Even though he had only a little on-screen time in Kahaani, Bob Biswas, an undercover hitman, was a really memorable character from that Vidya Balan starrer. The idea to make a spin-off based on that character is indeed an exciting one on paper. The attire and body language of Bob Biswas was such that there would be a genuine curiosity among people to know more about his personal life. The spin-off prequel builds the premise for this character in an exciting way. But towards the end, the film has this hurried nature to close all the diversions. Thus this thriller directed by Diya Annapurna Ghosh felt like a film that couldn’t quite reach its full potential.
The story is set prior to the events in Kahaani. Bob Biswas went through a phase of memory loss and didn’t even remember his wife and kids. So when he gets discharged after treatment, he is followed by two men who tell him that he used to be this contract killer. Bob joining back at the job and how he regains his memories during the course of that is what we see in this Zee 5 release.
The memory-lose angle in the story helps the film in multiple ways. In a way, we are also exploring the past of Bob Biswas as he himself discovers it. The kind of intrigue you feel seeing a movie like Mumbai Police (Malayalam) is there for the film initially. I also loved how Sujoy Ghosh as a writer, included the familiar cultural elements of Kolkata into this contract killer setup. But once Bob Biswas is on track, the film starts to feel a bit usual. Their idea is to portray him as a guy who has nothing to lose. But the phase of seeing him happy is so slim that you don’t really feel much empathy towards him.
Diya Annapurna Ghosh maintains that visual texture and the level of drama we have seen in Kahaani. The idea of a soft-spoken common man becoming a killer with no remorse needs a certain level of calmness, which is maintained in the treatment. But like I said, the writing doesn’t emphasize the vulnerable and humane side of Biswas. The drug track placed in the movie to create a bunch of bad guys somewhere gets lost in the climax act. The film begins with this impression that the drug cartel will have a significant space in the movie, but by the time it ends, that track ends up as a mere distraction.
Abhishek Bachchan has done a commendable job as Bob Biswas. The nerdy and shy character offered a minimal margin for error. He managed to pull it off without making it look gimmicky. Chitrangada Singh is pretty, and her role isn’t that challenging. Samara Tijori as Mini was good. Tina Desai, Purab Kohli, Paran Bandopadhyay, etc., are the other prominent names in the cast.
Bob Biswas is definitely engaging. The main reason for that is the area where the audience and the hero are trying to figure out who Bob Biswas really is. The intriguing premise starts to look too simple as the puzzle gets solved. Sujoy Ghosh’s attempt is to pitch this man as someone with a hefty emotional backstory. But the swift third act doesn’t help the movie achieve that heaviness.
Sujoy Ghosh’s attempt is to pitch this man as someone with a hefty emotional backstory. But the swift third act doesn’t help the movie achieve that heaviness.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended