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Bismillah

Bismillah Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Bismillah Movie Review : Music on point, story out of tune

Bismillah is set in a world which reality is slightly magical, where post offices don’t have roofs, rivers and mountains sprawl endlessly, peddlers sell their wares in the middle of nowhere, their call long and loud. It sets forth the story of an impoverished family that cannot afford rice but wouldn’t sell their principles. It makes it difficult for old Rashid to match up to the pace of DJs who have taken over weddings and no one really cares about the cultural heritage brought in by the serious shehnai. However, his principles are sharp and so are his demands from his sons – especially the young Bismillah who likes playing flutes over the shehnai.
Soon after the story begins, there are several points where reality merges with dreams, where the penniless Bismillah suddenly dreams of riches and mysterious women. However, his father’s health is failing, and he must face the reality of making money. Kaushik Ganguly as young Bismillah’s (Bishu) father delivers a stellar performance, matched beautifully by Bidipta Chakraborty, who, in certain scenes, is flawless. In a very brief but significant role, Agnijit Sen draws attention. Aparajita Adhya gives a measured performance, and Gaurav Chakrabarty as DJ Shibu is quite interesting, despite the makeup.
Riddhi Sen as Bismillah is good in parts, especially in his scenes with Kaushik Ganguly, but fails to convince as a romantic hero, perhaps because of the sore lack of backstories and character development of both the female love interests in his life. This is further emphasised by several relationships that are perhaps too normalized and ignored, while certain characters’ presence is there to just prove a point, but once its proven, are conveniently discarded. The intermingling of reality and dreams at times also confuses and distracts from the narrative and also stretches it, which doesn’t work.
Expecting good music out of Bismillah is a given, with a stellar musical cast, Indraadip Dasgupta’s music, and Srijato and Padmanabha Dasgupta’s lyrics. The instrumental composition of the songs has been done quite well, especially where flutes are involved. Out of these, the title track by Arijit Singh is well-composed. Ami Dukkho Paiya by Debayan Banerjee is melancholic and soulful, especially for the flute interlude, which lingers on in the mind even after the song is over. However, the fact that there were so many opportunities to showcase both Bismillah’s full capacity as a musician as well as his fathers’, most of the times the music takes backseat and becomes an accompaniment rather than the primary focus of the film, where personal conflicts take priority over the dilemma Bishu faces professionally. The story moves erratically, especially as it approaches the end, and this is perhaps why despite great music and good performances the film doesn’t really resonate right.
— Poorna Banerjee

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