The credit of making a gripping film like Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai goes to its four pillars, Writing, Direction, Casting, and Performances but for a moment just imagine that this film does not have Manoj Bajpayee playing P.C. Solanki. Instead, imagine any of the actors of today’s time. Imagine anyone you want to and then tell me if he would have been able to do justice to Deepak Kingrani’s writing and Apoorv Singh Karki’s direction. The answer is simple, NO!
When it comes to writing, it is, undoubtedly, outstanding yet simple. There are no filmy moments or applaud/whistle-worthy dialogues and that’s the beauty of it. This script focuses on real people’s struggle and their battle against an influential conman. Oops! I meant to say, godman.
If you are still wondering whether Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is based on a real story, let me confirm it for you. Yes, it is based on the infamous 2013 Asaram Bapu rape case where a minor girl filed a complaint against the religious leader.
Coming back to the film, here are some of the script’s masterstroke that I cannot not talk about:
THE CONDITIONING OF THE VICTIM’S MIND
Other than the people who were involved in the case and the research team who might have spoken to everyone involved in the rape case might not how the events exactly unfolded while they were still fighting for justice. But the way this script conditioned the victim’s mind subtly in the film and mentally prepared a minor to fight the demons is applaud-worthy. Deepak Kingrani did not use any fancy dialogues to do so but right from the first scene between Manoj Bajpayee and the young girl where the first thing he asks her to do is untie the dupatta and show her face. That says a lot about the kind of person P.C. Solanki is the way society and also the girl should look at herself. She should be able to live with her head held high and not with her face covered or head bowed in shame.
Similarly, the terrace scene between Manoj Bajpayee and the victim tells a lot about how P.C. Solanki might have played the role of a father figure in the girl’s life. In such a tender age where life was just about to begin for this teenager, she is fighting a battle that will scar her for life. The way this lawyer became a guide, mentor, and guru to her is worth watching. Again, there are no back to back scenes that scream out loud about the relationship this lawyer might have developed with his young client but the way these scenes are done, they speak volumes about the importance of P.C.Solanki in the girl’s life since he was the only one who could show her all the sides of this case and mentally prepare her for the dirty game that was about to unfold, inside and outside the courtroom.
At this point, I cannot afford to not mention the Director’s sensitivity and excellence in handling the subject. As I said, there are no filmy dialogues that will make the audience go wow. The script could shine bright because this diamond has been polished well by Apoorv Singh Karki. By polishing, I do not mean tweaking or reworking on the script. I am only talking about the shine that direction added to this story. Again, nothing extraordinary yet powerful storytelling!
The way P.C.Solanki is shown dealing with fear every now and then while carrying on his regular duties is amazingly done. The fear slowly starts creeping up on you. When you see two men on a motorcycle, you feel scared. That’s how powerful Karki’s storytelling is.
MANOJ BAJPAYEE AND HIS MAGICAL TOUCH
There is a scene in the film where two men are following P.C. Solanki on a bike. Obviously, to kill him. The lawyer is seen running for his life. You are choked because you are afraid he might get killed but after he is being chased for a while, a police van comes in between the motorbike and the lawyer. The moment Manoj Bajpayee sees the police and knows that he is safe, he gets down from his bike and runs after the men on the motorcycle to hit them out of frustration. That was hilarious. Now, this wasn’t P.C. Solanki. This is Manoj Bajpayee and his magical touch.
The way he is seen admiring the godman’s lawyers as all of them are the country’s reputed names, from Ram Jethmalani to Salman Khursheed and Subramanian Swamy is again praise-worthy. Watch the scene between him and Mr Swamy in the film. Before the case begins, he is absolutely in awe of Swamy but the moment the hearing begins, he is only the victim’s lawyer. The balancing of these two sides is extremely important for the understanding of this character. If there would have been any other actor, this might have looked like ye ek banda kabhi bhi bik sakta hai but Manoj Bajpayee balanced this ‘admiration’ and ‘what’s wrong is wrong whoever the hell you are’ attitude so well that this common man effortlessly became a hero.
I cannot end this review without appreciating the performances of every actor who was on the screen for whatever time possible, especially the girl who played the victim. A small role yet she made her presence felt. The same could be said about the actors who played the police protecting the victim. Small roles, big impact! A big round of applause to the Casting Director of Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, Shivam Gupta for picking up gems for the film.
P.S: The silence that you, as audience, feel inside after hearing the story of Lord Shiva and Ravan that Manoj Bajpayee narrates in the courtroom during the final verdict is what good cinema does to you – it changes you (and your perspective) forever.
A well written review on a much talked movie
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