If you are someone who is okay with unappealing filmmaking if the story is based on actual events and has pertinence, then I would say Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, aka Bandaa, starring Manoj Bajpayee will work for you as a moving legal drama. I personally prefer seeing craft in filmmaking. Hence the movie felt like a crowd-pleaser that explores the predictable rather than talking about the victims. With Manoj Bajpayee delivering a terrific performance as the lead character, Bandaa manages to be a memorable film despite its loud nature.
A girl named Nu and her parents go to a police station in Delhi to file an FIR against a Godman named Baba. The police arrested the Godman very soon, and he didn’t get any bail on the first hearing. Knowing that the public prosecutor is trying to help the Baba, the family decides to seek the help of a lawyer named PC Solanki. How Solanki fights this case against this Godman who has millions of followers is what you see in Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hei.
Legal thrillers that have rookie lawyers trying to get justice for their common man clients in their fight against influential people have a template that almost everyone knows. And in Hindi movies, we have seen that over-the-top presentation of that “fight.” Apoorv Singh Karki’s film, written by Deepak Kingrani, tries to place a similar drama style into bullet point events that actually happened in the Asaram Bapu case, which inspired this movie. While it feels like an informative and educative piece when you look at the points addressed by PC Solanki in court, the basicness of those legal arguments somewhere makes you question the authenticity of the court you see in the movie.
Manoj Bajpayee as PC Solanki is actually the real USP of this movie. Since the writing has generic beats, the performance of the central character had key importance in the movie’s ability to grab the audience’s attention. By making PC Solanki pretty unique in terms of body language and the way he empathizes with his client, Bajpayee generates interest in the viewer. Some of the characteristics of the character are borderline comedic. But Manoj Bajpayee knows the limit and never overdid it. Vipin Sharma was fine as the defense counsel. Even though she has only minimal screen time, Adrija as Nu was able to effectively depict the survivor’s pain on screen.
In terms of documenting a fictionalized count of events that happened during the trials of the Asaram Bapu case, Bandaa manages to succeed. But when you look at it as a film, you expect to see some craft in the presentation rather than mere documentation. The staging of scenes aspires to look like a “Pink.” But the writing is pretty flat in creating that drama. Barring the Subramian Swami sequence, it almost felt like Solanki was teaching basic law to a hall full of legal experts in every other bail rejection scene. Even though it is filmy, the points Solanki discusses in his arguments and how the survivor had to face insensitive questions from the defense counsel will make us root for her.
The based-on-true story aspect and the terrific performance of Manoj Bajpayee are two things that elevate Bandaa to become an appreciable movie. If the writer had invested a little more in the story of the survivor and the molester, I think the film would have had a more profound impact and broader look at the whole thing.
The based-on-true story aspect and the terrific performance of Manoj Bajpayee are two things that elevate Bandaa to become an appreciable movie.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended