After the mammoth success of Kahaani and more so with the popularity of the character of Bob Biswas (then played by Saswata Chatterjee), an official spin-off movie just arrived where actor Abhishek Bachchan took over and plays the titular character. Having seen the film, here's what I thought of it.
Set in Calcutta, we meet Bob Biswas (Abhishek Bachchan), a seemingly simple man who has just got out of a comma and is set to reunite with his family (wife, son and stepdaughter). But the catch is that he doesn’t remember anything – his memory is totally erased and doesn't recollect any of his past occurrences. How he gradually manages to tackle some unanticipated situations that lead to absolute chaos is what the rest of the film is about.
The Setting and Supporting Cast
Paran Bandopadhyay and Pabitra Rabha
Granted that Kolkata isn’t used as expertly as a backdrop as it was done in Kahaani but even then there are some wonderful scenes where Kolkata acts as a character which is pivotal to the way the story moves forward. One of the prime reasons that happens best is the supporting cast and the fact that they are Bengalis themselves – be it Paran Bandopadhyay as Kali Da, Pabitra Rabha as Dhonu or Kaushik Raj Chakraborty as Ustaad, they are absolutely phenomenal.
The Transition & Screenplay
Abhishek Bachchan as Bob Biswas
With suspense thrillers, one of the most tough nuts to crack is the screenplay. But Bob Biswas has a taut one. The transition of one scene into another along with the pacing is rather smooth and engaging enough to have you hooked on to it without taking any bathroom breaks. A feat the original movie Kahani achieved as well and Bob Biswas does well too.
Abhishek Bachchan as Bob Biswas
I have already applauded the fine performances by the supporting cast but in the end it is all about the leading man – Abhishek Bachchan himself. Bachchan is in fine fettle with the character and apart from the impressive physical transformation he has gone through that is evident, Bachchan nails the character with absolute precision. From the small moments to the ones that require him to go extra, he is fabulous. He plays Bob in the mellow moments with nonchalance just like Saswata Chatterjee did in Kahaani which makes his performance even more effective.
Chitrangada Singh and Bhanu Uday
Apart from him, Chitrangada Singh as Bob’s wife is impressive as well even though her character doesn’t offer much. However, another find in the film is young actor Samara Tijori, who plays Mini. Bhanu Uday is fantastic as Jishu Narang and a small but effective cameo by Purab Kohli as Bubai is the cherry on top
Diya Annapurna Ghosh
Debutant director Diya Annapurna Ghosh might be young but she already seems to have learned her father’s (Sujoy Ghosh) brilliance of directing and making thrillers. There are plenty moments where any other director would have chosen to go OTT or explanatory just so that audience understands. But Diya doesn’t do that. She chooses to trust her audience and their intelligence thus making a tight suspense thriller with just around 128 minutes of runtime. The fact that Sujoy Ghosh has written and produced acts as the perfect catapult for Diya to have a great directorial debut.
With suspense thrillers, there is always the worry of having multiple loopholes that can be spotted by and marked upon. While, Bob Biswas doesn’t have too many of them, there are a couple underwhelming aspects that affects an otherwise great film. Both of these come towards the climax and in one of them especially, you would feel the route of convenience was taken. Cannot divulge more or it will be a spoiler.
Bob Biswas is a great but not perfect ode to the legacy of the character and how iconic is already had become. With so many doubts about Bachchan playing the role instead of Saswata Chatterjee, one might feel completely satisfied with the former’s performance in the film. Bob Biswas is the edge-of-the-seat thriller many were longing to see (yes, it has been a long time)
Rating - **** (4/5)