Here’s listing the positives and negatives of why Bandish Bandits (released recently in Amazon Prime Video) is a must watch.
Story in one line – Bandish Bandits is a musical love story between a YouTube pop sensation singer and a traditional gharana classical singer…in a way it’s a straight comparison between well marketed fast food vs eloquently and extensively cooked meal. The series reminds us, and can be called director Anand Tiwari’s tribute, to the 1973 Amitabh Bachchan starrer Abhimaan.
- Visually Stunning – Having visited Jodhpur twice recently, I must still say the Bandish Bandits shots of Jodhpur make the city an even prettier place to see. This web series will market to many viewers the fact that Rajasthan – in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and now Jodhpur – has more places to visit and admire than many states and countries of the world. I can’t recall another Indian state or globally many countries which has four stunning cities to visit. The drone shots of the blue city and the Mehrangarh fort; the detailed shots of the architecture, the colourful streets, the GhantaGhar, the decor, the havelis, the verandahs, the tables, the chairs, the curtains, the drawers.. every shot in Bandish Bandits takes you to the royal era where our ancestors probably lived and ruled.
- Art as a form of meditation – The classical songs, tunes, hymns et all are highlights of the series and many of them will send shiver down the spine. Yet, what stands out more, is the amount of effort required to pursue art to the highest echelons. Executing the daily riyaz dedicatedly, doing daily chores in a particular rhythm, singing in front of a candle (without letting the fire go off), singing with needle in mouth, living like a hermit to pursue excellence… there are so many eye openers, that will make you realize, that success or achieving the highest form of excellence, requires meditative level efforts.
- Engaging – Story line is simple, extremely engaging, musically opulent and with its share of twists and turns. The soundtrack is extremely mind-blowing and that, as well as the grandiose settings, will attract you to do repeat viewings.
- Lead Couple – Shreya Chaudhry and Ritwik Bhowmik as the singing love birds, have done their parts well and make every bit, of the majority time they are on screen, worth it. The efforts they (and other actors) put in to do the parts of classical singers in arm, facial, neck, shoulder movements etc is very commendable. Both the leads light up the screen in their own ways when they come on.
- IMDB rating – This is a product whose IMDB rating has been steadily growing from 8.3/10 to now 8.8/10. This is in sharp contrast to other products where ratings initially start very high and then see some declines.
- Fabulous Opening Credits – Just second to Yeh Meri Family, Bandish Bandits has an awesome intro credits sequence, one you don’t feel like skipping at onset of an episode.
1. Low screen time to side actors – Amit Mistry as the multi-faceted brother, Rajesh Tambe as the loser, Atul Kulkarni as the one track step brother have not been explored well. They should have been given more screen time, specially Amit Mistry, and more depth in character.
2. Excessive use of abusive and sexually explicit words – Bandish Bandits would have been an ideal family watch if only to encourage kids to see the rich tradition of the bygone India and appreciate art in its purest form. But excessive abusive words, mostly needless, and Kunal Roy Kapoor with his sexually expletive lines (all this done to obviously attract millennials), makes for uncomfortable viewing with kids.
3. Elongated Naseerudin role – Naseeruddin Shah as the strict, no nonsense, legend of the art and preserver of the musical gharana, has excess screen presence than desired. At times his role feels boring.
4. Slight inconsistencies – I could be nitpicking a bit here as any ten episode series will have its share of inconsistencies. A role play between the lead couple seems forced, then a cash strapped brother suddenly finds himself selling a product for Rs 20 lacs or the sudden emergence of one elite mother, from nowhere, have signs of inconsistency in storytelling.
Rating: 4/5 (Must watch)