Bambai Meri Jaan Review: Kay Kay Menon, Avinash Tiwary excel in gangster drama

by The Technical Blogs


Gangster dramas can be a difficult genre to nail. After all, one has the task to tell a story of such a person who has had the lust for power and control, been ruthless in achieving what they had aimed for and killed many and disrupted law and order in the process. At the same time, such characters are humanised, but one needs to be careful not to glorify them.

Now, that’s a thin line to tread on, given how naturally human beings are drawn to violence. In ‘Bambai Meri Jaan’, we see the rise and establishment of a figure about whom there are so many tales and whose life has been adapted for the screen so many times. It is about the rise of a police officer’s son from Dongri who wants to take over business in Dubai with his D-Company, and eventually ends up becoming the ‘zamindaar’ of Bambai or Mumbai.

While no real names have been used in the show, one would not have much issue understanding which real-life figure is being referred to here. Narrated by Ismail Qadri (played by the talented Kay Kay Menon), the show slowly tracks his fall from grace, how from an ‘imandaar’ police officer, he is compelled to make a deal with the ‘shaitan’ aka Haji Maqbool (Saurabh Sachdeva). However, what he does not realise is how there is evil growing right under his nose in his own home, with his son Dara Qadri leading his other children on the same path.

As Dara (Avinash Tiwary) matures, his lust for power grows by leaps and bounds. Having seen poverty because of his father’s staunch stance to be imaandaar, he wants money, enough for his family to never have to go on the same path. But this greed soon turns to lust for power. From a small fry trying to rip off customers with a Rado watch, to becoming the one who challenges the undisputed business set up by Haji and Pathan — the transformation is a big one. With him, he leads his brothers Saadiq (Jitin Gulati) and Ajju (Lakshya Kochar) and sister Habiba (Kritika Kamra) on the same path – of bloodshed, lawlessness and absolute control over Mumbai in the late 70s and 80s.

The series remains true to its genre of gangster drama. There is enough murder, bloodshed and sequences that can send a chill down your spine. If disturbing content is not your cup of tea, it’s best to steer clear of this one.

Watch the trailer here:

The 10-episode series maintains pace and is overall quite consistent. The story follows a circular narrative, with its start and end points being the same and with Ismail Qadri taking us back in time. The narration is used to let the audience know Dara and his siblings could have chosen the right path. The tool is craftily used to not glorify the characters. Rensil D’Silva and Sameer Arora adapted S Hussain Zaidi’s ‘Dongri to Dubai’ and they have done a commendable job here.

It is Kay Kay Menon, Nivedita Bhattacharya and Avinash Tiwary’s performances that stand out. Menon and Bhattacharya took over the show from the very beginning, while Avinash Tiwary took over after the first few episodes. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Menon is the protagonist of the show, while Tiwary is the anti-hero. Menon, with his immense talent, turns from a proud man with principles to someone compelled to side with the underworld for the sake of his family. The change in his body language is what accentuates his performance. Playing his wife Sakina is Bhattacharya, who very deftly switches between a mother proud of her sons to the one torn between them and her husband.

Avinash Tiwary takes over as Dara after the first three episodes. His character is established from the very start, but it is in episode 4 that he finally grows up. From a man who does small cons to the one challenging Haji required an evident shift in body language. Tiwary plays the role with a certain casualness, adding a different dimension to the character of Dara. He smoothens the transition of the character and adds a certain ease to it with his spontaneity. As he has proved with his other projects, he has an immense screen presence that gives him a push on the show.

Notably, there’s Kritika Kamra, who aces the role of Habiba. The surprise package on the show is definitely Aditya Rawal, and we sincerely hope that his character is developed if the makers are planning a sequel to the show.

Shujaat Saudagar handles his material and the starcast well. The show is well made. Of course, there are a few loopholes here and there, but the overall experience is not marred by that as such. As a story where the audience is aware of the outcome, Saudagar is able to retain attention. He creates nostalgia for those who have lived the era while for the rest, he provides a superb recall to all the other screen adaptations that have been made on the same story. The fact that it is a series gives him scope to develop his characters, and he utilises it well.

Overall, if you like gangster or crime dramas, you know what to watch over the weekend. This week is Avinash Tiwary fest, with him leading the other OTT release ‘Kaala’ as well. And the best part is, he teams up with Kay Kay Menon on that show there too.

It’s 3.5 out of 5 stars for ‘Bambai Meri Jaan’.

Edited By:

Zinia Bandyopadhyay

Published On:

Sep 14, 2023


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