Director: Rajeeb Kumar Biswas
Cinematographer: J. Shridhar
Cast: Dev, Srabanti, Sayantika, Chiranjeet, Indrani Sen, Biswajit Chakraborty, Kharaj Mukherjee and others
By Shoma A Chatterji
Bindaas is a Hindi slang that originated from Mumbaiya Hindi, but has become popular throughout North India and has long since lost its slang status. It is now a part of the Oxford English Dictionary which defines the word as applied to one who is “carefree, fashionable, and independent-minded.” The film Bindaas is a remake of the Telugu film Mirchi. This is Dev’s first release after becoming an MP. Interestingly enough, Chiranjeet, an MLA from the same ruling party, plays his father.
Abhimanyu (Dev), a young man, meets Kajol (Sayantika) in Italy and they fall in love. Kajol has her own scary past frightening enough to turn down Abhimanyu’s love even though she loves him. After their return to India, Kajol goes to Keshtopur, a village in Midnapore where Rudra (Raja), one of her uncles is running the entire village like a tyrant. Abhimanyu wants to restore peace both within Kajol’s family and in the village that has another landlord who believes in non-violence. He turns out to be Abhimanyu’s father (Chiranjit) who has adopted Anjali (Srabanti), the orphaned daughter of his friend who promptly falls in love with Abhimanyu. Meanwhile, Abhimanyu who is trying to restore peace between the families of the two zamindars is thrilled to reunite with his father who does not like the son’s way of reacting to violence and throws him out of his house. Abhimanyu then prefers to share his life with Anjali, leaving Kajol to nurture a broken heart.
Though the two hours and thirty-six minute footage is full of graphic violence, the end finds both father and son mouthing slogans of the ruling party —badla noy, badal chai (we do not want revenge, we want change) — which spoils and contradicts the film. Salil’s dialogues are pithy and dominated by Abhimanyu, add kick to a film filled more with physical and literal kicks than entertaining ones.
Dev as Abhimanyu is carefree and independent to a certain extent, but fashionable? No way, Abhimanyu has a completely messed up sense of fashion and his dress sense is disastrous, but he compensates this flaw with his performance of a bindaas fellow. Srabanti and Sayontika do justice to the demand of looking pretty and lost and lovelorn while Chiranjeet is low-key for a change. The music (by a bevy of music directors), except for a fusion qawwali number, is less than average and the song sequences shot in Italy are almost like stock shots pasted in the film. But that is true of every Bengali masala film so what’s wrong in walking on the beaten path? Bindaas is a bindaas film!