"Khel mein haarna ya jeetna maaine nahin rakhta, aisa usi nein kaha hoga jo hara ho. Khelna sirf jeetne ke liye hona chahiye, " quips Tabrez aka Tez (Gautam Sharma) while talking to Shroff (Kay Kay Menon) in a scene from the avant-garde film, BHINDI BAAZAAR INC.. Apart from Kay Kay Menon in a cameo, the film boasts of no big stars, but manages to score high on the entertainment quotient.
Set in Mumbai's popular Bhindi Bazaar area, the story oscillates between the past and present over a game of chess between Tez and Shroff. Through flashback scenes we are introduced to the two rival pick-pocketing gangs headed by Mamu (Pawan Malhotra) and Pandey (Piyush Mishra) respectively. Tez and Fateh (Prashant Narayanan) from Mamu's gang are childhood buddies who want to make it big. They even compete to pick maximum pockets as they run after a kati patang (deftly done sequence). But cracks start surfacing in their relationship after the sudden demise of Mamu. A treacherous game of love, deceit, betrayal and malice ensues, involving a host of other characters.
You'll find a lot of filmmakers falsely claiming that their film is 'different', but the tag certainly holds true for BHINDI BAAZAAR INC.. It might be director Ankush Bhatt's debut film, but he certainly knows how to do his job. The style of narration using chess is unique and makes for a compelling watch. The characters are excellently related on the chess board. Also, the sub-plots of all the characters are culminated with precision. Only the intentions of Shabana (Vedita Pratap Singh), who plays Mamu's saali and sleeps around with everyone, are not clear. The number of twists and turns keep you hooked. However, you do end up being a tad exhausted towards the end. And the second half does wander for a bit.
Ram Shreyas Rao's cinematography captures the by lanes of Mumbai effectively. Sandeep-Surya's music is disappointing.
Gautam Sharma underplays his raw character perfectly. Prashant Narayanan delivers an excellent performance. Piyush Mishra is impressive. Pawan Malhotra is good in his menacing act. Kay Kay Menon, who only appears intermittently, is great. Vedita Pratap Singh has scope for improvement. Deepti Naval, who plays Mamu's wife, is efficient. Shilpa Shukla (CHAK DE INDIA fame), who falls for Fateh, acts well. Shweta Verma, who plays Gautam's girlfriend, is passable. Caterina Lopez (Jennifer Lopez's cousin) sizzles in her item number. Jackie Shroff sleepwalks in his cameo.
A riveting thriller backed by superlative performances make this BHINDI BAAZAAR certainly worth 'shopping'.