Director: Ravi Jadhav
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri, Luke Kenny, Dharmesh Yalende
Director Ravi Jadhav is considered to be one of the pioneering filmmakers in Marathi cinema marks his Bollywood directorial debut with 'Banjo'. The film will take you to the slums of Mumbai amidst of an emotional plot.
Taraat (Riteish Deshmukh), Grease (Dharmesh Yalende), Paper and Vajaya are four friends residing in the slums of Mumbai. Having seen misery for all their lives, these four have aspirations of becoming rich and famous some day. Taraat, who is primarily an extortionist, plays a Banjo in spare time. Grease is a mechanic and runs a small garage, Paper distributes newspapers and Vajaya is jobless. They have a band which is famous in their locality and earn money by playing on festivals. Members of a rival band, who also reside in the same vicinity, are keen on getting back at Taraat and company. Mike (Luke Kenny) hears Banjo band, records a video and sends it to his friend Christina (Nargis Fakhri), who is a DJ based in America.
Christina is soon to participate in the New York music festival and decides to play with the Banjo band. She flies to Mumbai in search of the band and incidentally a slum-lord appoints Taraat to help Christina. After a series of incidents, Christina is able to find out about the band and convince Taraat and his group to audition for the festival. However, things take an ugly turn when Taraat gets accused of murdering the slum-lord. What follows is what 'Banjo' is all about.
Director Ravi Jadhav’s first attempt in Bollywood is noticeable. He is successful in bringing out the local Marathi flavour in the western context. Ravi Jadhav has also written the screenplay alongside Kapil Sawant and Nikhil Mehrotra, which is predictable yet entertaining. 'Banjo' will take you back to the 90’s since the film has a love story, emotions and a conspiracy. The film could have been much better in several aspects and hence it remains a one time watch. The humour in the film is like a breath of fresh air.
Manoj Lobo has shot the Mumbai slums beautifully, especially the Ganpati festival. The introduction song of Riteish Deshmukh will remind you of Hrithik Roshan in Agneepath and Shah Rukh Khan in Don. Since the film is based on a Banjo band, a lot of portions in the film resemble ‘Rock On’. A special mention for the costumes which are done by Divya and Nidhi Gambhir and Aminah Haddah and make the characters look realistic. Music by Vishal-Shekhar is peppy but the songs are the biggest hurdles of the film interrupting the mood except for the band performances.
In the past few years, Riteish Deshmukh has stayed away from his comic image, be it 'Ek Villain' or 'Banjo'. Though he has a comical side in the film, he also tries hard to make the audience cry. Soaked in mud, open shirt with a ripped denims and a rockstar hairdo, Riteish’s appearance is far better than his acting. His performance is good but in bits and pieces. Nargis Fakhri, who chooses to do anglicise roles in her films is good but she can’t take the focus away from her poor acting with a perfect American accent. Luke Kenny and Dharmesh Yelande are good. Mohan Kapoor does a fair job as a stubborn yet sleazy organiser of a music festival.
'Banjo' is a light-hearted entertainer which is just like any other music based film. Looks like, the filmmaker was trying hard to match up to the standards set by 'Rock On' but fails to do so. The film is certainly a one time watch....