‘Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai’. Can this hoary slogan, coined in the early years of the republic. be repeated minus irony? The only way the idea can be incorporated in the movies these days is to either spoof it up, or to embed it in a satire.
‘Bangistan’ does that. Or, let’s say, tries to do that, but doesn’t really take it too far. Not because the idea is not madly original – the thought and what it means needs repeating as many times as it takes to sink in, or till world peace is achieved, whichever comes first—but because of the treatment. The film finds its laughs in the odd moment, but comes off, over all, flat and tepid.
Religion doesn’t divide humanity. Bigots do. ‘Bangistan’ sets out to demonstrate just us how silly the divide is yet how fatal it can be if wisdom doesn’t dawn upon us. Two unlikely messengers of peace ( Deshmukh and Samrat), hailing from two opposing parts of fictional country called Bangistan, show up in Krakow, Poland, and muddle about till they reach where they want to.
A sexy bar girl in the shape of Fernandez declares that she has no religion. `Par aap toh Christian hogi’ says one of our heroes. The film has a lot of dialogue in similar vein. Muslims use a lot of green coloured-stuff, have long beards, say ‘bhaijaan’ : Hindus don saffron and red `tilak’ and say, ‘bhai-saheb’. This is not breaking stereotypes ; this is re-inforcement, and heavier than the let’s-all-be-friends-Geeta-ho-ya-Koran’ sequences.
A jab at the ineffectiveness of stuff Made-In-China which fizzles rather than sparks, hits the spot, but there aren’t enough of these japes.
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The thin plot is stretched out over equally thin gags. Samrat is a tad too chirpy, and Deshmukh, who is usually capable of lifting anything he’s in, a bit too grim : a comedy needs more substance and consistency, especially something underpinned on a message that needs to be spread far and wide in these divisive times.
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Pulkit Samrat, Kumud Mihsra, Jacquline Fernandez, Chandan Roy Sanyal
Director: Karan Anshuman