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Bandish Bandits overview: Naseeruddin Shah towers over the net collection

Written by Shubhra Gupta

Published: August 4, 2020 4:41:00 pm

Bandish Bandits is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Bandish Bandits forged: Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Rajesh Tailang, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sheeba Chaddha, Amit Mistry, Ritwik Bhowmik, Shreya Chaudhry, Tridha Choudhary, Rahul Kumar
Bandish Bandits director: Anand Tiwari

‘Ten seconds, that’s what now we have to be a focus for the millenials’, says one character to a different in Bandish Bandits. That, in a nutshell, seems to be the mandate of Amazon’s new collection: to make Hindustani classical music interesting to Gen X, and it colors all the things, proper from its clever-sounding title, to its tone and tenor.

Shot on location in Rajasthan and Mumbai, the collection opens in Jodhpur, within the ‘aangan’ of a giant haveli, the place Sangeet Samrat Rathod (Shah) is holding a category. He’s the crusty custodian of his ‘gharana’, and a type of formidable academics of Hindustani classical who demand, and obtain, absolute self-discipline. Despite failing listening to, inevitable with ageing, his phrase is legislation: even his household, together with his grandson Radhe Mohan (Bhowmik), additionally one in every of his most in a position ‘shishyas’, addresses him as Panditji.

Along comes Tamanna (Chaudhry), a comely creator-cum-performer of studio-music, and a dangler of a number of equally engaging baits. Radhe takes his time however is duly smitten, although his agreeing to Tamanna’s ‘chichore’ blandishments has extra to do with rescuing his household from monetary peril, than falling for ‘fusion’ music. There now we have it– the conflict between the outdated and new, trendy and conventional, music that’s handed as a ‘dharohar’ (heritage) from trainer to pupil, taught painstakingly over time, to a extra speedy type that emerges from synthesised sounds, ‘ragas’ which might be lovingly rendered in more and more shrinking ‘baithaks’ and ‘sabhas’, to market-driven sounds that may be amplified over 1,000,000 devices.

These are essential points. And undoubtedly worthy of a collection, which tries to do a balancing act between the overwhelming affect the diktats-graven-in-stone guru exerts over Radhe (Bhowmick), and the corporate-driven calls for laid upon Tamanna, who comes with a backstory of an formidable, estranged mom (Malik), and a too-loving dad (Rituraj), and whose burning ambition is to sing with a fictional world pop icon referred to as Queen Eli.

At its finest, the collection surrenders to the sweetness and complexity of Hindustani classical music, as we hear the singers differentiate between a ‘teevra’ and ‘madhyam sur’, Shah constructing a beautiful alaap, an outdated pupil (Kulkarni) who reveals up half-way, and who has neatly learnt the way to contemporise his classical abilities, hearth off rapid-paced ‘taans’. We additionally see the arcs of the opposite members of Panditji’s household, older beta Rajendra (Tailang), bahu Mohini (Chaddha), youthful beta Devendra (Mistry), all musically gifted, however stunted professionally and emotionally, by the dominance of the guru.

Shah towers over the present, exhibiting us how silence can convey a lot, his expressions ranging, with a slight flicker, from outright disgust, to disapproval, to faint reward: final seen toying with ragas in Sarfarosh (1999), he fills his position utterly. You want although that the writers hadn’t chosen to disclose a couple of darkish secrets and techniques which have deeply impacted his household, particularly his daughter-in-law, so late into the ten episodes. It’s carried out with the intention of cracking the façade of the guru who can do no fallacious, and by implication, stating that the outdated isn’t all the time the very best, nevertheless it’s all carried out in an excessive amount of of a rush.

But every time Bandish Bandits veers in the direction of the classical, it remembers its millennials, and we get, other than Tamanna, who smokes (within the first few episodes; we by no means see her gentle up later), colors her artfully wavy hair blue, containers to maintain match, and says issues like, ‘this is legit, this is so legit’, as she admires a raga, a number of different youthful characters who signify the ‘other’ facet, the type who really feel classical music feels like a ‘goat being strangled’. Now come on, you guys, get right down to your indignant make up intercourse, says Arghya, Tamanna’s music producer (Kapur, manfully and enthusiastically channelling many portrayals of Hollywood brokers searching for his or her shoppers). He additionally says: har Arjun ko apne Krishna ki zaroorat hoti hai. Okay then.

Cuss phrases fly round, each in English and Hindi; Radhe has a foul-mouthed pal (Kumar) who has his again, and steers one of the problematic bits of this collection, wherein a lady, seen in a graphic intercourse video filmed with out her data, is pressured to stop a relationship. That episode solely provides to the shaky methods wherein ladies are depicted: Chaddha’s Mohini is granted a spot on the males’s desk virtually on the finish; the remainder of the time she’s obtained her head lined, and her voice low. It’s to the credit score of this terrific actor that she makes a lot of the position. As we see Radhe Mohan exulting over his win in a climactic contest (what’s going to we do with out these competitions: a personality helpfully calls the ‘sangeet samrat’ an ‘Indian Idol for classical music’, simply in case we missed the purpose), Tamanna is shipped off on a journey of self-improvement.

Clearly, Bandish Bandits has a season two developing. Hopefully, we are going to get much less old-style drama, and a extra polished youthful set, and extra assured about its intentions. And possibly the writers might be cautious to not have characters cheerfully dispense recommendation and medication for ‘bipolar disorder’. Yes, this occurs: we truly hear the names of the prescribed drugs.

The dialog round the necessity to revive curiosity in classical music, and the truth that there doesn’t must be a rift between the classical and the favored, must be on-going. Despite its flaws, Bandish Bandits retains up deal with this important theme. I’m all the time available in the market for nice music (carried out by Shankar Ehsaan Loy), areas (Jodhpur is gorgeous, and town’s well-known mirchi pakode that the characters are proven consuming, whether or not they’re completely happy or indignant, look extraordinarily inviting).

Mirchi pakode, anytime, and music, all the time.

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