Bandish is a terribly bad film. I wonder why an intelligent filmmaker like Prakash Jha who gave us classics like Damul and Parinati would attempt such a lousy remake of the classic Dickens' novel "A Tale of Two Cities".
Bandish has almost nothing to recommend itself to the audience. It's a simple story of a village bumpkin, Ramgulam (Jackie Shroff) who faces a village trial or "panchayat" (to be more precise) as he owes money to a fellow villager. On the other hand, Ramgulam promises his girlfriend, Kanta (Juhi Chawla) that he will marry her after he pays off his debts. Saying so, he boards a bus to Bombay. After Ramgulam goes to the city, Kanta misses him and longs for him to come back to her. Finally, the "seedhi-saadhi" Kanta decides to go to Bombay to search for her fiancée. Unfortunately, everyone wants to take advantage of the "seedhi-saadhi" girl once she goes to Bombay. This includes, Rangaswami (Paresh Rawal, looking awkward as ever) who lusts for Kanta. In a major turn of twists, a lookalike of Ramgulam, Kishan shows up. He's an awful thief who has no knowledge of his future. His conscience is practically "dead". Kishan spots Kanta and falls in love (or lust) with her. Obviously, Kanta takes Kishan for Ramgulam and that gives her a license to sing a duet or two with him until the truth eventually turns up.
What happens next is too predictable to tell.
Jackie Shroff does nothing new in this film. He is an actor who doesn't have a definite style to his acting. He wears a single expression on his face throughout and looks bored. I don't even blame him for his bland performance. Juhi Chawla balances both her "village belle" type look and the sensuous look perfectly. She had to look hot in two of the songs and she does it pretty well. Kader Khan is wasted. Paresh Rawal is mundane and looks awful with his protruding teeth. But that's a stereotype for Hindi movie villains, I guess. There's nothing much to write about his performance. One hardly notices that Raghuvir Yadav appeared in a cameo in this movie.
Prakash Jha apparently lost his focus when he said he is venturing into commercial cinema with Bandish. His direction was jittery and the way some scenes proceed just show his lack of interest in this movie. Prakash Jha is a capable director, but if he continues to make lower quality of films like Bandish, it might be the time for him to quit. I request him to come up with a much superior product next time.
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