Babumoshai Bandookbaaz: A raw and gritty crime thriller that constantly plays with expectations

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Babumoshai Bandookbaaz is an Indian crime thriller film directed by Kushan Nandy and co-produced by Kiran Shyam Shroff, Ashmith Kunder, and Nandy himself. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role of a sharpshooter. Babumoshai Bandookbaaz costars Bidita Bag, Murali Sharma, Jatin Goswami, Bhagwan Tiwari, Divya Dutta, and Shraddha Das. The film is set in the backdrop of the rustic landscape of Uttar Pradesh known for its distinct dialects and strong indigenous flavors. Babumoshai Bandookbaaz is more about survival than morality and its morally corrupt characters seem to have what it takes to survive while treading these treacherous avenues where killing appears to be as easy as breathing.

Babumoshai Bandookbaaz first came in news when actress Chitrangada Singh quit the project halfway citing discomfort shooting intimate sequences with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Singh was subsequently replaced by model turned actress Bidita Bag mostly known for her work in Bangla cinema. Recently the film got engulfed in another major controversy when the former CBFC Chief Pahlaj Nihalani demanded as many as 48 cuts despite issuing an A-Certificate to the film. The film was later cleared by Film Certification Appellate Tribunal with just eight minor cuts.  

Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performance in Babumoshai Bandookbaaz may remind some of a character that made Siddiqui a household name: Faisal Khan of Gangs of Wasseypur. Siddiqui is known to get into the skin of the characters and he never fails to surprise. Recently he essayed a 50 year old balding detective in Ravi Udyawar’s Mom. Prior to that he played a no nonsense cop in Rahul Dholakia’s Raees. While the performances in Babumoshai Bandookbaaz are solid all around, it is Siddiqui who carries the movie on his shoulders; his spellbinding performance is what holds the movie together. His sizzling chemistry with actress Bidita Bag is a major highlight of the film.

Babumoshai Bandookbaaz is a raw and gritty crime thriller that constantly plays with one's expectations. While comparisons to Gangs of Wasseypur are inevitable, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz bears a much closer resemblance (in terms of style / themes) to films like Ishqiya, Omkara, and Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster. The film also pays homage to the Western genre, in particular Sergio Leone’s epic Spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Also, it would be remissness to overlook the influence of Bhojpuri cinema on Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. The subtle use of dark humor prevents the movie from becoming too serious. Babumoshai Bandookbaaz offers some very interesting conversations (the dialogues written by Ghalib Asad Bhopali are an absolute treat) but none tops the engaging exchange between two sharpshooters talking about poverty and how underpaid they are. There is a rather funny scenario in the movie involving a cop and his pesky wife that’s been done quite neatly. However, as engaging as the film is, it is alarmingly high on violence and cusswords and so those repelled by gore and explicit language are better off skipping this one.   

Rating: 7/10  

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