How did the most interesting part of a blockbuster thriller become the least interesting part of his own movie? ‘Bob Biswas’ – the spinoff of Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Kahaani’ (2012) has managed to perplexingly achieve this. The result isn’t atrocious, but it is incredibly boring, which somehow feels worse.
Bob Biswas doesn’t remember who he is. The confused man is approached by two mysterious men who ask him to go back to his life of crime. “Go back?”, he thinks, “Was I a bad person?” So he begins a journey of self-discovery, catching up on his peculiar family dynamic, his shady past, his work network and murdering a few members of a drug ring along the way. Can he fight his bad instincts and become a good person? No matter how much suspense the filmmakers try to build around this question, anyone who has seen ‘Kahaani’ already knows the answer.
‘Bob Biswas’ is like bad fanfiction, where the only resemblance to the canon character is their physical appearance and a few catchphrases. The issue doesn’t just lie with the fact that Abhishek Bachchan is horribly miscast. He plays the role exactly how we would have expected Bachchan to play with. We knew he won’t be able to live up to Saswata Chatterjee’s iconic work. The problem is also in the way the character is written and presented. This man doesn’t feel like the Bob Biswas played by Saswata Chatterjee in ‘Kahaani’, especially since the timeline of events in both films isn’t too far off. This man isn’t the unsuspecting psychopath we had become fascinated by. He isn’t the cold-blooded killer we expected. He has morals, alliances, and a sense of justice. Worse, he wants to be a good person. All of this fades the contrast that made Bob Biswas so interesting – the starkness between the innocence of his appearance and the ruthlessness of his actions.
Beyond that, the overall plot is predictable and uninventive. At times it feels like you are watching a rough-cut of a ‘The Family Man’ episode. An average looking man living a secret life filled with crime and murder while dealing with a troubled teenage daughter, a beautiful wife and a young son. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Sure, the film lacks substance, but what hurts more is the absolute lack of style. Sujoy Ghosh created a noir atmosphere around Bob Biswas that heightened his eeriness. This film is shot more like a smalltown drama-comedy. There is no suspense in the air, no thrill. Movies are a visual medium but watching ‘Bob Biswas’ feels like the aesthetics were an afterthought.
If you want to enjoy Bob Biswas, just re-watch ‘Kahaani’.