Bamfaad Movie Review

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Bamfaad Movie Review: Bamfaad is streaming on ZEE5.

Bamfaad movie cast: Aditya Rawal, Shalini Pandey, Vijay Varma, Jatin Sarna, Vijay Kumar, Sanjeev Bhattacharya
Bamfaad movie director: Ranjan Chandel
Bamfaad movie rating: 2.5 stars

We hear ‘Ilahabaad’, just the way real Allahabadis pronounce it, a few minutes into the film. And instantly, several crucial elements lock in: location, leheja (accents), and log (people), as well as the title, coarse but rooted. And these are the strongest aspects of a film which gives us the familiar headstrong boy-pretty girl romance-in-small-town-UP.

Nasir aka Naate (great touch, that pyaar-ka-naam) loses his heart to Neelam (Pandey), who is tied to local mob boss Jigar (Varma) in mysterious ways. That one line tells us, pretty much, everything. In a town where ‘gunda’ raaj rules, what are the chances for the young lovebirds to chirp and flourish?

What’s fascinating are the influences at play, whether as flavour or plot point—a bit of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Haasil also set in the same town even if it’s never named in the film, a bit of Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan, which is set in the adjacent town of Banaras, and countless iterations of lovers-on-the-run, most recently Shashank Khaitain’s Dhadak. And more.

What makes this film somewhat its own creature, are some of the lines which are delivered, not for their own sake, but because they fit the scene. And the way they are delivered, with conviction, and a sense of place. The ‘kaun/kya hai bey’ is such a very UP thing, and to be able to say it out loud without making it a dialogue is an ability: debutant Aditya Rawal has it pat. Though he’s made to do many things which rebellious Bollywood lovers have, from the ‘violent love stories’ of the 70s on, he manages to deliver a restrained, convincing performance, reminding us more of his mother, the wonderful Swaroop Sampat than his equally solid father, Paresh.

Pandey seems to be still in her perky-yet-submissive Arjun Reddy mode. The always watchable Varma has a lot of screen time, but his mobster isn’t written sharply. Jatin Sarna will need to get out of the Sacred Games type gunda roles or there’s danger of being type-cast. Vijay Kumar as Rawal’s father leaves an impact, as well as the use of the sadly fading Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.

Bamfaad brings back memories of the small-town love story that Bollywood used to tell, and keeps us watching with a fluid flourish or two, even if we wish for much more freshness, as it takes us to a fully filmi end.

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