Movie Review: Bangistan

August 7, 2015

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Karan Anshuman’s “Bangistan” is supposed to be a satirical, slapstick take on terrorism and racial stereotyping of Muslims. But what it ends up being is another story.

The film, co-written by Puneet Krishna, Sumit Purohit and Anshuman, is an incoherent mess, oscillating wildly between insipid humour and all-out mediocrity as it hurtles towards a catastrophic climax.

Contrary to the intention of speaking against stereotyping, “Bangistan” and its characters are clichéd beyond belief. The Muslims have bushy beards, love meat and wear only green. The Hindus are saffron-loving, vegetarian and can recite the Bhagavada Gita from memory.

Set in a fictional country called “Bangistan”, which has a violent history of conflict, the film follows Hafiz Bin Ali (Riteish Deshmukh) and Pravin Chaturvedi (Pulkit Samrat), who are impressionable enough that they hardly need any convincing to go on a suicide mission.

They assume the identity of the “enemy” and arrive in Poland to bomb a religious conference. Hafiz morphs into a devout Hindu and Pravin grows a beard, eats chicken, and says “adaab” instead of “namaste”.

What follows is a tedious two-hour act that shows Deshmukh and Samrat failing miserably at their comic timing. It seems Anshuman, who makes his debut with “Bangistan”, cannot decide if he wants to deliver his message through humour and satire or sanctimonious lecturing. So the film has these so-called humorous situations – like a strip search at an airport – that are trite and un-funny.

There is an air of unfinished business about this film, as if it was entirely different on paper and made into something beyond the director’s control. How else do you explain a song which says –“Jab main baccha tha, mera koi dharma nahi tha” (When I was a child, I had no religion)? This, and many other lines sound like they came from a fourth-grade school play. Samrat certainly acts like he is part of one, like a child performing for his parents sitting in the front row of a school function. His expressions are over-done and he keeps moving his eyebrows and hands unnecessarily while delivering the dialogue.

His crowning moment is the hugely unintentionally funny climax, where minutes after Deshmukh’s character calls him a bad actor (in a different context), Samrat proves him right, hamming it up like there’s no tomorrow.

Jacqueline Fernandez is the token female actor in the film, appearing in four scenes and a song, and it is unclear what her role is. The rest of the cast is also clueless. Kumud Mishra, in a double role, is equally unwatchable.

“Bangistan” is a truly misguided attempt at satirizing religion. It neither engages, nor entertains.

[Also read — Interview with Karan Anshuman on “Bangistan”]

(Editing by Ankush Arora; follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay, and Ankush @Ankush_patrakar. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

One comment

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Watched the movie yesterday
Both the leading actors have done a good job.
Its a good one time watch movie

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