This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Amrita Roy. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! Review – ‘Like The Perfectly Slow Cooked Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani’

More from Amrita Roy

By Amrita Roy:

“Sach ka rang dekha hai? Laal.”

Like a huge percentage of the TV show watching population, I am addicted to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s ‘Sherlock‘. It is fast, riveting, amusing and has you on the edge of your seat every time Benedict Cumberbatch pursues a clue down the nooks and crannies of London. You will be disappointed if you go to watch Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! with the same expectations.

detective byomkesh bakshi

“Sach ke aas paas waala jhooth pakadna mushkil hota hai.”

Be it Bollywood or Hollywood, Byomkesh is not your typical filmy sleuth. He doesn’t ride an expensive car but rather walks all across the 1940s Calcutta in his dhoti. He oils and side parts his hair without fail every morning. He isn’t a know-it-all who solves a case hours before letting others know. Neither does he have a string of connections splattered across the city, nor does the police have his back. Each character is critical to the story, and not just Byomkesh and his companion Ajit. He is much more complete than any other detective character: he fails and triumphs, he falls in love and marries, and if you’ve read the stories written by Sharadindu Bandyopadhay you’d know that he also has a son and establishes a publishing house. In my first watch of the film, I could only spot two similarities with Sherlock; Byomkesh too is just as obnoxious in dealing with humans and he too meets his archenemy without realizing it.

Byomkesh is a dynamic character; he develops beautifully as the film progresses. There is no other detective who has as much of a back story as Byomkesh. Banerjee indulges into Byomkesh’s past to highlight the insecurities of a bright university Math graduate in 1943 Calcutta who sees no future besides becoming a teacher or a clerk to ensure a regular cash flow and then settling down. In all detective stories, the audience enters knowing that the sleuth is light years ahead of them. In this film, we feel like Byomkesh is one of us. With veiled half-truths and constant deception, each character is a possible suspect in the murder of Ajit’s chemist dad. He is on a huge journey as his first case ever escalates from finding a dead man’s body to saving Calcutta itself.

“Bangali samajhna bhul gaye hai kya?”

Dibakar Banerjee is a director of immense caliber and doesn’t need to rely on linguistic artifice to establish the “Bengali-ness” of a film, as is commonplace in Bollywood. The entire film is shot in proper Hindi which acts as the filter between reality and storytelling. As Dibakar Banerjee himself put it in an interview, “In Gladiator, a Latin Gladiator spoke in English.” Banerjee also doesn’t overly rely on the period of the film to achieve his purpose. Yes, it is set in 1943. And that’s just about it. All the characters are just as human as we are. All the characters are just as relatable as characters from any movie set in contemporary times.

Having grown up in a true blue Bong household, my childhood consisted of a heavy dosage of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry and Satyajit Ray’s films. Banerjee borrows from their artistic styles to leave the ultimate Bengali fingerprint on this film. The film simmers as the characters and the setting develop in conjunction, feeding off and complementing each other at all crucial plot points. It isn’t fast paced as most thrillers are. Not every dialogue is meant to be a one line scene stealer.

Each scene has been painstakingly put together with every detail polished to perfection, creating the feel of an international thriller. Every shot bears motifs of crime and danger. All the actors play their roles with utmost finesse. Sushant Singh Rajput’s nonchalant grace makes Byomkesh all the more endearing. The eclectic music enhances the film and the background score is sensuously haunting. The air raid sirens, the resurrection of Yang Guang, the trams, the billboards, the College Street Coffee House and the deliciously dark plot will transport you into the pre-Independence world of the Bengali detective.

Dibakar Banerjee has provided India with one of the best fiction films in recent years. As he rightly put, it is time for India to go crazy about an Indian detective who can take on the likes of Holmes and Poirot. Comic Con India in the coming year should be thronged by fans proud to don the dhoti-panjabi Byomkesh Bakshy look. I would compare the movie to vintage red wine but the authentic Indianness of Byomkesh begs a more Indian comparison. This film is like the perfectly slow cooked Hyderabadi chicken biryani. It takes its own time to conjure a rich and lingering taste. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.

Also read: Dibakar Banerjee’s interview with Youth Ki Awaaz on the making of this film!

You must be to comment.
  1. babita

    Strongly felt dizzy about the plot which danced into an unusual tune than the one reflected in the original book. Sushant tried to save its face, but failed with those wrongful inclusions of the director. No,this movie does not introduce our truth finder Bomkesh Bokshi. He was not a detective, never. Ajit mismatched with Sushant and they never met like the way Mr. Banerjee scripted. Anguridevi landed from another story, she was not in the introductory one. Bengali version was way to better than this, in case of acting, direction, script, plot etc. I would go to the hall again to watch bomkesh in hindi when director will do justice to the original story. Else, never to watch dibakar banerjee will be will the justice.

  2. ishita sengupta

    Dibakar Banerjee’s “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!” is a gorgeous, gorgeous film. It transports you to the 1940’s without the nasal tone, elaborate wigs and unreal dialogues. The time frame, instead is evident by the huge posters, trams and the ancient naiveté which make Kolkata look like a throbbing live picture from a black and white newspaper. The detailing is that perfect. This is Banerjee ‘s most indulgent film and probably even his most ambitious. His leading man is fantastic. Rajput is innocent, cunning and also vulnerable. He is complacent at one moment and apologetic at the other. Anand Tiwari is remarkable as Ajit. Almost always abreast with the leading man, both while pacing ahead and faltering. Banerjee prepares the script like a searing meaty meal. However it is here that he falters. In this whodunit tale, you don’t particularly look forward to who actually was the perpetrator. Does that mean you take out your phone and listlessly scroll through it? Not really. And herein lies the genius of Banerjee. Right from his first film (which had no “hero”) till this, Banerjee has exhibited an unmatched ability of creating exceptional minor characters. And thus, when the plot no longer engages you, the characters do and their quirks. Thus just when you are disappointed with the man who had promised you the world with this film and yet does not quite deliver , something a character does or say reinstates your faith in the man. And you are willing to give him another chance. .

More from Amrita Roy

Similar Posts

By varun pratap

By Love Matters India

By Kunal Jha

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below