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Zee Studios and Bhanushali Studios Ltd.’s Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is based on the true-life story of Godman Asaram Bapu’s arrest and the courtroom battle that followed till the judgement in the rape case, for which he was convicted, was delivered by the court. It shows an ordinary lawyer’s unimaginable quest to bring the rapist to book in spite of the mighty influence used by the rapist to secure bail.
Baba (Surya Mohan Kulshreshtha) is arrested for the rape of a minor girl, Nu (Adrija Sinha), who dares to drag him to court. An ordinary advocate, P.C. Solanki (Manoj Bajpayee), agrees to fight the case of the rape victim. His fight for justice is, of course, not simple, given the power and influence Baba wields. But Solanki’s resolve is what sees him through. Ultimately, how he secures justice for Nu forms the crux of the drama.
Deepak Kingrani has written an absolutely outstanding story (inspired by real events) and screenplay. The drama is so engrossing that the audience finds it difficult to let their minds meander for even a second. The courtroom battle is so powerful and so entertaining that it sucks the viewers in completely. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that the audience starts enjoying the courtroom drama as if it were unfolding in reality in front of their eyes. There is never a dull moment as the screenplay has plenty of drama, emotions, melodrama, suspense, thrill and excitement. The game of oneupmanship played in every court hearing is so enjoyable that the viewers look forward to each day’s court hearing with bated breath. And they feel a sense of elation each time Baba’s bail plea is rejected. Of course, the final judgement pronounced by the judge is so dramatic that the weak-hearted among the audience would be moved to tears as they had been rooting for the rape victim and, therefore, advocate P.C. Solanki. The final words before the delivery of the judgement, first by the defense lawyer (Vipin Kumar Sharma) and then by prosecution lawyer P.C. Solanki, are so impactful that the impact of the order delivered increases manifold. The final order actually makes the audience’s chests swell with pride. Deepak Kingrani’s dialogues are outstanding. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the research team and writer Deepak Kingrani are no less than heroes of the film.
Manoj Bajpayee proves yet again that he is an actor par excellence. He plays advocate P.C. Solanki with such effortless ease and oh so wonderfully that one can’t imagine any other actor doing such great justice to the character. No praise would be excessive for Bajpayee because he has surpassed all expectations. In one word, his performance is award-winning. Adrija Sinha acts brilliantly as rape victim Nu. Vipin Kumar Sharma is first-rate as the defence lawyer and evokes hatred in the viewer’s heart, which is the need of the character. Ikhlaque Ahmed Khan lends terrific support as the sessions court judge. Jaihind Kumar and Durga Sharma make their marks as Nu’s distraught parents. Kaustav Sinha is excellent as P.C. Solanki’s assistant. Surya Mohan Kulshreshtha does a very fine job as Baba. Abhijit Lahiri (as senior lawyer Ram Chandwani), Balaji Lakshminarasimhan (as senior lawyer Venketeshwara Swami) and Vivek Tandon (as another senior Supreme Court lawyer) provide phenomenal support. Gauransh Sharma (as P.C. Solanki’s little son) and Veena Mehta (as Solanki’s mother) lend fine support. Manohar Teli (as Mahendra Singh) and Vikram Singh (as Kripal Singh) are good. Ajoy Chakraborty does well as the Supreme Court judge. Ajay Soni (as the public prosecutor), Amrita Chakraborty (as lady police officer Pushpalata), Archana Dani (as Mrs. Bapat), Arihant Rathod, Krishna Singh Bisht and Varun Ketan (all three as Baba’s disciples), Himanshu Manek (as the principal of Saraswati School), Micky Singh (as the lady principal, Mrs. Kamat), Nikhil Pandey (as Amit Nihag), Nitin Jaiswal, Padmanabha Kotian and Phalguni Agarwal (all three as witnesses), Priyanka Setia, Rahul Khanna and Rajan Kavatra (all three as ACPs Jodhpur), Rajesh Talnikar (as Dinesh Bhavchandani), Saurabh Sharma (as Nu’s first lawyer), Shivraj D. Walvekar (as police commissioner Jodhpur), Tushar Phulke (as the defence witness), Vishwatmika Dixit (as the defence lawyer’s assistant), and the rest of the cast provide superb support.
Apurv Singh Karki’s direction is fantastic. His narration of the drama is so real that the audience feels like it is a part of the unfolding drama. His build-up of the scenes is extraordinary. He is a director to watch out for. Music (Sangeet & Siddharth Haldipur and Bose) is fair but could’ve been better. Lyrics (Garima Obrah, Sangeet Haldipur and Sameer Anjan) are of a good standard. Sandeep Chowta’s background music is outstanding. Arjun Kukreti does a phenomenal job of the cinematography. Mohammad Amin Khatib’s action and stunt scenes are very realistic. Priya Suhass’ production designing and Surabhi Verma’s art direction are appropriate. Sumeet Kotian’s editing is super-sharp.
On the whole, Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is a straight hit. It will win a lot of praise for its extraordinary writing, fantastic narration and high-order performances.
Released on 23-5-’23 on Zee5.
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