How does a hero make his entry onto the screen in a Bollywood movie? There is music, some slow moving dancers, or maybe some stunts, some vehicles being blown up or maybe some foreign locale.
Well, Banjo has changed that. The hero climbs out of a gutter.
That sets the movie apart from any other. We know we may not see foreign locales, white sarees and tulips or sunflowers or even mustard fields. We will see the actual hard work that an average Indian puts in to survive.
Be ready to be swept away by the glamorous “working class” ethos, where brooms become props, dogs replace unicorns, filthy streets are a reality we all want to deny this actuality and we all want to live in a movie wonderland which does not exist.
Cut to reality. Tarrat Bhai is a banjo player whose original name is Nand Kishor who plays the banjo for a living.
Banjo is an instrument with very working class roots. Never acknowledged and appreciated yet always booked and rented during Ganapati festivals where pomp and splendor mix with marketing and rivalry. A banjo’s sound is its attempt to come to terms with other classy instruments the educated class prefers been seen with. Wikipedia may get lots of hits from viewers wanting to know what a banjo is.
The hero is uncouth, talks like a running motor but is vulnerable and we all can relate to him irrespective of the strata of the society. We identify with someone somewhere we know. He lives one day at a time. He is on extortion payroll of the local corporator, drinks like it is an art, has no control on his tomorrow and is a good human being swarmed by circumstances his entire life.
For him love is expressed using examples that he has grown up with, sweeping the streets, crowded streets, standing on a fishing boat, dancing is a stinking filthy fishing area or simply dreaming. He does not dream of things which he does not know, recognize or knows is way beyond his reach.
But he is a star when he plays during the Ganapati festivals. He rules his own kingdom and his universe and he is not helpless like he is in real life. He has a rivalry for money and gets into music related wars but it is all about survival and about who gets the money in the end.
Cut to the female lead, Nargis Fakri is a DJ Chris, lives a privileged life New York life and for her music is her life and career and her mode of communication. She hears about this banjo artist and comes down to create music and jam with him and his gang members, Grease (Dharmesh Yelande), Paper (Aditya Kumar) and Vaajya (Raja Menon).
Director Ravi Jadhav’s has created a Karan Johar version of working class life of Mumbai.
Riteish Deshmukh is a charmer yet he has undergone metamorphic changes to be Tarrat.
Once you are engrossed in the film, he will lead you to all his hangouts and corners of his heart and he is vulnerable and feels like a looser but tries to mask it. This is a story in every corner where there are Tarrat’s.
The songs set the mood especially Undan Choo. Bappaa cannot come at a better time since we have just about bid adieu to Bappas at home and we suddenly come to face the reality of all the people who make His arrival and visarjans so colourful.
Manoj Lobo’s uses his camera to tell a story. Watch as Riteish and Nargis are lying on the boat and the sun glistens in the beach sand; to some it is dirt to some cinematic poetry. There is some hope glistening somewhere and masks the harshness of salty water and reality of life. Watch it to know how some people who matter to us and manage our daily life live. Respect.
What are the best things about the movie, Vishal-Shekhar’s attempt pays off and strikes a chord, Riteish definitely is a sure fire performer and comes out of his comfort zone to push boundaries and most importantly here is a new subject.
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