A man goes missing. The detective offering help doesn’t even blink or think before giving out his verdict that it is a possible case of murder. His one of many simplistic theories draws even the son in suspicion. As a viewer, you don’t need much time to realize that he is not your usual ‘unrealistically intellectual’ beast like Sherlock Holmes and is not at all a detective but a detective in making. Dibakar Banerjee’s splendid-spectacular & mesmeric murder-mystery thriller DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY! may not be able to flabbergast you with terrific twists and reckless revelations but then, it also never ceases to engage with enticing visuals, imaginatively authentic art-design to recreate the nostalgic period, acquisitive music score, brilliantly written characters and some really well-directed sequences for a cinematic treat.
It is Calcutta of 1940s. Japanese are constantly trying to snatch the control over the city from the British. Chinese drug mafia wants to make it a world drug capitol. The young ones are fighting for freedom. The ‘newborn in business’ Byomkesh Bakshy [Sushant Singh Rajput] is trying to prove his theory of missing man’s murder for his forced client Ajit [Anand Tiwari]. He is the same who joins Bakshy later as his sidekick or subordinate. The connecting threads lead him to a powerful politician, his sultry & seductive mistress [Swastika Mukherjee], an intimidating dentist-cum-Japanese tutor and a kind and obliging [Neeraj Kabi of ‘SHIP OF THESEUS’]. For the most parts, Bakshy is only seen finding links between two loose ends. For times, when we all are modified to watch razor-sharp detectives seeing it from miles and acting against it in an electric-speed; there is hardly anything in the plot you would describe as ‘extremely surprising’ but the ambiguity in the air never goes missing.
DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY! is stylishly shot gorgeous looking film where everything you see is fabricated, but how aesthetically and inventively! This is the world nowhere close to what we have seen in Doordarshan’s Byomkesh Bakshy series. The case-to-be solved here also doesn’t have limitations of being just another family affair. Dibakar Banerjee takes it on a bigger canvas to make Bakshy’s first case the biggest of what we have seen before. His Calcutta is nothing but a painting with brilliant art-design powered with nostalgic posters on wall, ‘approaching vintage status’ ambassador cars, man-pulling rickshaws on streets and Bata leather shoes for instance. In one momentous shot, we see camera following Bakshy-Bakshy bumping into a stranger-camera following stranger-stranger bumping into the man following Bakshy and then again camera getting back on track to follow the man; all this exercise through the windows of an ambassador car. See it, and you won’t miss it.
With subtle and deadpan humor, film is a delightful watch. When at a drug-making company’s office, Bakshy jokes about him providing blood-sample that it is a must for every candidate before the job-interview, we see the whole lot of young candidates disappearing like a Jeannie. In another just after the blood-bathed climax, Ajit instructs his home-servant to make some tea as the police can visit the crime-scene anytime soon. Though Sushant looks very much in skin of the character, it’s the supporting cast that excels in the performance-sheet. Anand Tiwari as Ajit is a spot-on. Neeraj Kabi makes his act a balanced yet exceedingly outshining one. One more significant contribution one can’t ignore is the outstanding music score by Sneha Khanwalkar. My first move after the movie got over was to put the album on my playlist.
At the end, Dibakar’s DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY! is like a strong and effective opium intake once taken you will sure get addicted to it, sooner or later. Expect the unexpected while watching it but don’t forget, even Bakshy is a man with many drawbacks. Don’t expect him to beat goons single-handedly. Watch it for being one of the most magnificent looking films of simple nature and nostalgic feel. [4/5]