Soulful feast of classical music
“Music can change the world as it can change people”.
Films based on music are very rare species and it’s very heartening to see a web series entirely developed on music as its background which is something which we cannot see quite often in these days. It’s definitely like a whiff of new air!
The ‘gharanas’, ‘tumris’, ‘alaaps’ and those back-breaking ‘riyaz’ sessions are all there in Bandish Bandits, a 10-episode Amazon original series which is streaming now. An urban, chic, and upcoming pop singer Tamanna (Shreya Chaudhry) chances upon a conservative, introvert, and classical singer Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik) during one of her concerts in Jodhpur and sparks fly between them.
Pandit Radhe Mohan Rathod, Panditji (Naseeruddin Shah) wants his grandson Radhe to take up his mantle and take forward the legacy of the musical family. Radhe who fails in the first instance to get the ‘Gathbandhan’ succeeds in second the attempt after a herculean session of preparation to pass the test imposed by Panditji. At the same time, he becomes equally successful in falling in love with Tamanna and both of them get together to explore the new world of fusion music which opens a new chapter in their lives.
Meanwhile, Panditji who suffers from hearing disorder is challenged by his estranged son Digvijay (Atul Kulkarni) and Panditji looks up to Radhe as his successor to face the challenge hurled by Digvijay.
Radhe who gets stuck between the traditional values and true love has to make wise choices to salvage the both. But it’s not as easier as he thinks and he has to overcome many obstacles to fulfill his heart’s desire.
One can feel the rhythm of music directors Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in every frame all through the series. Those ‘alaaps’ and ‘ragas’ mellifluously sung by Javed Ali, Shankar Mahadevan, Armaan Malik, Sivam Mahadevan, Jonita Gandhi, Farid Hasan and Mohammed Aman flow through the ears and touch every heart. To top it, the monumental presence of Naseeruddin Shah added more authenticity to the whole series. Description or analysis of his performance is not required as he always excels in any character in any genre or story.
And there is Atul Kulkarni though makes a late appearance, is another actor who can sleepwalk through any character and in Bandish Bandits too he has demonstrated it once again with great ease and perfection.
The lead actors Bhowmik and Chaudhry need to hone their skills a lot in terms of diction, dialogue delivery, modulation, and expression to get a foothold and to survive in this highly competitive field. The chemistry between them look out of focus and fail to make any striking impression.
Other actors, Sheeba Chadha as Mohini, Kunal Roy Kapoor as Arghya, Rahul Kumar as Kabir, Tridha Choudhury as Sandhya, and Rajesh Tailang as Rajendra have added the much-needed fillip to the narrative with their flawless performances.
Amritpal Singh Bhindra, Adhir Bhat, and Lara Ahsan Chandni, the writers have done a tremendous job by picking up a different theme and giving it a dash of realistic touch. Director, Anand Tiwari has skillfully channelized the story into a visual and musical treasure trough in a convincing manner which is evident in every frame.
The love track between Tamanna and Radhe lacks the depth as the emotions and intensity that emerge due to cultural hiatus between the two should have been explored in a better manner. The masked man concept with Radhe sporting a Krissh like mask to camouflage his looks and stay unrecognized is somewhat cliché ridden and defies logic.
The whole narrative is very plain and the viewer who expects or rather who got habituated to a sudden twist or turn at the end of each episode may get disappointed as there are no such exciting moments in Bandish Bandits. As a result, it gives a feeling that narrative is progressing at a slower pace than expected and this is the only drawback in this series.
The ‘havelis’ and palaces of Jodhpur, those soul touching ‘alaaps’ and sensible music make Bandish Bandits a perfect setup for an altogether different kind of experience. This is a boon for all music lovers and a sense of pride for harbingers of fusion music.