Bollywood has seen many films that were based on the theme of terrorism. Be it A WEDNESDAY!, BLACK FRIDAY, MISSION KASHMIR, FIZA...to name a few, Bollywood has 'been there, seen that'. However, there have been a few satirical comedies made in Bollywood on this subject that includes successful films like TERE BIN LADEN and FILMISTAAN. This week's release BANGISTAN is again a satirical take on terrorism. Will it hit the Box-Office 'Bang-on' or will it completely miss its target, lets analyze.
BANGISTAN begins with the 'demographical introduction' of a fictitious country named 'Bangistan'. The country is divided into two parts with North Bangistan occupied by Muslims while South Bangistan occupied by Hindus. As the name suggests, the country is full of people who believe that the only way to bring peace to the world is by the means of violence and the south and the north are always at war with each other. On the other hand, the focus shifts to a video conferencing call between religious heads of Bangistan, Imaam (Tom Alter) and Shankaracharya (Shiv Subramaniam), discussing about the upcoming '13th World Religious Conference' that is to be held in Poland. There happens the introduction of Hafeez Bin Ali aka Harold (Riteish Deshmukh), who quits his job at a call centre after a certain 'religious backlash'. He then gets handpicked by the chief of 'Al-Kaam Tamaam' to represent their outfit and to become a suicide bomber to blow up the peace conference. In order to avoid being 'recognized' by anyone, he completely metamorphoses into a Hindu as 'Ishwarchand Sharma'. On the other hand, there also exists a struggling actor Pravin Chaturvedi (Pulkit Samrat), a devout Hindu and also a follower of the religious Hindu outfit 'Maa Ka Dal'. He too gets handpicked by the leader of 'Maa Ka Dal' in order to double up as a human bomb at the peace conference. Just like Hafeez, Pravin too undergoes a completely metamorphosis, the only difference being that he disguises himself as a Muslim under the name of 'Allah Rakha'. Destiny makes the duo meet each other not only at the airport on reaching Poland (where they strip themselves to their bare minimum on 'humanitarian grounds'), but also end up as neighbours. Noticing how much they respect each other's religion and how similar they are, the duo become close friends in an alien country â€¦ until one day Pravin discovers (read 'uncovers') the real motive of Hafeez Bin Ali. What happens to their 'friendship' after this discovery, does the duo succeed in bombing the religious peace conference is what forms the rest of the film.
First things first. The film fails to start with a 'bang' (no pun intended!) and this 'bang-less ness' continues throughout the first half of the film. The two things that act as a uniform villain in this film are its terrible screenplay (Puneet Krishna, Sumit Purohit, Karan Anshuman), which is doubled with poor direction (Karan Anshuman). The film starts lagging endlessly in the first half and picks up its pace (only at handful of places) in the endlessly stretched second half. Karan Anshuman's lack of technical expertise in film direction shows throughout the film. He fails to extract the good performances from the star cast, even though the film's cast is way more capable than what they are made to do in the film. In this supposedly comedy film, there are barely any moments that bring a smile on your face and through the most, you stare in horror at the pointless happenings on the screen.
As far as the film's actors are concerned, no prizes for guessing that the film depends on lead actors Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat. Riteish has earned a reputation of being a brilliant performer when it comes to comedy with strong comic timing. However, it's shocking to see that he has been given a serious role with perpetually a dead-pan face in Bangistan. He is supposed to be a serious guy who for some reason has an emotional turmoil while funny things 'just happen' around him. However, none of these proceedings are funny enough and you can see a talented Riteish struggling with his part in this sinking ship. On the other hand, Pulkit Samrat tries his level best to be the loud funny guy that the director wants him to be, but struggles miserably. There are places where he starts looking and behaving like a rank amateur actor. All in all, Pulkit Samrat really needs to buck up his act fast in order to sustain himself as an actor in the long run. It was sad to see Jacqueline Fernandez getting reduced to a mere prop in the film, although her role could have held much more steam. She is just there for a handful of scenes and a song. Period. Sadly though, even the supporting actors in the film fail to successfully lend their support to the film as most of them are made to give hammy performances in this directionless film.
While there is nothing memorable about the film's music (Ram Sampath), even the lyrics fail to register in the mind. The film's editing (Shweta Venkat) is average. The film's cinematography (Szymon Lenkowski) is possibly the only saving grace of the film.
The problem with BANGISTAN is that it tries to be too many things at the same time. The film's promos promise a comedy however, the jokes soon start falling flat one after the other. Then the director suddenly decides to make a preachy film with a social message on religious harmony.
On the whole, BANGISTAN is a pointless film that fails to make you laugh or entertain. Skip it.