By Dhanashree Ram
NEW YORK CITY–“Sirf Ek Bandaa Hi Kafi Hai” premiered at the New York Indian International Film Festival over the weekend. The film will release on ZEE5 on May 23, 2023 for worldwide audiences. If you are anything like me and don’t miss any opportunity to grow as a person, Bandaa is for you. Definitely recommend!
Movie makers getting sued for contextual disagreement with a fraction of society is not really news in India. Earlier this month, the makers of Bandaa found themselves in one such legal storm. Ironically this courtroom drama is based on a true story that is honored as a modern-world tale of the triumph of truth. This real-life version of the David and Goliath story features truth of a 16-years old girl and a mighty opponent with hundreds of hands empowered by those who mean power. Before the audience could make any guesses for the “Man vs. Godman” teaser, the Asaram camp took a legal stance to save the legacy that they had lost years ago in the court, thanks to one man, Advocate PC Solanki. The legend, the King of OTT as some call him, Manoj Bajpayee portrays the character of Advocate Solanki with utmost sincerity and grit. Is that surprising, though? Looking back at every role he has played so far, it’s the only way he knows. Manoj defines commitment to the craft.
Kudos to ZEE5 studios for always telling stories that need to be told, however hard-hitting and difficult they are, as long as there is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel, the ZEE5 studios are committed to the journey. Shariq Patel, the CEO of ZEE5 studios interacted with the audience after the show. He explained why he feels compelled to support movies like Joram or Bandaa. Shariq mentioned that it’s rewarding for him and ZEE5 to bring a positive impact through content. Bandaa does that on many levels. ZEE5 successfully hosts several blockbuster mainstream titles in Hindi and other Indian regional languages as well.
Sucharita Tyagi, the well-known movie critic moderated the post-show discussion. Sucharita’s personable style particularly appealed to the audiences. She has previously interviewed Manoj Bajpayee at a few occasions and that brought the required warmth and authority to discuss a film like Bandaa. The discussion highlighted a few important aspects such as, decision making on the tone of the script and the pleasantly small degree to which creative liberties are taken.
I personally feel that parts of the discussion should be made available to the greater audiences as well in a special section like making of the film. It did a lot more than just providing information for me. The film reaches some really deep sentiments and hearing about how the makers think helped make peace with the case, the process and the opposition. Women in urban and rural areas are subject to abuse. Sometimes it’s discrimination and many times it’s physical, even sexual. It will not be surprising if many of the untold stories find a closure through this film. The film most definitely speaks to all women in a very kind, understanding and empowering way. Hats off to the director Apoorva Singh Karki for taking on this mammoth project and doing justice to the t.
It’s amazing to experience a true story at the pace and agility of a mainstream production. The engine of this machine is certainly Manoj Bajpayee, for there was only PC Solanki. The variety of shades of expressions he brings alive makes you wonder if he has some magic for acting. Knowing that each one of them are a result of a well-thought-out process, self-critic and unforgiving rehearsals is simply fascinating. As a father, as a son, as a lawyer, as a confidante and as a guide, Manoj’s performance shines throughout the film. When asked what would he like the audiences to celebrate about this film or learn from the film, he answered, “celebrate the ordinary.” Ultimately the movie is all about celebrating heroism of the ordinary people who can do amazing things if they decide to. You owe it to yourself to witness it for yourself in the film.