Ritwik Bhowmik, Shreya Chaudhry, Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Sheeba Chadha, Rajesh Tailang, Amit Mistry, Rahul Kumar, Rituraj Singh
Amazon Prime Original Series
Anand Tiwari/Amritpal Singh Bindra
Musical Romantic Drama
Note: 3.5/5 Stars*
Bandish Bandits promised to put music at the centre of the series, and the music definitely stays with you throughout the watching of the series, but does the story?
Bandish Bandits explores the fusion between pop music and Indian classical music through the lens initially of Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik), who is a trained Indian classical singer under his grandfather who everyone calls Pandit ji (Naseeruddin Shah) and the lens of Tamanna (Shreya Chaudhry), an emerging pop star in desperate need of another hit song with a new flavour. When Tamanna finds Radhe, she is persistent in her efforts to get Radhe on board with her music and her projects and Radhe goes along reluctantly, primarily due to familial circumstances. Of course, Pandit ji would highly disapprove of any such collaboration, and as the series unfolds, a lot more than music is brought to the forefront. With mysteries and secrets galore, Bandish Bandits is a musical journey that is much more than music. It is drama, romance, and much more than that, a plethora of acting talent brought together in front of the camera.
I want to be clear when I write this review? I am a huge fan of music, drama, and romance and I felt Bandish Bandits fulfilled a very apparent gap on the OTT platform, despite a few glitches. Bandish Bandits starts off on a high note for me, becomes slightly weighty in the middle with not as much substance as we would like, and then fast forwards near the end, where there was the potential to really draw out the drama. Regardless, the story draws you in, but after a while, you become slightly impatient with the characters.
The story is compelling but the screenplay could have been tighter. A huge credit to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for some fantastic music. A huge shoutout to the art department and a bigger shoutout to the cinematographer who captured both the beauty of the grand sets of a musical stage and the lively, crowded streets depicted in the series.
But what really works for me in the series is the way in which Anand Tiwari has worked with a cast that has really immersed itself into his vision. To start off, Ritwik Bhowmik is pitch-perfect in his performance. He aces the classical music components and speaks well with his face. Shreya Chaudhry does well with her part, although her character graph does not show too much depth, so as the series goes on, you miss her character's growth and wonder where she has gone? There is more potential there that needs to be tapped.
Naseeruddin Shah and Atul Kulkarni are top-notch, as expected. Kunaal Roy Kapur got better and better as the series went on. Rajesh Tailang was good as was Rituraj Singh. But the ones who very clearly stole the show were Amit Mistry, Sheeba Chadha, and Rahul Kumar. The two of them clearly have a back story which has given them such intriguing voices in the series.
My only concern as the series went off is that the series became less about the Bandish Bandits and more just about Bandish. Here's hoping there is a season 2 in which we see Tamanna's character develop more. Bandish Bandits is definitely a must-watch for any music lover who first fell in love with cinema because of Bollywood.