Bhindi Bazaar not worth visiting

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  • Tuesday, June 21, 2011
  • Film: Bhindi Bazaar Inc (A)

    Cast: Gautam Verma, Prashant Narayanan, Kay Kay Menon, Pawan Malhotra, Piyush Mishra, Deepti Naval, Shilpa Shukla, Vedita Pratap Singh, Caterina Lopez, Shweta Verma
    Director: Ankush Bhatt
    Rating: *

    What happens when amateur, inexperienced, and inefficient hands deal with an important project that holds the key to a whole new world?

    Most likely you get a half-baked product, lethargically put together that may hold your attention for a short span but not enough to keep you hooked.

    Bhindi Bazaar Inc is one such product whose packaging is attractive, but the real stuff turns out to be damp squib. Set in South Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar area, this edgy thriller introduces its setting and characters interspersed with a game of chess between protagonists Tez (Gautam) and Shroff (Menon).

    It is at Bhendi Bazaar that aspirations end at being the 'mamu’ (boss) of your area. It is by the railway tracks that rival gangs of petty pickpockets led by Mamu (Malhotra) and Pandey (Mishra) checkmate their childhood friends and colleague to earn the coveted ‘mamu’ tag. These power crazy men spin tales of deceit, lies, greed and yes, love (with the same woman!).

    Cleverly created chess moves segue beautifully into the screenplay (perhaps the only merit going for the film). Cinematographer Ramshreyas Rao captures well the soiled and gritty by-lanes of the locality where each inhabitant aspires to own a flat in Malabar Hill, the posh neighbourhood. The kite chasing sequence is particularly well-conceived and executed.

    In the quest to make it an edge-of-the-seat thriller, debutant director Ankush Bhatt fails to present a coherent story in the first half. The second half meanders with only a few suspense elements breathing life into the screenplay at the fag end.

    By this time, you’ve run out of patience, taken up mostly by the tasteless item number by Caterina Lopez and heavy duty bedding by newcomer Vedita, whose presence in the film is never fully justified. The dialogue is wannabe, aimed at being etched for eternity in public conscience but failing miserably.

    Showcasing masks of human personality, plagued by the inevitable lure of temptation seems to have been story writer Ghalib Asad Bhopalis’s noble intention, gone awfully wrong at the editing table. The music is jarring and forgettable.

    Newcomer Gautam shows promise as Tez, but will have to be seen acting more to prove his versatility. Narayanan plays the bad guy with aplomb, and now we’d like to see him expand his horizons. Menon has little screen time, but definitely shines. Malhotra and Mishra are the show-stealers as Mamu and Pandey as they stand out as leaders of their respective gangs. The sidekicks do a satisfactory job too. The women, (Naval, Vedita) with the exception of Shukla don’t have much to do. Shukla is impressive. It’s beyond imagination how, with a cast so talented, a promising project like Bhindi Bazaar could go awry.

    It’s certainly no ‘risk’ to miss out on the momentary thrills that Bhindi Bazaar offers. If you’re not a hopeless Mumbai freak in search of these, stay at home, sip a cup of chai and enjoy the rains.


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