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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Bob Biswas Review: Abhishek Bachchan Hits The Right Target

Bob Biswas, the highly anticipated Bollywood film finally receives its World Premiere on ZEE5 Global which marks another partnership between Boundscript Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment post-Badla (2019).

The movie begins with Bob Biswas (Abhishek Bachchan), who has lost his memory, gradually discovering his profession as a contract killer with the help of his wife (played by Chitrangda Singh). Simultaneously, the distribution of a dangerous drug called ‘Blue’ is claiming the lives of several youths and cop Indira Verma (Tina Desai) is on the hunt for the perpetrators. What happens next? Watch the film to find out.

There have been debates on the casting of Bob especially about how Saswata Chatterjee will not ‘reprise’ the role after he first played it in 2012’s Kahaani. However, Bachchan seems to be the apt actor, for me. The difference here is that the original Bob was a threat to the protagonist, whereas here, the antagonist himself is faced with the menace. Essentially, Bob becomes the Vidya Bagchi of his own story, in a way.

So why is Abhishek the ideal actor? Well, it’s his familiarity that convinces us regarding Bob’s background as an ordinary family man. Whilst it shows a more ‘humane’ side to him, the cool yet chilling demeanour is very much prevalent. Abhishek perfectly captures the killer’s dorkiness and eerie smile well. On a performance level, he certainly impresses. In fact, there is a scene when he confronts a school bully and his demeanour in this part sends chills.

Exploring the concept of Biswas is fascinating as there is wide scope to develop the story. Not to compare this with Sujoy Ghosh’s work, but why Kahaani worked majorly for me is because (majorly) city sounds are authentically captured. Similarly, the streets and galis are also like additional characters.

With Divya Annapurna Ghosh making her directorial debut, she does an okay job, though the screenplay could have been tighter and what also does not help is the commercialised approach to storytelling. Times, when a Hindi heartbreak song plays in a dream sequence, impairs the movie’s simplicity and rawness. In addition, there is an important background story that does not reach a proper conclusion, making it quite half-baked due to ‘circumstances’ arising within the climax.

There are a few cliched scenes that bring down the film’s realistic appeal and seem to be forced in order to portray a ‘heroic’ side to Bob. I would’ve preferred a more concise and raw build-up. Moreover, it seems quite difficult to digest a Ghajini-ridden Bob Biswas and the ‘memory loss’ premise just seems quite random but the drugs angle is relevant. We also see Purab Kohli in a brief role as a peddler and does well. Chitrangda does not have much to do and her character is quite weakly written. Samara Tijori makes a promising debut as the drug addict daughter of Bob. She is an artist to look out for.

The overall positive thing is that Bob Biswas is not an unbearable venture and it does attempt to present a humanised identity story of Bollywood’s most chilling villain. However, I can’t help to imagine how the movie would’ve turned out to be had Sujoy Ghosh stepped up as director. Watch it for Abhishek Bachchan’s sincere effort.

⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

Bob Biswas streams on ZEE5.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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