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B ANGISTAN is far from the big bang its title suggests. The film tries a few wise winks at the very grave subjects of terror and fundamentalism but ends up a lame lampoon.

The politics of religion, or the conflict it may create, has often drawn filmmakers who wish to create satire. It has also been one of the toughest genres to crack, given the fact that comedy easily leads to controversy when it tries cocking a snook at such sensitive issues.

Debutant writer- director Karan Anshuman takes the slapstick approach in his bid to pan zealots, with an obvious intention to avoid ruffling feathers. Quite simply, the ploy reduces the intelligence of the script.

There's more to it, obviously. The film was possibly meant to reach out to the larger audience with its feel- good vibes, beyond the core multiplex viewership base that may appreciate intelligent humour.

This is the story of two bumblers ( Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat) who get brainwashed into becoming suicide bombers. The first, a Ram Leela artist and Right Wing Hindu, is influenced by a guruji who has a political party named Maa Ki Dal. The other, a devout Muslim who chucks his call centre job to become a fulltime jihadi, adheres to the doctrines of an extremist group named Al- Kaam Tamam.

The two guys land at Krakow, Poland, on a suicide mission to jeopardise a world religion conference and end up sharing a flat,

besides a glad eye for Rosie the bartender ( Jacqueline Fernandes), who can morph into an efficient singer- dancer whenever the film needs a song- dance routine.

The film has a couple of witty dialogues but the flaws far outnumber that plus point. For a satire to sustain, it becomes important how it narrates its tale, more than what story it actually sets out to tell.

In other words, the screenplay is an important element. Anshuman and his coscreenwriters ( Puneet Krishna and Sumit Purohit) seem too obsessed with setting up situational slapstick. Gaffes that the two protagonists commit while being groomed to become terrorists are given over- the- top all- importance. You realise Anshuman was trying to make up for the lack of a strong storyline.

Jacqueline's cameo is actually a needless add- on in this script, so when her naachgaana becomes the only bright spot about the film you realise it has gone seriously wrong somewhere. Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat, would seem to have the right non- glam image to fit into their doltish avatars. They fail to impress, owing mainly to the weak roles they get. Anshuman tries adding melodrama to the narrative, probably aiming to add intensity to his narrative. The idea backfires.

Bangistan seems like a film with the right intent, gone wrong in execution.

Hopefully, debutant Anshuman will have evened out his creative rough edges when he takes to direction the next time.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 8, 2015
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