Movie Reviews

Bhindi Bazaar Inc. Review

Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Piyush Mishra, Deepti Naval, Prashant Narayan, Gautam Sharma, Shilpa Shukla, Pawan Malhotra, Vedita Pratap Singh

Directed by Ankush Bhatt

Rating: Taare Zameen Par

When I make a gangster movie, it will feature Muslim and Hindu extremists. The Hindus will wear saffron and the Muslims will flaunt smudgy eye make-up. There will be riots too and a tranny whore, a corrupt cop who swings both ways (between the two rival gangs), etc. This was probably director Ankush Bhatt's vision before he planned to make Bhindi Bazaar Inc.

Okay, to break this film down to a line: It's about a chess game, wherein every move is vaguely metaphoric and hence intercut with a pointless story from the lives of our two lead slum dogs, Darzi (Gautam Sharma) and Fateh (Prashant Narayan). These two are children when they're inducted into the world of pick-pocketing and kite-flying (yes, the two are very connected!).

After picking roughly 550 wallets each, they grow up to become capable henchmen for Mamu (Pawan Malhotra), a local ganglord. Mamu has a mami - Bano (Deepti Naval), many nameless henchmen and a mistress, Shabana (Vedita Pratap Singh), who only sleeps with about 14 men in this movie and with some in the audience. Mamu also has an arch-enemy, an extremist Hindu, Pandey (Piyush Mishra) who had his fingers chopped-off by Mamu himself in a non-sepia flashback. Needless to say, Pandey and gang make several attempts to avenge this and Mamu's men don't let the action choreographer snooze on the sets either.

If you care, the chess game is being played between Shroff (Kay Kay Menon) and Darzi. The former responds to every move made by the latter with raised eye-brows and a bedazzled expression. The conversation between the two is, well, idiotically insightful with dialogues like, "Zindagi mein pata nahin chalta, kaunse mohre kale hain, aur kaunse safed." And they're not even drinking in this scene!

The movie prances about like a headless chicken with predictable internal conspiracies that can be briefly conveyed in this dialogue, 'Ek Mamu mara, toh doosra bana'. We also have a list of cast members who're often forgotten or not informed about the shoot location. They stroll in and out of scenes, without a definite purpose. Kajri (Shilpa Shukla) leads this pack, looking like a mare with a nose ring, hanging with the Mamu clan, hoping for a love angle and dialogues (and perhaps a 'Chak De!' sequel?). Then there's Darzi's love interest, Simran (Shweta Varma) who manages 95 % of her scenes in a public bus, limiting her relationship prospects to frivolous conversation. But the most bizarre and barely-there award goes to Jackie Shroff who plays a narcotics cop. His shots seem to be taken through candid camera, as he aimlessly lurks into the frame, mumbles lines that can't be interpreted and sways his bloated self for a quick exit.

The film's overall production quality is comparable to that of regional reality TV and the background score is solely there to hold up feeble dialogues. What is more upsetting is that veteran actors such as Deepti Naval seem to be wasted and even dependable talent such as Pawan Malhotra and Kay Kay Menon can't save this Titanic.

Making films that unearth the filth and grime of our beloved Metropolis, Mumbai, is no longer a safe bet. Not, if they're stuffed with clichés and dialogues that remind you of the back of trucks, like this one.

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