Vampire Owl: I am interested in this from the trailer itself.
Vampire Bat: There is a lot to be interested about, in there.
Vampire Owl: Yes, I feel that this could be my favourite film of this lead actor.
Vampire Bat: Abhishek Bachchan has been in need of such roles for long.
Vampire Owl: It seems that everyone around knows this particular character though.
Vampire Bat: Yes, the titular character is from a film which we didn’t watch.
Vampire Owl: Well, as this is a spin-off, I guess that it is fine enough.
Vampire Bat: You can always have more though.
Vampire Owl: I wonder if that would be possible with more theatre releases.
Vampire Bat: We have shifted to OTT from theatres. The rest will be history.
[Gets some French fries and three cups of black tea].
What is the movie about? :: Bob Biswas (Abhishek Bachchan) is a former insurance agent who has been in a comma for years, and has now come back to his senses, only to find out that he doesn’t really remember anything, despite the best efforts of everyone around him. He is told that he has a wife, Mary Biswas (Chitrangada Singh) along with their daughter Mini (Samara Tijori) and son Benny (Ronith Arora). It turns out that he has earned almost nothing from his work as an insurance agent, and he also understands that they are still living in a small rented home. Mary and Benny tries their best to make him remember his past through different incidents which serve as catalysts. Mini spends all her time studying so that she could become a doctor at some point of time. She is so much focused on the same that she even looks out for drugs which help her to concentrate better on her studies. As she finds a new kind of drug which can help her in examinations, there is also the addiction that comes with it. She wanders through risky territories searching for the same.
So, what happens with the events to follow? :: One day, two strangers, Jishu Narag (Bhanu Uday) and Kharaj Sahu (Vishwanath Chatterjee) approach him, and ask him to get back to what he has been doing the best, which is assassination of chosen targets. He doesn’t really believe them though, and keep on going with his life, as well as meet some possible clients as an insurance agent. Soon, he finds himself murdering a man in the neighborhood, as that person was disturbing his daughter with his loud singing, and this comes as a surprise for him. He continues the murders, as a dealer of the drugs, Bubai (Purab Kohli) and his henchmen also become his victims, with him regaining his lost talents. Later, there are other targets added to his list. Indira Verma (Tina Desai) is in charge of the investigation about a few murders which have happened around. She suspects that Bob and Mini have something to do with them. Meanwhile, there is a war going on between different gangs, and some police officers are also part of it. Still, it is yet to be seen if something can be done about it.
The defence of Bob Biswas :: There is something not Bollywood-like about this movie, and that is indeed the strength here. Shot in the city of Joy, Kolkata does give this film some real life with the visuals and the lifestyle. There is always something different about a movie which is shot in Kolkata, and it is not just about Hindi films – we feel a lovely divergence, and a joy which comes with the nickname of the city itself. This kind of setting also suits the film’s genre-blurring, as it is partly a thriller and at times it is drama, with a good dose of action coming at times and getting stronger by the end of the film, as the mystery is finally unveiled almost completely. The emotions run high around here, as much as the mystery which has the need to get solved early enough. There is also a good amount of humour in store here, especially with some black comedy, often related to murders and death. The same is more or less about Abhishek Bachchan, who has done a job which one would love to remember him for – not like the highly forgettable sequels of Dhoom, which have gained all the money at the box-office.
Positives and negatives :: Bob Biswas can be felt as a little bit slow, and kind of lengthy, considering the fact that in the early moments, it doesn’t pick up the pace. Even when it gets into that crime memory quick enough, the overall pace is still the same – yet, there is beauty in this slow pace. There are also reminders of Hollywood movies here, like The Accountant, John Wick, Gemini Man and Hitman, but nothing much is that clear about the origins and rise of this particular assassin, and instead of making this one an origin story, everyone is more concerned about making sure that this one keeps going towards a possible sequel. The subplot doesn’t really work that much, and the movie could have done well without the same. The Kolkata settings could have also been used in the form of some trams at night, the crowded railway stations and the charming old buses, all good enough to contribute to a tale like this. Also, too many characters are dead very easily, and we also have the absence of a single strong villain here, despite menace being always there. Those who seems to be good enough for the same are also dead early, much to our dismay.
The performers of the soul :: This is Abhishek Bachchan’s best movie in a long time, and one can only be glad to see him in this particular avatar. He has blended in nicely into this character with some special problems. Chitrangada Singh plays the lady lead really well too, and we don’t see her that often these days. Samara Tijori who plays the daughter, also has some interesting work to do, even though the character doesn’t get the dimensions as it deserves. She could surely be a talent for the future. Tina Desai’s work comes as the big surprise, as we have been remembering her for the much underrated, but very much memorable thriller, Table No. 21 which also had a song to remember with her around. One has to wonder why she didn’t get that many big roles, as she makes a solid police officer here too, reminding one of Tapsee Pannu in Naam Shabana and Baby – maybe her character could also have a full-length action movie spin-off at some point of time. We note the other characters too, but not that much individually in comparison to these.
How it finishes :: Bob Biswas is known to have come from the movie Kahaani, but I haven’t watched that particular film, and have manage to watch only its sequel. My only relation there is with Kahaani 2, which proved to be a pretty good movie. This movie is also strong with its themes, as guilt and remorse keeps on running through here, with a church and a cemetery at the centre. The message about one’s terrible crimes coming back to haunt the person is evident, and we see the man going John Wick in style, making the final moments of the film very much enjoyable. Unless you are looking for the traces of a Vidya Balan film from a long time ago while making comparisons, this one is surely a fully enjoyable journey despite the slower pace at parts. There is always something about this film, and you have to keep the Bollywood-style requirements away, as this one completely moves away from that mindless comedy. With the theatres opening again, these OTT films have to be very good to keep one watching things online, and Bob Biswas succeeds in doing the same.
Release date: 3rd December 2021 (ZEE5)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Diya Annapurna Ghosh
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Chitrangada Singh, Paran Bandopadhyay, Purab Kohli, Barun Chanda, Bhanu Uday, Amar Upadhyay, Kanchan Mullick, Samara Tijori, Ronith Arora, Ditipriya Roy, Karanuday Jenjani, Vishwanath Chatterjee, Kunal Verma, Pabitra Rabha, Yusuf Hussain, Tina Desai, Rajatabha Dutta
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.