Critics Corner review

'Bandish Bandits' Hits The Right Tunes With its Acting Performances But The Real Winner is its Music

Amazon Prime Video’s latest original, Bandish Bandits promised a journey into music with a twisted yet predictable love story in its central focus when the trailer of the same was released. Having seen three episodes (out of ten), here’s what I thought of it-

2020-08-03T23:00:00Z

Courtesy : YouTube

Soul, voice, tunes, and sheer serenity – that is what music is capable of and as we have witnessed multiple times, how it also acts as a tool for anything the respective human wants it to be. Amazon Prime Video’s latest original, Bandish Bandits promised a journey into music with a twisted yet predictable love story in its central focus when the trailer of the same was released.

Having seen three episodes (out of ten), here’s what I thought of it-

On paper, the plot of the series is as straightforward as it can be. The amalgamation of two starkly opposite worlds to invoke love, complications, drama, and obviously music. Tamanna (Shreya Singh Chaudhary) is the quintessential pop sensation who has just burst into the scene with two mega-hits but is now struggling to keep her booming career afloat as her latest song has flopped. Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik) is a disciplined, focused, and even pressurized individual for whom music is nothing short of worship that requires dedication which is unprecedented. All the possible equations change entirely as Tamanna and Radhe collaborate for a new song which then leads to them being called Bandish Bandits.

Courtesy : YouTube

Beginning with the major positives, this show would a colossal miss if not for the music in it. We have rarely been treated with shows/films that don’t just have music as an addition but as a character to the story. Bandish Bandits excels and how and the credit for that has to be given to the musical trio, Shankar Ehsaan Loy. The album of the show is another reminder of how they are so much more than just being known as ‘Bollywood music directors.’ Almost every song in the show will have you connect with it instantly in one way or the other. Be it the playful “chedkhaniyan” or even the popular rendition of “Jaago Mohan Pyaare”, be it “Latt Uljhi Suljhao Balma” or even the teasers that Radhe keeps giving in intervals, the music is what holds the show together every time it loses grip. If you go to see, the blend of Shankar Ehsaan and Loy is pretty much the show’s format too where Ehsaan and Loy might be known for their modern touch to the music they compose and Mahadevan brings in the classical edge. Just a thought.

Courtesy : YouTube

The acting performances of Bandish Bandits is another highlight that makes the show absolutely binge-able. Shreya Chaudhary (Tamanna) makes you instantly fall in love with her. Even though the character does make questionable decisions, it is Chaudhary who does them with such ease that you cannot help but get on board with it. A radiant screen presence, good command over the craft, and an infectious smile is what makes Chaudhary a total winner. Ritwik Bhowmik had a great YouTube presence so far, and here as Radhe, he wants everyone to take note of his range as an actor. He does a splendid job showing the vulnerability, struggle, fears and even confidence (later period) making you instantly feel for Radhe. 

Courtesy : YouTube

When you have a towering presence like that of Naseeruddin Shah at the helm, you can expect nothing but brilliance. As the patriarch of the Rathore family, his character instantly reminded me of J.K. Simmons’ Terence Fletcher from Whiplash but with a lesser violent streak (haha). The rest of the cast with the likes of Sheeba Chaddha, Rajesh Tailang, Rahul Kumar, Kunaal Roy Kapur, and Amit Mistry do a fine job and amazingly, almost all of them have their own character arcs. A special mention to Mistry, who I have been an admirer of, where he plays Devendra phenomenally.

(As I have only seen three episodes, I cannot comment or talk about Atul Kulkarni’s performance where he only enters the show in the fourth episode.)

Courtesy : YouTube

Talking about the points where Bandish Bandits – falters, it has to be the predictability of the plot. There are too many clichés that are a part of the plot -  be it the idea of a millennial popstar, the gradual and predictable budding love story, the guy being forced to marry against his will track, and many more. Even though there are almost constant moments of novelty with several sequences, the little predictable moments don’t come together and tie the ends well.

But that doesn’t take away from the skilled direction from Anand Tiwari (who really needs to direct more and make more films/shows); the spectacular production design and locations that the show is shot with and at. The whole “Shuddhikaran” sequence in the show is one of my most favorite moments in history (Yes, it is that good).

Courtesy : YouTube

Bandish Bandits does suffer from obvious plotholes, formulaic storytelling, and clichéd moments but none of that is any major hindrance to the overall novelty of some scenes, binging potential and of course, absolutely mesmerizing music.

Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)

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Naseeruddin Shah Atul Kulkarni Sheeba Chadha Amit Mistry Kunaal Roy Kapur Rajesh Tailang Amazon Prime Video 


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