Before the direct release of the film ‘Bob Biswas’ on OTT, Amitabh Bachchan writes on Twitter, “My son will not be my successor just because he has a son. Those who will be my successor will be my sons.” To understand the meaning of these lines which are as mysterious as his personality, you will have to watch the film ‘Bob Biswas’. Do you remember Bob Biswas? That character in Sujoy Ghosh’s film ‘Kahaani’, released nine years ago, whose mere statement ‘Ek minute’ used to send shivers down the spines of the audience. Bob Biswas, who works in an insurance company and gets scolded by his boss, is actually a hired killer. His aim is accurate. No expression of any kind on the face. Karma is his religion and he has firm faith in Krishna.
‘Bob Biswas’ is such an experiment for Hindi cinema, on the basis of which the seeds of many interesting stories can be laid in the coming days. Interspersed stories of characters appearing incidentally in a popular story have been present in Indian folk culture since the beginning. Recently, Neeraj Pandey did one such half-baked experiment with the hero Himmat Singh of his popular web series ‘Special Ops’. ‘Bob Biswas’ is an act of greater courage than making a series on Himmat Singh on that scale. This idea was with the director of the film ‘Kahaani’, Sujoy Ghosh for a long time and he decided to make a cinema on this character for his daughter Diya’s first film as a director, who was working as his assistant. For the film ‘Kahaani’, Sujoy Ghosh was encouraged by producers like Jayanti Lal Gada and for the film ‘Bob Biswas’ he got the support of Shahrukh Khan. When the film starts, it is written on the screen, ‘We love you Shahrukh Khan’ and from there the film reaches Shahrukh Khan’s favorite city Kolkata.
Kolkata also has a heart and blood relation with the Bachchan family. The elder Bachchan gets care like a son-in-law there. Abhishek gets the affection like a grandson of the house. Kolkata is like a character in the film ‘Bob Biswas’. Even though Sujoy has shown Bob Biswas eating a lot of Hakka noodles instead of Sandesh in the changing times, Bob Biswas is identified with his city Kolkata. It is from Kali da’s shop. It is from the vegetable shops situated on the ghats and it is in the form of a city where the youth now want to come out of the bhadralok and dominate the world.
In the story, there is a daughter who is trying day and night to fulfill her father’s dreams of becoming a doctor. There is a son who is a victim of bullying in school and a wife who is troubled by the tempting glances of her boss in the office. Even Bob Biswas does not know that this family is his. He has just come out of coma. The memory is gone. Those who gave him contract to kill think that if he has come to his senses then he will definitely do the job of destroying the senses of their opponents. But as his memory comes back. At the same time, his sense of guilt also returns. He wonders what all he has done so far. He also confesses his crimes in the church but the father tells him that sins are like shadows, they are not easily chased away. Bob wants to improve. The world does not allow him to improve. Where is his fault now?
If we look at the film ‘Bob Biswas’, it is completely Abhishek Bachchan’s film. The lessons that his father learned from the film ‘Mohabbatein’ at the age of 58, Abhishek has learned the same lesson by doing ‘Manmarziyaan’. 14 years ago, Abhishek had mustered the courage to play an unconventional character in the film ‘Guru’. The new flavor of this bundle is ‘Bob Biswas’. Prosthetics, make-up, clothes, gait, everything is exactly like Bob Biswas. It takes the first 15-20 minutes for the film to set up but after that Abhishek Bachchan is not seen till the end and this is the biggest victory of this film. Abhishek’s acting in the scene of Bob reaching school to meet his son deserves an award.
The story of the film is good. There are many holes in the script at many places. Any viewer watching Hindi films can already tell what is going to happen scene by scene in the climax, Sujoy’s writing has excelled here. There was no need to repeat the dialogues in Hindi and Bengali. But, Diya Annapurna Ghosh has learned from her father’s mistakes as a lesson. Looking at the film, it does not seem that its captain is directing a film for the first time. Diya learned cinema by living with her father. This is her first exam and she passed it with honors. The film ‘Bob Biswas’ can prove to be a turning point for ZEE5. Taapsee Pannu’s film ‘Rashmi Rocket’ helped a lot in raising the level of her branding. Now the turn of the film ‘Bob Biswas’.
The supporting actors have also done amazing work in this film. Pavbitra Raha has done a wonderful job in the role of a Hakka noodles seller. Kalida Bane Paran Bandopadhyay has his own aura. Tina Desai also succeeded in leaving a mark in the role of a police inspector. But, the pleasant feeling of the film is the return of Chitrangada Singh in front of the camera after a long time. These days, stories featuring mature women are in great demand in world cinema and actresses like Sushmita Sen, Raveena Tandon and Lara Dutta can always prove to be twenty-one in this matter.
The song music of the film ‘Bob Biswas’ is average. The Bengali original songs of Kishore Kumar’s hit Hindi songs have been used well in the film. But apart from this, the film is technically a very strong film. Garrick Sarkar’s camera here surprisingly helps the audience feel the pulse of the story. His camera is not with the characters. He is with the city. And, keeps looking at the story from the perspective of Kolkata. Yasha Ramchandani has done a very careful job in maintaining the pace and duration of the film.