Bob Biswas Movie Review: Kahaani Spin-Off Directed by Abhishek Bachchan is a Routine Action Thriller | Bollywood
Bob Biswas of Diya Annapurna Ghosh raises an interesting question which he does not answer. Someone who loses their memory and regains it can remember their family, friends and coworkers. They might even revert to old ways. But can they regain their personality? Can their sense of right and wrong, right and wrong remain intact?
Or will a person’s ethics and values take a total U-turn? Diya Annapurna Ghosh’s directorial debut says yes, which is just one of the many beliefs in the film.
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The release of Zee5 is a spin-off of the 2012 thriller Kahaani, written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh, father of Diya Annapurna Ghosh. In Kahaani, Bob Biswas (an excellent Saswata Chatterjee) was seen in a supporting role as a shy insurance agent who moonlighted as a hit man. When the heroine, memorable played by Vidya Balan, becomes one of his targets, Bob gets his right desserts.
Diya Annapurna Ghosh’s film begins with Bob (Abhishek Bachchan) waking up from an eight-year-old coma, the reasons for which are never revealed. Bob has lost all memory. He is informed that he has a wife (Chitrangada Singh) and two children (Samara Tijori, Ronith Arora), and that he was a life insurance salesman. Bob tries to lead a normal life, but his former secret employers have sent him back to a deadly job.
Bob regains his hitman spark. How to assemble a gun and use it is locked into muscle memory. But Bob 2.0, it seems, has discovered a consciousness. He begins to worry if his target is a good or a bad person. He asks a pastor: should I do this for a living? Where was I made for it?
I was hoping the movie would take an existential turn at this point. But Bob Biswas quickly turns into a routine action thriller where the hero’s job is simply to kill the bad guys. If we are to see such an assassin movie, we can rewatch any of John Wick’s movies on any streaming platform. Why put Bob Biswas in a similar configuration?
Here you have this portly, bald, shy Bengali who is also a very successful hitman. But then he lost his memory. It’s a million dollar idea. But Diya Annapurna Ghosh’s Bob Biswas, despite his promises in the first half, is getting boring. The character just doesn’t evolve.
At one point Bachchan’s Bob tells us, oh, it’s wrong to kill people, I guess it’s time to reconsider my life choices. But it stays like something Bob just said. We don’t see him growing up. It’s hard to say if this is a problem with the script of Sujoy Ghosh or the actor. Abhishek Bachchan tries, but he’s not the type to mine gold from a mediocre character.
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Many of the elements of Kahaani that made him so good come down to Bob Biswas. Some works. We get two incredible characters: an interesting rival hitman and a most unlikely banker-gunrunner for assassins. The supporting cast is solid in every way, especially Paran Bandyopadhyay and Pavbitra Rabha. The film is shot with love by Gairik Sarkar. Sujoy Ghosh and Raj Vasant’s dialogue contains some funny elements.
Bob Biswas ends with an absolutely unnecessary reference to Kahaani. After two hours, we never get answers to what made the original Bob Biswas so compelling: who is he? How did he become a killer? How is he when he is alone? By ripping Bob’s memory and leaving him the shell of a person, the Ghoshe avoid the task of transforming him into a person of flesh and blood. As a result, the Bob Biswas movie emerges neither as a character study nor as an opportunity to become a wacky comic book pulp, which it had every chance to be.
Director: Diya Annapurna Ghosh
To throw: Abhishek Bachchan, Chitrangada Singh