Director: Ranjan Chandel
Cast: Aditya Rawal, Shalini Pandey, Vijay Varma, Jatin Sarna
In his directorial debut, Bamfaad, Ranjan Chandel manages to capture the old-world charm of Allahabad – not Prayagraj, but Ilahabad — as the locals would say. It is the perfect setting for dramatic young love, but Aditya Rawal and Shalini Pandey’s romance is not quite the explosive and heady passion that it promises to be.
Nasir Jamal aka Naate (Aditya Rawal), the hot-headed and impulsive son of politically ambitious Shahid Jamal, falls in love at first sight with Neelam (Shalini Pandey). She is ‘bamfaad’ herself, but has a dark secret of her own, which ties her to local strongman Jigar Fareedi (Vijay Varma).
The inter-religious aspect of the relationship is unimportant in the scheme of things in Bamfaad; there is a one-off reference to ‘love jihad’ but it is quickly forgotten. Instead, the villain in this story is Jigar, who is determined to strip Nasir of his ego. But this face-off, too, lacks intensity. And while Nasir’s volatile behaviour is established right from the opening scene, when a major conflict arises, he puzzlingly hops on the first bus to Lucknow with Neelam to get away from it all.
Writers Ranjan Chandel and Hanzalah Shahid fail to do justice in their attempt to embed Nasir and Neelam’s romance in the power struggles and politics of a small town. The subplot of Nasir’s friends and their romances is an unnecessary diversion, and despite having potential, Jigar’s character arc is undercooked.
Bamfaad does not really offer anything that we haven’t already seen before in small-town love stories; I was reminded of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Haasil, Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan and even Shashank Khaitan’s Dhadak in some scenes. Despite its share of clichés, the film has its merits.
Aditya Rawal makes a promising debut and is a refreshing departure from the star kids with enviable physiques but zero acting chops. He delivers a restrained performance, with a convincing UP accent. Shalini Pandey is up to the mark as the feisty-yet-vulnerable Neelam but reminiscent of her Arjun Reddy act.
Jatin Sarna is impressive as the treacherous friend, and while Vijay Varma stands out as the local strongman with political ambitions, the weak writing lets him down.
Bamfaad loses steam in the second half and has a been-there-done-that feel to it. However, it is buoyed by its performances, and makes for a decent watch during the lockdown.
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