Somewhere in Uttar Pradesh, a powerful man Dubey (Anil George) has a kinky inclination towards his sexual desires, a brawny masseuse is massaging his wife as per his wish (what happens next is the viewers guess), while his favourite hit man Babu Bihari (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is obeying his orders somewhere. A thorough professional, Babu consoles a terrified on looker that he has received the payment to kill one person only, no need to worry. After finishing the job, babu cooks his chicken curry while a song from Amitabh Bachchan starrer LAAWARIS – 'apni toh jaise taise' is playing on his radio.
This is how director Kushan Nandy opens his third (88 ANTIOP HILL, HUM DUM previous) film. The trailer hinted towards a rustic, dark, quirky thriller a baffling mix of desi spaghetti with the dark humor and cowboyish overtones – the scene which shows Banke Bihari (Jatin Goswami) an admirer of Babu and his competitor watching The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Hindi and trying to imitate Clint Eastwood is a gem.
If BABUMOSHAI BANDOOKBAAZ was an episodic series on net, I would have played the above scene and the entire introduction of Babu till he meets the sensuous and gusty Fulwa (Bidita Bag) again and again.
But sadly, as a film, director Kushan Nandy and writer Ghalib Asad Bhopali fail to assemble the shock, gimmicks and sensuousness into a genuinely rusty dark and quirky action thriller with gangster overtones.
The movie's unconditional fascination towards Anurag Kashyap's GOW (GANGS OF WASSEYPUR) – a terrific true blue desi gangster drama every now and then without much depth to the characters and situations make BABUMOSHAI BANDOOKBAAZ a well acted clone to Kashyap's acclaimed gangster flick that exploited the hinterland's exotica, the magical drama of classic gangster flicks and Bollywood nostalgia to a stunning effect.
Babu Bihari (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Banke Bihari (Jatin Goswami) are contract killers somewhere in Uttar Pradesh. Banke admires Babu but wants to take his place. At one point they cross each other's path and find themselves pointing guns towards each other.
There is sex, guns, some quirky fun as well. A dejavu of RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 is also felt when Babu and Banke share a connection. A sharp tongued woman politician JiJi (Divya Dutta) a typical local cop (Bhagwan Tiwari) who is a father of at least half a dozen boys and has this quirky desire to stop only when her wife delivers a girl child, some foul language, galli galloch and unintentional humor, but they don't flow in tangent and come with proper explanation, its forced and appears desperate.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the perfect fit in this imperfect tribute to Kashyap's GOW. Honestly, Babu is a cake walk for an actor like Nawazuddin Siddiqui. No one would have played Babu with so flawless flourish like Nawazuddin Siddiqui. It should be more exciting both for Nawaz and his admirers to see him looking for bigger challenges.
Bidita Bag is the raw sensuous quotient that speaks a lot through her eyes. Jatin Goswami is brilliant but his character comes without any explanation.
Divya Dutta is fine. Bhagwan Tiwari is good. Shradha Das as Banke's girlfriend is fine. Murli Sharma and Anil George chip in with valuable support.
Production values are fantastic and technicalities are sound. Vishal Vittal's camera follows the rustic lanes of hinterland with elegance. Editing by Ashmith Kunder is crisp. Music by Gaurav Dagaonkar, Abhilash Lakra, Joel Dubba and Debjyoti Mishra is situational.
Certainly, BABUMOSHAI BANDOOKBAAZ is Kushan Nandy's most ambitious and technically his best film. The fascination to the radicalism of Anurag Kashyap is evident, there is nothing wrong in getting inspired but Kashyap had a clear point of view in GOW and RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0. Even after accepting its gimmicks, sensationalisms and hinterland exotica, the point of view behind BABUMOSHAI BANDOOKBAAZ is not clear, is it a black comedy on sharp shooters, or a morality lesson that crime doesn't pay?