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Byomkesh O Agnibaan movie review: Anjan Dutt’s film is an ambitious but half-baked endeavour

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Throughout the ’90s, the guitar-strumming Anjan Dutt had ruled the music scene in West Bengal with his true blues tunes that were reminiscent of Bob Dylan, and his piercing lyrics that slashed the garb of decorum and exposed the ugly face of society around him, never missing a chance to make a philosophical statement in the process. In the last 17 years of this millennium, however, Dutt has primarily focused on making films. Quite a few of these films have done well at the box office. Some of them have gone on to earn considerable critical acclaim as well. And they have done so because they are essentially good films. His latest offering, Byomkesh O Agnibaan, is not a good film.

Poster for Byomkesh O Agnibaan

Poster for Byomkesh O Agnibaan

Byomkesh O Agnibaan (Byomkesh and the Arrow of Fire) is the sixth film in Dutt’s Byomkesh Bakshi series, featuring the eponymous detective or ‘satyanweshi’ (truth seeker), created by veteran Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. When a mysterious guest comes visiting Byomkesh Bakshi, and leaves behind a strange matchbox, the detective realises that he is being sent a message. Meanwhile a matchbox laced with a highly toxic chemical goes missing from police inventory. The story then moves back to an earlier case that Byomkesh had handled several years ago — one in which a young woman was found dead with a matchbox in her hand. As Byomkesh goes after the mysterious visitor, the earlier case is narrated in flashback, until the film’s climax reveals the villain.

The adaptation of Byomkesh Bakshi has been assayed by several eminent filmmakers for both the silver screen as well as television — including names such as Satyajit Ray and Basu Chatterjee. In Dutt’s latest outing, Bengali actor Jisshu Sengupta portrays the sleuth. In adapting a popular classic such as this, it is of utmost importance that the actor looks the part. But while Ray’s Uttam Kumar had the king charm that made audiences readily accept him as the sleuth, or Chatterjee’s Rajit Kapoor had the quintessential Bengali bhadralok look that made him pull off the role with admirable finesse, Sengupta simply does not work as Byomkesh Bakshi — at all. His untimed humour misses all the marks. His analysis isn’t convincing enough. He does not show those little ‘sparks’ of intelligence and wisdom — so essential to Byomkesh. And that’s just the beginning of the problem.

As described before, the film is a merged adaptation of two Byomkesh adventures — with the stories being narrated in two separate timelines, one in the present, the other in flashback. As ambitious as such an exercise is, the efforts are half-baked, to say the least, and the result is a confounding confusion of who is who and what on earth is going on — even to those who have read both the original stories several times. In the ensuing confusion, the one who suffers the most is the poor viewer, who sits through a cacophony of shootouts, chases, action sequences and unnecessary set pieces that produce a jarring effect while trying to look ‘cool’. The makers of the film have tried to give the film a noir look, and while to their credit, this effort does work in places, it does very little to help the soul of the film – the story. The writing is lazy, the humour coming in all the wrong places and the other emotions not looking real at all.

In fact, some of the film’s funniest moments are unintentional, for instance during a scene where Swastika Mukherjee’s character tries to seduce Byomkesh Bakshi, or in another scene towards the end of the film where Byomkesh and the antagonist sit down at a club after shooting each other — the two grimacing in pain and still offering the other a chance to speak. These are times which make one cringe and laugh at the same time. Throughout the rest of the film, there is not a single moment of respite from the frightfully shoddy storytelling and the astonishingly terrible cinematic experience. The greatest waste of the film, however, is in the total failure of the director in trying to extract a convincing performance from the otherwise brilliant actor Saswata Chatterjee, as Byomkesh Bakshi’s dear friend and sidekick Ajit. What a terrible waste of talent!


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Kevin Hart hints at rebooting Mrs Doubtfire after starring in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

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Kevin Hart might be enjoying the positive response to the Jumanji reboot, Jumaji: Welcome To The Jungle, where he is starring alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black, but the internet might be alarmed by his latest musings, a Mrs Doubtfire remake as reported by NME.

Kevin Hart. YouTube

Kevin Hart. YouTube

“I’ll stay on the Robin Williams train and say that if I could jump into Mrs Doubtfire,” said the actor-comedian in an interview to CinemaBlend. “That was a very amazing performance on both ends for him. I think that’s one I’d love to get to play in,” said Hart.

A reboot of the beloved 1995 Robin Williams hit Jumanji, where the characters got sucked into the world of a board game and have to fight for their survival, had Kevin Hart joining a new adventure, where Jumanji is a video game in its 2017 avatar.

However, since Robin Williams passed away recently and has immortalized the character of Mrs Doubtfire, fans of the film might not take kindly to a contemporary reboot of the film. The role will indeed prove very challenging for any actor to convincingly place himself in William’s shoes.

Perhaps, Hart should stay content with the fate of Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle and not worry about remakes of Robin William’s classics, and perhaps take a cue from fellow actor Jack Black who had chosen to pay his homage to William via less grander pronouncements.

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Ed Sheeran says he already has a James Bond track up his sleeve in case MGM wants one

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Ed Sheeran might have faced a surprising Grammy rebuff this year, but the British singer continues to ride high with two of his singles, one with Beyonce and another with Eminem, competing for the top spot just as the year is ending. Amidst all this excitement, the singer-songwriter has revealed that he already has a James Bond song ready to go in his kitty, in case they need him to do one, as reported by the Independent.

Ed Sheeran. Image from Twitter/@PopCrave

Ed Sheeran. Image from Twitter/@PopCrave

Sheeran appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden and discussed the possibility of contributing a track to a future James Bond movie. “With Bond, I’ve had a theme tune written for about three years, just in case,” he said, as reported by the Indepndent.

Even though he has not been approached by the makers of the Bond franchise with such a request yet, he said that the song he has already prepared is good but refused to reveal its name fearing someone might steal it.

Sheeran also said in the same interview that he had used the same approach for his song with Eminem. “When we did a song together, I had the song planned. So with Bond, if ever I’m called I’ll be like ‘here you go’,” said Sheeran.

While a reluctant Daniel Craig had recently confirmed that he is once again playing James Bond in the next film, the now unofficial tradition of a reigning music star to lend a soundtrack to the iconic franchise will continue, but who will be the latest artist to bag this coveted opportunity is not yet known. Sam Smith did the honours in the previous Bond outing and was criticised for a weak track that he had claimed he came up with in 20 minutes.

Ed Sheeran sure seems better prepared if he gets a call to compose the Bond track that might even put the talented artist up for an Oscar, perhaps the only recognition eluding the superstar so far.

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Rose McGowan calls out Meryl Streep, other actresses for planning silent protest at 2018 Golden Globes

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Rose McGowan criticised Meryl Streep and other actresses for allegedly planning a silent protest against sexual harassment at the 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremony in January next year.

Multiple sources told People magazine about the protest being organised by prominent Hollywood actresses — including presenters and nominees and it was later confirmed by Claudia and Jackie Oshry on their show The Morning Breath.

Meryl Streep and Rose McGowan. Agencies

Meryl Streep and Rose McGowan. Agencies

However, McGowan was not particularly happy about the ‘silent’ nature of the protest. She took to Twitter to express her dismay.

She wrote: “Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa.”

She has since deleted the tweet.

McGowan, one of the first actresses to accuse fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, decried what she believed was a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and urged women to fight back. After leveling her accusations against Weinstein, there has since been a torrent of allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against a man who had been one of the most powerful people in the film industry. The New York Times has reported that in 1997, Weinstein reached a $100,000 settlement with McGowan, then 23, after an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. As the scandal snowballed, McGowan has emerged as one of Weinstein’s most scathing critics.

When Extra asked Streep for a comment, she replied: “I don’t know. I’m not talking. You gotta tune in, don’t ya?”

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