Byomkesh Bakshi is considered as the Indian equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. For the quintessential Bengali Bhadralok, loosely translated to Gentleman, Byomkesh represents a suave, razor-sharp persona which the gentleman truly desires. There have been many films made on the detective who likes to call himself ‘Satyanweshi’ – the seeker of truth. ‘Biday Byomkesh’, the latest flick about the celebrated sleuth is not based on an original story by Saradindu Bandhopadhay. Our guest writer Anushka Das shares her opinion about the film. Read on…
As a fan, I was reluctant to see this one because I believed that it would scar my love for Byomkesh Bakshi forever and also because I hate goodbyes. Exactly as I thought, this movie had a terrible impact for my love for the Bakshi series because I did not want to see an old, crippled and decrepit version of him, devoid of Satyabati and Ajit. It reconsolidated my idea that some things are better left untouched and I would still want to believe that in the end, our favourite detective vanished in thin air!
When it comes to reviews, one should keep his / her emotions slightly aside because what matters is the quality and credibility of a fan fiction over emotions. The movie was a fanfiction that wanted to touch upon the humane side of Bakshi and the script essentially depicted him as family guy and an aged hapless soul who desperately misses his dead wife and dear friend Ajit without whom he believes his shotter anweshan ( The search for the truth) is incomplete. Fanfictions are always a bankable genre for a screenplay. Not only they provide a room for the director to imagine but they also bestow the power to gift the fans with a proper and a well-deserved conclusion to a much-loved story. As Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility“, it was definitely a mammoth responsibility of Arindam Sil to convince the fans.
The most important attribute of a fanfiction is to maintain the quality of the original story and I think this is where ‘Biday Byomkesh’ failed to convince the audience. The storyline was terribly amateur and felt like a ‘famous five’ adventure wherein people expected an Agatha Christie brilliance. In fact, whenever the name Byomkesh Bakshi surfaces, we can only expect a thriller, but this turned out to be mostly melodrama with negligible thrill. The sloppy storyline banked on shoddy clues ( at some point I felt I was watching some glorified version of CID and not Byomkesh Bakshi) did not work for me who has been an ardent Byomkesh Bakshi fan all along.
The transformation of Abir Chatterji to the aged Byomkesh Bakshi was brilliantly done and by far one of the best in a Bengali film. The music by Saqi Banerjee was outstanding and the acting by the titular cast was spectacular. The notable performances in this film were by Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee and Joy Sengupta. If this movie was destined to be a mere family drama then the screenplay would be a definite hit as it oozed out high octane drama in every bit. Also, the costume department was way too stereotypical by dressing while Bidipta Chakrabarty in silk sarees 24 X 7 to make her seem well- to- do “intellectual Bengali”. Old Byomkesh Bakshi was distraught and lost most of the time and was always in spotless white dhoti-kurta. The new generation, however, looked relatable but the gay police officer suddenly lost his moustache in the middle of the film!
Despite everything watch this film for some spectacular performances, music and a near perfect representation of modern-day love stories but do not forget to miss Ajit as there is no Holmes without Watson!