Bangistan: Movie review

By: | Updated: August 7, 2015 4:32 PM

The comedy emanates from a role reversal between a militant Muslim (Riteish Deshmukh) and a rabid Hindu (Pulkit Samrat), who inhabit an imaginary land called Bangistan.

Bangistan movieThe comedy emanates from a role reversal between a militant Muslim (Riteish Deshmukh) and a rabid Hindu (Pulkit Samrat), who inhabit an imaginary land called Bangistan. (Image: Bollywood Hungama)

Bangistan: Movie review;
Director: Karan Anshuman;
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Pulkit Samrat, Jacqueline Fernandez, Kumud Mishra

Taking potshots at religious prejudice and misguided fundamentalism is one thing. It is quite another to ensure that the enthusiasm to make the jabs count does not go haywire.

Debutant director Karan Anshuman’s Bangistan is a case of wasted energy and resources. It is a well-meaning effort that falls way short of its intended mark.

Saddled with an uneven screenplay that is hopelessly frayed at the edges, all that the film offers are a few stray moments of passable humour.

The rest of it is such a huge drag that even at just two and a quarter hours the film feels like an eternity. Bangistan is a painfully laboured plea for peace that leaves the audience pleading for mercy.

The comedy emanates from a role reversal between a militant Muslim (Riteish Deshmukh) and a rabid Hindu (Pulkit Samrat), who inhabit an imaginary land called Bangistan.

The duo is sent to create trouble at a global religious meet in Krakow, Poland – it could well have been Timbuktu because the location has no real narrative significance.

The former dons the garb of a devout Hindu, while the latter turns into an Islamist.

Subtlety certainly is this film’s forte, so the audience is subjected to a riot of green and saffron at odds with each other to denote the clash of identities that triggers so much bloodshed around the world these days.

While the two lead actors go hammer and tongs at their respective characters, stretching credulity to beyond endurance, Jacqueline Fernandez pops up occasionally in the role of a bartender. She does to indeed offer relief from the mayhem.

Yes, Bangistan is that kind of film. It makes you crave for musical interludes to break the monotony. You actually wait for something akin to an item number to light up the screen.

It comes rather late in the film when the pretty damsel and the two boys overdose on shots of vodka. They sway with gay abandon as a quartet of robust singers on the soundtrack belt out ‘Saturday Night’.

The remainder of the film lacks the same of level of enthusiasm, meandering as it does through sketchily written sequences meant to deliver a message couched in hilarity.

Neither the message nor the wit comes across with any degree of clarity.

The banter between the two protagonists strains to highlight the similarities and play down the differences between them. They have two identities, but they are one mission. The dialogue borders on the banal.

By the end of it, Bangistan is a feeble whimper: high on noise and fury, low on impact.

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