25 Jan 2015

Random Trailers I like - Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

A good trailer should be like a mini skirt, they say, reveal just enough and keep everyone interested. Does the trailer for 'Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!' do that? You bet, it does. It clearly has traces of the Guy Ritchie's take on Sherlock Holmes and the recreated Victorian era.

Before we proceed, here is a list of things that we already know about the characters from the version that Basu Chaterjee directed for Doordarshan:

  • Byomkesh Bakshi (note that this spelling does not have a 'Y' at the end. Neither does it have the exclamation. The former is for typographical balance, but the latter cannot be justified.) - A detective and introduces himself as Satyanveshi.
  • Ajit - BB's assistant, sidekick and friend
  • Satyabati - BB's wife with whom he bounces off his thoughts
  • Puntiram - BB's servant

Lets take a look at what it reveals and try to connect some dots about the much closely guarded movie story line.

The trailer starts with the production houses logo and moves on to define 'detective' based on pages from dictionaries and thesauruses. 'Satyanveshi' is what catches the eye as being the one that had been associated before as BB's nickname.

We see the first glimpse of BB being pulled by a rickshaw and he is traveling through the lanes of Chinatown. Note the red vertical scroll behind the boy. It has some Chinese writings on it.

We are taken to a conversation in a canteen full of people smoking cigarettes and drinking tea or some other hot beverage. The restaurant serves some dish made of potatoes. Note that the logo on the dish has a map of undivided India. So, the period is before 1947.

BB is shown sitting lost on a bench in an empty classroom with a pack of cigarettes and matches. Note the writing on the blackboard: "History of Love - Sexual - Divine - Obsession - (I cannot make out the text in the last circle)"

BB is seen angrily kicking a football. The wall in the background has the phrases - 
"Mahamaya boarding house" - the letter box
"Yahaan sharaab evam afeem ka sevan karna sakt manaa hai" - left of door, below the letter box
"Homeopathy clinic" - Red, yellow, blue board on the right of the door
"Kamraa khaali hai" - Below the board
This scene is also the first clear view of the connected eyebrows of BB.
This has to be the lodge which has a connection to the story. The board on the right is particularly a freshly written one indicating that the room has been vacated only recently. Perhaps, the earlier occupant is a victim.

Next BB is shown moving between vehicular traffic. Note the advert of some saabun on the back of the red bus - "Angoori devi ki pasand - Film staaron ka sondarya saabun". Also, note the white skinned guy on the right in army clothes. 
So, there is a film actress named 'Angoori Devi' and there is a war going on.

The banner reads - "SPECIAL RED CROSS DANCE - IN AID OF WAR FUNDS AT MIDNIGHT ON 15TH 1943" and more soldiers in a truck. The text on the screen clears any doubts about the location and period of the setting - 1943 Calcutta.
Ajit (Anand Tiwari) makes an entry informing that his father has been missing since the last 2 months. 

Neeraj Kabi makes an entry. He seems to be expressing disbelief at BB's audacious claims.

Next enters, who I believe, is the Angoori Devi character mentioned above. She is shown to be a rather unabashed and flirtatious actress. The luxurious house and the lavish settings highlight that she is a rather wealthy personality. I doubt if actresses were known to earn that well in those days. So, she might be into other covert businesses, as well.
The opulent settings include a Jaguar vehicle, as well. But, this smooth Jaguar logo of the 'leaping cat' was adopted after the World War 2. There are not of retrospectively fitting this logo into the 1938 model, but that was after the World War 2, too. This might be a blooper.

BB is meeting Angoori Devi to inquire about the disappearance of Bhuvan Banerjee, possibly Ajit's father. She is shown to be leaning on a white vehicle this time. The vehicle is also shown to be driven with BB and Angoori Devi in it. It seems she is not comfortable about the investigation is afraid of something. She is shown nervously smoking a cigarette. She is certainly aware of some wrongdoings.

The trail of the investigation takes BB to Divya Menon (Sabyasachi's assistant). She plays Satyabati and she is not yet married to BB. So, there is a love story between them, as well.(She has a resemblance with Tulip Joshi, no?)

BB and Ajit are shown arguing about the latter's father's disappearance. So, the police might be hand in glove with this. BB enters an unused dusty room. He is seen to have discovered a newspaper with letters being cut out... for a collage?
Some missing letters in caps: prOclamation dAy. GUard your mouth agaiNST germs. 
A bloodied hand holding a paan box is being handed over to Ajit, who looks at it with fear and anxiety. There should be some clues to his missing father in there or he could have be dead as BB instinctively claimed earlier.
The tempo of the music and the scenes suddenly switches to give a feel of the on going war. There are soldiers marching, there is the building that looks like a police head quarters and possibly a police officer conversing with BB (seen blurred in the mirror) about a 'green gang from Shanghai'. A disguised Ajit and BB are seen walking through a dark alley. They might be following someone or going to a rather some place where they can get more information.

There are frames of that actor from Kung Fu Hustle, threatening to kill another person of same origin using chopsticks! The design on their clothes seems like they are Chinese. Note the hand on the glass in the back.

BB is shown to be approaching a dressing table and taking out sheet(s) of folded paper. When he is reading it, he is shown to be held over the keys of a piano. These might not be contiguous scenes and they might not be BB's hands either.
The notes read:
"I know what you are upto meet me or everyone will know"
"Last chance tonight at the factory nine"
These are definitely related to the newspaper cut-out scene mentioned above.

The next is a series of scenes of transportation - tram to Shambazar, bus over the Howrah bridge and the map of Calcutta with 'x' marks.
Note the advertisement board for the cigarette brand seen in the canteen scene. Maybe this is BB's brand, too.

Another scene of Angoori Devi with the Jaguar follows. The 'leaping cat' logo again.

A wall mural scratchily painted in shades of red is shown. The text in white reads - Calcutta Kiss. Young Gun? The painting resembles the face of a wolf. A black car is shown trying to kill a what look like a disguised BB and Ajit. BB and Ajit are visiting a Buddhist monk, who was shown practicing martial arts earlier. The monk does not appear friendly.

The duo is then shown trying to administer medical aid to a bloodied young man. He has a long cut across his front upper half. He hands over what looks like the bloodied map we saw earlier.
The paan box features again. It certainly has some importance in the mystery. The father could have been missing because of a mistaken identity and only because he was holding the box.

What follow are very quick glimpses of BB being kidnapped and kept in a torture room with a security guard in khakhi uniform. A pathan with a white dog visits the kidnapped BB. Chinese goondaas assault BB.

Punchline dialogue: sach ke aas paas wala jhooth pakadna mushkil hota hai.

So, what can we make out of this about the story. Only that this is about BB's first case which starts with the search for Ajit's missing father and it involves among many - the mysterious actress named Angoori Devi, the police, the green gang of Shanghai and a missing tenant of Mahamaya lodge. Somewhere, Satyabati gets involved and there is a love story. I have totally skipped the intimate scenes between BB and Angoori Devi, as they are definitely distractions. The villain speaks hindi, but seems to have some influence over the Chinese and he has marked important areas in Calcutta for what I imagine is bomb blasts.

In conclusion, the trailer meets it purpose. We have something to look forward to in the month of April.

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