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Qaidi Band Movie Review: Newcomers Excel In Yash Raj’s Finest Film In Recent Times!




Starring: Aadar Jain, Anya Singh

Written & Directed by: Habib Faisal

Rating: ****(4 stars)

Just days before I saw the very real and gripping Qaidi Band , a vegetable seller in my locality whom I saw regularly on the street , disappeared. When I asked his wife  about him she said he had been taken to jail after getting in a street brawl where he tried to save a friend from  a knife attack. Now, sobbed the wife, they can’t afford a  lawyer who can  bail him out.

Blessedly in Qaidi Band there is  a hotshot lawyer played by Ram Kapoor, who agrees to help innocent  undertrials free of cost. Such miracles don’t happen in real life. But when they do in this film we sigh in relief.

In  Habib Faisal’s  fast-flowing anthem to imprisoned angstSanju(played with bridled  vigour  by debutant Aadar Jain) tellsBindu(Anya Singh, a prized find) about how he got trapped into prison life. This happens in a judiciously crafted scene where Sanjuattends to Bindu’s wounded foot while narrating his tale in rapidfireloop.Yes  Sanju talks a lot. He has lot of pain to hide and he hides it well.

His healing touch is indeed balm to  Bindu’s ‘sole’.

In Qaidi Band I found many such moments of deep connectivity creeping up on me from the corners  of  the austerely articulated frames that send  out silent screams against the  cult of injustice  which we have embraced much in the same way that thousands accept rapists as godmen.

Qaidi Band hits out at the Establishment. It hits out real hard. From the start writer-director Habib Faisal means business. He wastes no time in preliminaries as  the UTs(undertrials) are introduced to us  without fuss or flourish.  It’s astonishing how much the two principaldebutants blend into the ferociously raw fabric of the storytelling. Both Aadar Jain and Anya Singh are  exemplary in their ability to comprehend the sheer desperation  of their characters’  predicament.

The  narrative is  huddled and  strong. It raises pertinent questions on the issue of freedom and then lapses into a kind of loopy climactic triumph that is purely Utopian .  The young fresh-faced actors convey the anguish of  the endless wait for freedom with conviction. AadarJain is the clown of the pack, conveying a strong sense righteousness even when wronged. Aadar reminded me of his grandfather RajKapoor. His eyes speak volumes.And Amit Trivedi’s music  does the rest.

Anya’s Bindu remains optimistic till the moment the Judge announces her bail at Rs 5 lakhs. Her  meltdown  in the  courtroom when the  honourable (and frankly weary) Judge suggests Vipaasana will convince even the most  diehard cynic that Anya is a talent to reckon with.

The  other newcomers playing desperate prisoners  are also exemplary, specially Mikhail Yawalkar as the poet and family man who waits every month for his wife and daughter’s visit and is crushed like the birthday cake that the wife brings for him, when his daughter refuses to visit.

High praise  must also be showered  on cinematographer AnayGoswami for bringing to the rust-coloured frames a feeling of arid anxiety.And Amit Trivedi’s music aided by anguished angry barbed lyrics go a long way into giving  this  remarkable film a slug at sustained excellence.

Yes  the climax  is unrealistic and Sachin Pilgaonkar as the morally compromised jailor is too much Santa too little Gabbar.  But the flaws don’t take away from this film’s long-legged statement on freedom and how we much we take  it for granted.

Habib Faisal’s film avoids the preachy route.It’s neither  a vehicle to launch new talent nor a propaganda piece like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Its efficacy  is lodged in its sincerity of purpose and  an absolute disregard for formulisic tropes and clichés.After seeing Yash Raj’sBefikre and Meri Pyari Bindu I had begin to lose faith in the illustrious banner.  Qaidi Band  is the finest Yash Raj film since DumLagake Haisha


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