Banjo (2016) - Movie Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
Banjo (2016), Directed by Ravi Jadhav, Riteish Deshmukh, nargis fakhri
Banjo (2016) By Ravi Jadhav
Banjo is a Hindi musical drama film, directed by Ravi Jadhav. Co-written by Kapil Sawant, Nikhil Mehrotra and Jadhav himself and produced by Krishika Lulla under the banner of Eros International, Banjo stars Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri in the lead roles. The music for Banjo is composed by the famous music director duo of Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani. The song lyrics are written by Amitabh Bhattacharya.

Banjo is a feel good story of four Mumbai-based street musicians whose lives change when an international singer takes cognizance of their work. It is a typical underdog story heavily laced with clichés. Nonetheless, it's quite heartening to see Bollywood make a commercial movie that revolves around street musicians. While films about musicians are quite common in the West, the concept is still quite new for Bollywood. When one speak of Hindi movies revolving around music and musicians, one is immediately reminded of films like Abhiman (1973), Anurodh (1977), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), Rock On!! (2008), etc. but such films have been few and far between. Hopefully, Banjo will pave way for more such movies.
Ritiesh Deshmukh in Banjo
Ritiesh Deshmukh in Banjo
Apart from providing an interesting take on the lives of Banjo players—who don't get the same respect as other musicians—the movie has little new to offer. But whatever is there on offer is nicely packaged. The acting performances are solid all around. For a change Riteish Deshmukh plays the lead character and not a sidekick in a major Bollywood production. Although, he is not a natural when it comes to acting, he, to his credit, tries his level best to do justice to his part. As for Fakhri, this is her strongest role since Rockstar (2011) and one clearly gets to see a tremendous improvement when compared to her recent films like Azhar and Houseful 3. Banjo’s supporting cast is quite solid. Here it is important to makee a special mention of the charismatic Mohan Kapoor who is always a treat to watch. It's a pity that overlooked by Bollywood he has been forced to pursue a career as a voiceover artist despite abundance of acting talents.
Nargis Fakhri in Banjo
Nargis Fakhri in Banjo
Overall, Banjo has all the makings of a mass entertainer. Hindi film audiences love underdog stories and the peppy music adds to the movie’s commercial appeal. Banjo movie also pays tribute to the Beatles/Fab Four and various other musical stalwarts. The pacing is good throughout the movie except towards the end. A little tighter editing would have helped. Having said that, the pros outweigh the cons! So, if you are looking to spend a fun-filled evening with your family or friends then Banjo will certainly not disappoint you.

Rating: 6.5/10

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