi [Rajput] is entrusted by Ajit Banerjee [Tiwari] to find his missing father; leading him to a world of mystery, deceit, political complexities and seduction eventually bringing him close to his arch enemy; a man set out to destroy the world.

It is a genre rarely attempted and one not even tried in modern Hindi cinema, that already builds the intrigue of the film.

So far in its infancy as an awards show, Yash Raj have yet to make a staggering impact that reflects upon the fact that they are the biggest production studio in Hindi cinema.

There only prior campaigns were for D-Day [which they had only a small distribution hand in] and Shuddh Desi Romance. Neither one, yielding any major positive results.

This year however, Yash Raj Films are on fire; distributing and in some cases even producing some of the finest and surprisingly effective content that one would not generally associate with their brand.

That for one creates problems for Bakshy, because while a finely crafted feature; it has lost steam in the race where as its own Yash Raj counterpart [also produced by Banerjee himself] Titli has been earning raves through and through.

The other stigma the film has attached to it; is that like with Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet, Dibakar Banerjee's film is a big budget foray by an indie stalwart that did not pay dividends. 

One can see the directors heart bleed in the film and hope that a sequel is in the cards, but for now DBB has a tough struggle to make it in the top five.

Best Director: Dibakar Banerjee

A former two time nominee, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi looks like his most opulent project that reflects the directors fine technical finesse.

The greatest compliment one can give is that everything looks authentic. The only complaint; as a filmmaker Banerjee fails to deliver on what he promised, though what he gives is totally different.

Instead of the expected murder mystery thriller the film was going for or a game marred by larger political conflicts, what we get is a slow burn character study that introspects into the origins of the great detective.

It's an appealing start that propels into an intoxicating vibe. Banerjee finds a juxtapose in everything especially the music and thus creates a vibe that is both of a world we know that passed but one with a fantasy drug like quality.

It's a world that is equal parts complexly simple and intoxicatingly lovable.

Such a world is worth engaging and experience and Banerjee makes it so, this is the strength of his direction and an answer to why despite the films best intentions and its eventual failures; Banerjee is still a top choice.

Best Screenplay [Drama]: Dibakar Banerjee and Urmi Juvekar

A consistent writing pairing; the duo creates a film that very much relies on detail and aesthetic. That however doesn't deride the story of the film, if only it wasn't predictable; the slow burning narrative that highlights character would be a different take worth a huge consideration.

In many cases it is both the mix of promoted expectations, the narratives Zero origin style writing that goes against the grain of the actual character of the novel that fans love and the predictability of the main mystery; that forces this to be the films weakest link and one that threatens to derail the whole campaign.

It also doesn't help that we have seen this duo write some of the better works in their repertoire together before.

It's not a terrible screenplay, it's just one that doesn't match up and more importantly one that severely weakens the whole film. If it can sneak into the nominations then by default everything else will gain a magnificent boost.

If it cannot then it will be blamed for the failure of Byomkesh not making it into the big awards of the night.

Best Cinematography: Nikos Andritsakis

A former three time nominee and a two time winner for both Dibakar Banerjee films, Andritsakis is a surefire shot for a nomination because he creates an enchanting atmosphere and world from his lens while adhering to the tics that have made his work an important staple in revealing the natures of the films narrative.

He is by default the stories staunch support. Question is; is third time the charm?

Best Actor [Male] in A Leading Role [Drama]: Sushant Singh Rajput as Detective Byomkesh Bakshi

Taking a character that is synonymous with an underrated actor [Rajit Kapur] can turn fans away especially when they feel you have been cast simply due to your connection with the producers [Rajput is a contracted talent of Yash Raj being groomed for the future].

Yet the efforts Rajput has put into the film for months on end bear fruit. He is by far the strongest element of the film; with his performance capturing an essence of the character while solely making it his own.

It's a tough ask and the young actor proves to be up for the challenge. The tough line of contenders spoken about for this category starts from here, that is an indication of what can expect from the former one time nominee and former breakthrough winner.

Best Actor [Male] in A Supporting Role [Drama]: Anand Tiwari as Ajit Banerjee and Neeraj Kabi as Dr. Anukul Guha

Tiwari takes on the role of Byomkesh's infamous sidekick Banerjee and runs away with the role. He is the audiences eyes and the conscience of the narrative. If anything, amidst the ensemble Tiwari comes as a surprise with not only a lengthy role but one that especially stands front and center with Rajput's titular detective.

The supporting male categories are always the toughest to break into and one that Tiwari knows about having failed to crack the list twice with his good but just not yet there turns in both Go Goa Gone [Comedy] and Dishkiyaoon [Drama].

On the flip side is Neeraj Kabi in a surprising role, no one knew the actor was going to be in the film. His role is one I wont discuss but Kabi has been earning some raves for his work, though I have the opposite to say personally.

Still Kabi is an actor who missed out on a key nomination for his work in Ship of Theseus [a film I hadn't seen back in 2013]. He is slowly building his filmography and in fact despite Byomkesh has a stronger opportunity in the much loved, successful and well backed Talvar.

Both actors are very key to forming the narrative and titular characters journey as well as informing Sushant's performance.

Best Production Design and Costume Design: Vandana Kataria and Manish Malhotra/Manoshi Nath/Rushi Sharma

Capturing war time Kolkota with a fearsome authenticity as well as leaving scope for the lucid noir like quality of the film [look at those split windows!]. The production captures both the essence of the genre as well as the period, making sure that it is in the details and the backgrounds where the great lure is to be captured by the world.

The same can be said of the costuming that captures the essence of the cultures on screen.

Both awards declare outright winners and while not essentially paired, it would be hard to see whether the dazzle and reality of the film wont score wins outright.

Best Original Score: Sneha Khanwalkar, Madboy/Mink, Blek, Peter Cat Recording Co., Mode AKA, Joint Famiyl and IJA

What was that?!

Not only was I asking that question, but so was the whole world that had just watched this trippy film. Detective Byomkesh Bakshi's music is more like individual songs compounded into the narrative like an electric score. Hence all individual songs and track artists nominated.

However they are vying for the original score, on the basis that much of the film isn't conventional songs but tracks that in a wonderful twist of fate both craft the atmosphere of the film while juxtaposing it.

It's brilliant and smart choices that make Dibakar Banerjee's world and film come alive and the music is the right stepping stone for that. Guaranteed nominee?

Hard to tell, considering how confusing it can be to write up about it and hence judge.

So here it is; Best Picture [Drama], Best Director, Best Screenplay [Drama], Best Cinematography, Best Actor [Male] in A Leading Role [Drama], Best Actor[s] [Male] in A Supporting Role [Drama], Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score

Yash Raj is putting it all out for DBB with a whopping 10 considerations for nominations. What can it and should it pick up?

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

No comments:

Post a Comment