Well, over the years, music has changed with the millennials coming into the picture. While the 90s(when I grew up) had a focus on melodies, 30 years later music is sadly just reduced to remixes. But somewhere the magic of Indian classical music was missing, something that was not quite introduced to the current generation. So I am 4 days late with this review but blame it on Amazon Prime who released this web series at the start of the week. I mean why would you do that? Anyway, I am just done watching it. Right from the time of the trailer, I knew this was a unique concept and that this would be an equally unique watch as well. Did it strike the right chord, lets find out!
Set in Rajasthan, Bandish Bandits is a love story set against the backdrop of music. The story is almost like a slice of life with music(and especially Indian Classical Music) being at its epicenter. And the story is indeed unique and nothing that I have seen before. The screenplay is quite well penned. The beauty of it is that it never lets go of its core ingredient – music. Yes, it is a love story, yes there are a few subplots but the writers do well to revolve the story around countless ‘Thumris’ and melodies thereby presenting a stark contrast between Western and Indian Classical Music. And that finale that literally ends in a crescendo that can be watched over and over again! The dialogues are good. The music by the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is soulful and outstanding. No amount of words that I say can tell you how good the music is here, it totally sucks you in and builds the mood of the drama! Anand Tiwari has done a fantastic job with the direction. He is always in control and probably his best work as a director till date!
The performances are good too. Meghna Mallik as Avantika and Atul Kulkarni as Digvijay Singn shine in their cameos. Amit Mistry as Devendra is so underrated and has done a swell job. Rajesh Tailang as Rajendra is wonderfully restrained, so is Dilip Shankar as Rajaji. Rahul Kumar as Kabir(mm in 3 idiots jo ab cm ban gaya hai) is confident as probably the only character that is slightly over the top. Tridha Choudhury as Sandhya looks pretty and is first rate in the acting department! Kunaal Roy Kapur as Arghya is hilarious and there is no scene featuring him in which I did not burst laughing. Sheeba Chadha as Mohini is brilliant especially towards the end. Naseeruddin Shah as Panditji is probably the best actor on display here. So many nuances in his character – from being stern, to posing a soft face, from being patriarchal to finally finding solace, each emotion captured and nailed down. Shreya Chaudhry as rockstar Tamanna is actually a rockstar here. Her character is layered and she truly captures its essence. Not to mention she looks pretty as well! Ritwik Bhoumik as Radhe is a find! He is as effortless as ever especially in his scenes involving singing. Excellent performances by all!
Standing at 10 episodes of roughly 40 mins each, Bandish Bandits was a risk but it is a risk that has paid off! Full marks to Amazon Prime for backing this gem of a project. And full marks to the makers, introducing us millennials to the magic of Indian Classical Music. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Highly Recommended!