Handling satire on current social, political and religious sentiments is never an easy job, at least not as easy as reviewing (bashing; in other word) other's films. With BANGISTAN, noted film critic Karan Anshuman sneaks into the other side of the business now where he's all open to face the shots he's been taking at till now. And I stand in full salutation for him choosing a subject which is more than relevant in today's times.
We desperately need to develop our abilities to laugh at some of the most serious issues in our lives. Satires act like catalysts in trial of that exercise. Sadly, BANGISTAN promises a lot on that front but misses the target by large. Some serious smart writing, sincere efforts and unambiguous intention are all you need and not a buffoonery plot, chaotic climax and pretentious performances to save the day. Here Mr Critic disregards what he's been preaching all his life.
The film finds its base in a fictional land where two religious radical groups are at warfare to gain supremacy. You don't need those visible hints to guess that we are looking at our popular Hindu-Muslim extremists. Smartly, both the group heads are being played on screen by the same actor (the dependable Kumud Mishra in double role). Two sides of the same coin? Get it? Meanwhile, there are Shankaracharya (Shiv Subramanium) and Imam Saab (Tom Alter) secretly working towards peace, love and harmony between the two communities.
Now, the radicals are planning to make a big shout at the international religious summit to be held in somewhere in Poland. The hardcore half wits chosen to bomb the Peace convention are Praveen Chaturvedi (Pulkit Samrat) and Hafiz Bin Ali (Riteish Deshmukh).
BANGISTAN starts with a bang and showers hints of satire in almost every scene, dialogue and frame but runs out of impressive ideas and additions soon after the successful take-off. The Islamic extremists are seen cursing America's policies against them sitting in an American fast food joint named FcDonalds. Well and good! The two chosen activists with switched religious identities and orientations for a fool-proof operation fights for each other's religious convictions is too quite exciting but soon, it gets stretched over its limits.
And then comes, the all preachy, pretentious and predictable climax where all this 'laugh and think, and laugh again' satirical efforts ends in the melodramatic way of finishing it off so that you can go home and not die there.
Another big letdowns are the performances; Riteish Deshmukh is some relief and considerably 'at it' for the most parts. Pulkit Samrat doesn't even try to get out of the impression that he is acting only to impress or imitate Salman Khan. Jacqueline Fernandez is credited here as 'in a special appearance' and that doesn't mean she is doing anything special to the film. Chandan Roy Sanyal is good. Aarya Babbar is funny at places. Veterans Kumud Mishra, Shiv Subramanium and Tom Alter don't disappoint, though are there only for few scenes.
At best, BANGISTAN is one of those incalculable films in which good cinematography, better production design and scenic locations lure you to stay idle in your seats till the lights go on.
Otherwise; even in its 2 hours of modest duration, there are times when you start questioning your sense of judgment about the film, and not about the extreme religious sentiments the film supposed to hit on. Sad, silly and superficial!