Avowedly dedicated to “street musicians all around the world”, Banjo is a stodgy, sluggish film that makes a great deal of noise about giving true performers their due. It barely gets its noble point across.
Banjo, starring Riteish Deshmukh as an extortionist, street fighter and unsung instrumentalist, lacks the storytelling smarts that might have helped it work as a mass entertainer. If anything, it is a mangled mass of a movie.
Coming from Ravi Jadhav, a super-successful Marathi filmmaker who has such critical/commercial hits as Natarang, Bal Gandharva and Balak Palak to his credit, this film is a huge and surprising letdown.
Indeed, Jadhav’s first Hindi film is a complete washout. It never manages to hit the right notes, playing out like a dreary song on loop that quickly turns into an irritating drone.
Banjo, about a slum orchestra party and its many travails as it seeks wider recognition, has no story worth the name to hang its shallow musical drama on. The film starts flat and ends flat.
Banjo takes an awfully long time to come to the point. And when it does after much hemming and hawing, it is let down badly by the lack of a believable storyline and crushed by the burden of an inept and confused screenplay.