Ray REVIEW: Baap 'Ray' Baap This Manoj Bajpayee, Gajraj Rao, Ali Fazal Starrer Is Interesting, But Is This Satyajit Ray?

Ray Review: "We are told these are not faithful adaptations from the original stories. I wouldn’t even call them hybridized versions of the original," writes Subhash K Jha. Read the full review here.

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Ray REVIEW: Baap 'Ray' Baap This Manoj Bajpayee, Gajraj Rao, Ali Fazal Starrer Is Interesting, But Is This Satyajit Ray?

These  are  a quartet of  interesting stories  about four  crazily out of control protagonists.  But is this Satyajit Ray? In the  first story Forget Me Not, Ali Fazal playing an  arrogant self-serving entrepreneur Ipsit Nair accosts a girl at a poolside and asks her,  “So  we spent four nights naked together. Do you remember my cock in your vagina?”

Satyajit Ray, God bless his intellectually refined soul, would probably die once again if he heard these words being associated with his story (‘Bipin Chowdhury'r Smritibhrom’). We are told these are not faithful adaptations from the original stories. I wouldn’t even call them hybridized versions of the original.

This is  Ray on speed. In fact this  is  not Ray . It  is Baap Ray Baap. Audacious, unvarnished,  smoky and  psychedelic   with characters  talking dirty   just for effect.Bidita Bag playing  an eminently promiscuous actress in  the second story Bahrupya(originally  Bahurupi)  puts her hand  in K K Menon’s pants  and comments  on  the hormonal reaction.

Both the  above stories are  directed  by one of  Bengal’s  hotshots Srijit Mukherjee who  brings to the table a Ray that Ray would find hard to recognize. Only the core  of Ray’s story remains. The  rest is all window dressing: fancy flouncy  provocative  , but nonetheless  missing the essence as the   sound  of the  protagonist’s pain  is  drowned  in the din of dismal embellishments.

 In Forget Me  Not  Ali Fazal(trying hard to  look like an entrepreneur who is rapidly losing the plot) is placed in the vortex of a conspiracy against him that exposes him  to be  a   ruthless inconsiderate megalomaniac.

“Which man takes the  woman whose child he has  forced her to abort to buy children’s wear  for his wife’s child?” Shweta Prasad playing the  entrepreneur’s abused secretary  Maggie wants  to know.  

A man who  started his  journey with Ray and  culminated it  with  Srijit Mukherjee?

 In  another  moment revealing his approaching  insanity, Ipsit leaves his  baby on the popcorn counter when  he  goes to watch Drishyam with  his wife. Why would an affluent couple take their newly-born baby to  a movie? Unless it’s all in a  dream…Which it is. But who can tell?

The second story Bahrupya has K K Menon in splendid  form as a lonely  conflicted  makeup artiste swimming and  stewing in his own solitude, until  the  preposterous  last act of the plot  where  …well, things fall apart and the centre cannot hold.

Raunchy  humour  raises its ogling head when our bahrupya  hero  pretending to a be  a producer is having sex with  the aforementioned actress  when she rasps from her him, “Floor pe  kab jaa rahe hain.”

The  Bahrupya stops  and looks  at  the  floor. Laughter?A serious problem  with taking this story seriously is  that  each time K  K Menon  assumes a new prosthetic  avatar an actor other than he plays  the  role.Credibility of the  multi-personality  imposter  is thereby  not only  compromised it is decimated.

The fourth story Spotlight directed by Vasan(Mard  Ko Dard Nahin Hota) Bala with Harshvardhan Kapoor  playing , ahem, a Bollywood superstar tries hard to hold up a story  of an insecure bratty  apparently untalented star Vikram Arora  who feels  threatened  by a powerful  godwoman’s presence  in  his midst. It  is  filled with  Bollywood references  like  the star’s  girlfriend(Akansha Ranjan Kapoor, well played) accusing  him  of  ‘Hai Huku vibes’ and Harshvardhan  quoting his father Anil Kapoor’s song from Mr India(Zindagi ki yehi reet hai) ,all falls flat .

The story  only comes alive when Radhika Madan appears as the  Godwoman.  Feisty  and kinetic  she  fills the frames with her combustive energy . Chandan Roy Sanyal as  the superstar’s  secretary is  also  a maneating scenestealing  beast every time he’s on screen.

By far  the  best story  of  the  quartet  is Abhishek Choubey’s   Hungama Hai Kyun Barpa(original story Barin Bhowmik-er Byaram)  about a kleptomaniac Ghazal singer  Safar Ali(Manoj Bajpai) and his encounter during a  train journey with  an officious wrestler (Gajraj Rao). Both  Bajpai and Rao are in  excellent form playing against one  another with  sparring jabs, and so are Raghuvir Yadav and Manoj Pawa in cameo  appearances that  adorn  the  cheeky  plot with  thorny humour and  a  sense of insouciant  irreverence.

 There is  wit wramth  and iconoclasm  in  this  story,  and  yes music.  Lots  of Ghazals by  Ghulam Ali. Abhishek Chubey had earlier invoked  the  world  of Lucknowi splendor  with  endearing results in Dedh Ishqiya. Here with actors who  know  how to fill a screen  without crowding it, Choubey  transforms a Ray story  into a work of subliminal art.

Towards  the  end  of  Choubey’s story someone compares kleptomania to  stealing Satyajit Ray’s stories.This is  the  only story  that gets  the point. You can’t  play around with Ray without being accused  of  desecrating the original.


Image source: IMDb