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Review |  23 Sep 2016 19:38 |  By Jigar Ganatra

Banjo: A Musical Disappointment

Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri, Dharmesh, Aditya Kumar, Ram Menon and Luke Kenny

Rating: 2/5

MUMBAI: Director Ravi Jadhav is known for delivering films with simple storylines.  His previous work focuses a lot on a common man with middle class values and his struggle to earn his daily necessities or the troubles faced to achieve the goals despite the talent. Banjo revolves around a group of musicians who perform at local events and predominantly use ‘Banjo’ as the instrument to create magic.

Nand Kishore aka Tarrat Bhai (Riteish Deshmukh) is an artist, who lives in the slums of Mumbai and plays Banjo for different occasions purely to entertain people and earn some money. He is a part of the band which has Grease (Dharmesh), Paper (Aditya Kumar) and Vajaya (Ram Menon) as other musicans who support him. One fine day, during the popular Ganpati festival in Mumbai, Mikey (Luke Kenny) spots the band and sends the recording to Kris (Nargis Fakhri), a musician based in New York. She listens to the music and instantly decides to record songs with them and be a part of the Limitless music festival.

This spontaneous decision brings her to Mumbai in search of them. She is sent to the slums by her friend’s uncle for an assignment, where she meets Taraat as the guide. He works for the local politician an extortion agent. Unaware about her intention to come to Mumbai, Taraat as ordered takes Kris around the slums and eventually gets attracted to her. She begins her hunt for the band and after many unfortunate occasions comes to know that the person she was actually looking for is no one but Taraat himself. What follows ahead are a series of incidents where they struggle to make a mark in the city. Will they earn more respect for themselves? Will they make Banjo popular and win hearts by playing it in different genres? Will they make it for international festival with the magic of that instrument? Your questions will be answered only by watching the film.

Overall, the director has captured the slums and the “essence of that part of the city” very well. The storyline is simple, but somewhere the soul of the film - Banjo (the instrument) or talent is over-shadowed by drama. There are moments where the music really elevates the scenes and make you tap your feet, but sadly those moments are short-lived. Cheesy one-liners and poor dialogues also cast their spell on the movie, thereby doing no good.

It is interesting to watch Riteish Deshmukh as Taraat Bhai, but unfortunately the limitation in the script, limits his possibilities of performing too. Nargis has put in some efforts (at least to say), but once again fails to convince. The best characters in the movie are the supporting actors – Dharmesh, Aditya and Ram. Their ease in adapting the characters deserves appreciation, especially Dharmesh, who I believe delivers beyond expectations. His efforts to speak English will make you laugh, despite the lame jokes.

The focus of the film, as I said earlier, should have been Banjo and the talent. Music is mediocre and doesn’t stay on mind for long. The background score is decent too. The visuals where Banjo is played or heard are the only interesting ones in the film. While songs on Bappa are pleasing, some songs are forced in the movie and weren’t required at all. Sigh, how did the makers did not realise that?

Overall, Banjo doesn’t deliver as promised.  Had the makers focussed on the instrument and built up the story behind the struggle, discrimination and more; I believe the movie would have been way more entertaining. With the current tale, the film is a musical disappointment.