Banjo Cast & Crew:
Release Date23 Sep 2016
Star CastRiteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri, Dharmesh Yelande
Music DirectorVishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani
Verdict : One Time Watch
Banjo is a sweet, spirited film about a band of slumdog musicians. You can see it in the innovative way in which director Ravi Jadhav sets up the band members. There’s Paper. He’s called that because he delivers newspapers (but he also spends several hours a day fetching water for his family, so Paper’s grandest dream is a water tanker parked outside his shanty). Grease spends all day covered in car oil and dirt — he fantasises about a white home, white clothes and even a white watch. And then there’s Vajaya, who only wants to get on an aeroplane so he can push a button and have an air hostess ask, ‘How can I help you?’.
Ravi Jadhav is a celebrated, National Award-winning Marathi film director. With "Banjo", Ravi Jadhav, director of celebrated Marathi hits "Natrang, Balak Palak" and "Timepass", makes a strong case for recognising small-time street musicians as bonafide artists who have the potential to create vibrant, original music. It's a promising idea, but the script (written by Jadhav and Kapil Sawant) is too simplistic and steeped in cliche.
Chris, is a New Yorker who comes to Mumbai without any leads — she doesn’t have a name or even a photograph. But she’s mesmerised by the music. At the centre of it all is Taraat, played by Riteish Deshmukh. Taraat means bewda or drunkard. Taraat is described as ‘Banjo ki duniya ka Bachchan’. He’s a gritty, banjo-playing goon-musician. Taraat feels like he has stepped out of a 1980s film. The movie labours to showcase him as a rock star, using slow-motion entries and one-liners. All the attempts at creating a credible romance between him and Chris are sabotaged by Nargis’s absolute lack of expression. She’s both beautiful and unintentionally comical.
To be fair, the film touches upon interesting themes like class wars, what makes a true artist, the transformative power of music and of India. There is also the group's desperate need to feel respected. But these ideas are only briefly flirted with, even as the script takes familiar and formulaic turns.
Riteish has come out of his comfort zone and that’s the best thing about Banjo. Otherwise, Banjo is an over-cooked mess.
Banjo is an upcoming 2016 Indian Hindi-language drama film, directed by Ravi Jadhav and produced by Krishika Lulla under the Eros International banner. Principal photography began at the end of January 2016 and the film is scheduled for release on 23 September 2016.
Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri will be in male and female lead roles respectively.