Director Dibakar Banerjee has given us some interesting off-beat movies such as Oye Lucky, Love Sex Aur Dhokha and Shanghai. Now he joins hands with India’s premier mainstream banner Yashraj Films to present his take on Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s famous fictional detective Byomkesh Bakshi. In the early 90s, Rajit Kapoor had essayed the celebrated private eye’s role in a TV-series that is still a cult favourite. So how does the much-loved fictional investigator fare in this cinematic adaptation?
What’s the plot?
Byomkesh Bakshy (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a cocksure brainy guy, who is just out of college and making his niche in Kolkata as a private detective. A fellow collegian (Anand Tiwari) approaches him to investigate the disappearance of his estranged father. Following the leads, Byomkesh lands up in a shabby guesthouse managed by an elderly doctor (Neeraj Kabi). Staying in the guesthouse to find out more about the disappearance, Byomkesh keeps encountering different characters and situations, which make the case far more complicated than he ever imagined. It is clear that someone is playing a clever cat-and-mouse game with him for some really high stakes. Will he crack the mystery? What will he unearth?
· Dibakar Banerjee writes an original plot based on tBadyopadhyay's popular fictional detective.
· He lovingly recreates Kolkata of the 1940s World War II times. The settings, costumes and the overall gloomy greyish colour scheme gives the film a perfect mystical period look.
· Sushant Singh Rajput gives his best shot to the portrayal of the central character. He is endearing and energetic but doesn’t really look like a grey cells-wielding genius!
· The supporting cast is good. Swastika Chatterji, Divya Menon and Neeraj Kabi all have their moments but in his role of a client-turned-assistant, Anand Tiwari steals the show with some wonderful expressions.
· The understated humor works well.
· The film begins well but then proceeds quite tediously.
· Considering the elaborate build-up, neither the villain nor the final explanation feels gripping or shocking enough.
· Background music- (It is good!)- is used sparingly and a better usage could have lent some much-needed urgency to the on-screen proceedings.
· What’s it with Indian directors and Tarantino-esque action sequences?
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy makes good viewing if you see it just as a stylized period drama. But it is definitely less than satisfactory as a detective saga. Such a mystery works well when it keeps you intrigued with twists and turns at every corner, dishing out a shocking surprise in the end, tying up the loose ends neatly and making you feel “Oh, I never saw that coming!” For me, Kahani managed to do it, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy didn’t!
Banerji’s film is doubtless well-crafted and visually beautiful but it clearly suffers from laborious pacing and lack of shock element. Its open ending obviously hints at a second coming. Hopefully that would be better!