Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bidita Bag, Divya Dutta, JatinGoswami
Directed by: Kushan Nandy
Rating: *(1 star)
There is no polite way of saying this. So let’s just put it straight out.Babumoshai Bandookbaaz is a revolting violent piece of cinema, almost sure to make the sensitive squirm if not throw up.
The body-count and the bawdy encounters are high, so high you sometimes feel the writer and director pile them on(the bangs and the f..ks) only so we can be shocked out of our senses. But beyond a point, the gore is a bore.And the sex is a yawn.The much-discussed lovemaking between the eager-to-score Nawaz and his eager-to-oblige co-star Bidita Bag are as erotic and titillating as two canines on heat doing it on the road because…well… they don’t know any better and can’t wait to get home.
Nawaz plays a man who enjoys sex. He copulates with frenzied but mechanical vigour with Bidita and later, much later, with his protégé’s girlfriend (Shradha Das). The women,obviously eager to project rural liberalism, seem willing and eager to have sex anywhere anytime. In one sequence the very accomplished Divya Dutta is on the run from her purported assassin with a compromised burly cop(BhagwanTiwari). She abuses him physically and verbally and then lets him ….umm… do pokey-pokey with her.
A little later Divya buried to her beck in a scorpion-infested marshland. This is what happens to bossy over-sex female outlaws.
This, then is the blueprint of Kushan Nandy’s wild wild wasteland.Nawaz is the assassin on rent who doesn’t think twice before pulling the trigger, as long as he gets paid his price.He performs the killings with rent-card precision and discusses the murder as any professional would discuss his day’s activities.
Manoj Bajpai got to that level of violent professionalism in RamGopal Varma’s Satya two decades ago.Nawaz for all his credible crassness must stop playing depraved morally reprehensible characters who kills and maims with chuckling pleasure.
Characters are thrown in the simmering cauldron of mofussil carnage randomly to titillate with their cheesy fantasies.A senior gangster(AnilGeorge) likes to watch his naked wife being massaged by a stranger.A middleaged cop(Bhagwan Tiwari) makes his wife bear broods of sons until she can give him a daughter. The subverted patriarchy of such episodes is lost in the ear-shattering noise decibel generated by the characters self-serving antics.
The soundtrack is as painfully selfconscious as anything else this emasculated emaciated ode to Kashyap and Ritchie has to offer. I caught three songs from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand playing lazily at three different points in the story.It’s all about effect rather than cause.
After watching him do it repeatedlty the shock-value of watchingNawaz perpetrate arbitrary violence is long over. In BabumoshaiBandookbaaz he tackles his raunchy renegade’s character with smugness and boredom. His right-hand man played by JatinGoswami scores merely on novelty.Sorrily, Nawaz’s image of the creepy sociopath has reached a saturation point. So has the genre of the gangster drama.
We’ve seen it all in the cinema of Ram Gopal Varma and AnuragKashyap. Kushan Nandy brings nothing new to the theme. By merely accelerating the violence murder mayhem and copulation the narrative only exposes its own anxious insecurities so clumsily cloaked in random pumping of bullets and other phallic objects.
Babumoshai Bandookbaaz attempts to forge a deep bond between physical violence and lawlessness in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh. But the merger of mayhem and luridity never transcends the high-school level of attention-seeking.There isa repeated shot of a young boy riding his mp’bike with his father as pillion.Such visuals are poor compensation for bonafide insight into how gangsterism has evolved since Varma and Kashyap played with the genre.
The most interesting factor among the fractured plot points is the guru-mentor relationship between Nawaz and Goswami. There is a kind of smothered Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid in the way the duo play off against one another. In one sequence after Nawaz’s mistress performs a raunchy dance for him and his pupil , Nawaz in a drunken generous mood, offers to let her have fun with the younger man. It’s a moment that defines the film’s spirit of sustained sensationalism.
The violence is bred not from the director’s inner conviction but from the yearning to shock us with groaning heaving moaning in bed and in the bloodshed. Midway through the orgy of pogrom targeted alike at debauched victims and good taste,T S Eliots words from The Wasteland resonate in Nandy’s own wasteland:things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, a blood-dimmed tide is loosed.
Too bad we are trapped in this artistic anarchy .Run, while you still have a chance.