Banjo: Discordant fantasy

Cast: Reitesh Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri, Sheeba George

Director: Ravi Jadhav

Rating: * *

Runtime: 137 mins

‘Banjo’ directed by celebrated Marathi Film (Bal Gandharva, Natrang, Balak Palak)director Ravi Jadhav revolves around a nondescrept local orchestra band’s road to stardom. This fictional fantasy, has a gritty outlook but it’s not involving in the least. An unrecognised musician,a Banjo player Taraat (shaggy haired Reitesh Deshmukh), finds a promoter in an international DJ Kris(played by Nargis Fakhri). How that happens and the unrequited dreams of romance by the Banjo player are what this film is all about.

Kris hears a song from a local banjo band in Mumbai sent by her friend, Mikey (Luke Kenny). She has a brainwave-wants to incorporate them in two singles that she hopes to perform at some music festival. So pronto, she arrives in Mumbai to find the band. She meets Taraat (Riteish Deshmukh) and his friends, Grease (Dharmesh Yelande), Paper (Aditya Kumar) and Vajaya (Ram Menon) in the slums of Dharavi and realising their musical prowess gets them to sign on for her project. But a jealous rival,local land mafia and a vile studio manager make their musical success story a bumpy and unseamly one.

The cinematography lends realism to the proceedings but the ridiculous story idea, passionless run-of-play, unappealingly inept performances, cliched intent, cheesy dialogues and tonal confusion leave the audience restive and unfulfilled. The story is quite unconvincing, the direction is confused and the ill-fitting action looks ridiculous. This could well have been a desi version of ‘A Star is Born’ but the poor conceptualisation and unappealing narration leaves one listless and dissatisfied. ‘Banjo’ is quite an unrequiting experience especially with the music so abysmally unappetising- and to think this was meant to be a musical drama. Phew!

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