Riteish Deshmukh-starrer Banjo, which was released on Friday, 23 September, has received mixed reviews from critics.
Banjo is a musical saga and revolves around Riteish's character, who essays the role of a banjo player, and symbolises street artists who face several challenges to create a niche for themselves in the world of music. The film has a Maharashtrian flavor to it and will see Riteish in a never-seen-before look. The actor will be sporting long hair and a rugged look.
The trailer, posters and film promotion have been creating a huge buzz among masses. The film marks the return of Riteish as a solo lead in a Bollywood movie after a long gap. His last solo Bollywood release was Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (2012), which also featured his wife Genelia Deshmukh. However, Marathi film Lai Bhaari (2014) is his biggest solo release till date.
Banjo also marks the Bollywood directorial debut of National-award winning Marathi director Ravi Jadhav and has Nargis Fakhri in the female lead. It has been produced by Krishika Lulla, who earlier produced Tanu Weds Manu Returns, one of the highest grossing Bollywood films.
We bring you some critics' verdict for the movie. See them below in the Banjo review round-up:
Sreeju Sudhakaran of Bollywood Life said: "Banjo would have been a really good entertainer, if the film had stuck to what the title had promised, instead of straying to other subplots. If you are a Mumbaikar then this is a one time watch for you."
Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News said: "While Banjo should ideally have been a showcase for Deshmukh to flex his acting muscles in a solo hero project, this film struck all the wrong notes for me. Deshmukh is thoroughly unconvincing as a shaggy musician with unwashed hair. While he displays a knack for the comic scenes, he seems uncomfortable in the romantic ones."
Renuka Vyavahare of the Times of India said: "If you are familiar with Mumbai's working-class neighbourhoods, where the hearts of the poor are bigger than the pay packages of those residing in the mushrooming high-rises, you'll be able to notice the beauty of Banjo. It also makes you respect the street musicians a little more. Though commercial in approach, Jadhav keeps things unpretentious and thus relatable."
Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times said: "It's a film by someone who can see Mumbai with indigenous eyes. Scratch the filters and it's as raw as it always was. Show patience in the second half, and it may work for you. There's a lot to like in Banjo. Had this 137-minute film refrained from long cross-conversations and forced conflicts in the second half, it could have struck a better chord."
Surabhi Redkar of Koimoi said: "Banjo could be termed as the most boring music-based film ever! It is a haphazard film that tests your patience until the end. There are ample of loopholes in the presentation, especially silly stuff like the band performs at a club and during the song, we can see all four members dancing."
PTI said: "Lead actor Riteish Deshmukh, in a rare solo-hero outing, puts his best foot forward, but the film's screenplay is so terribly insipid that all his efforts can only go waste. Music composers Vishal-Shekhar contribute a few foot-tapping numbers to Banjo, but everything else in the film is a drag. Only for Riteish Deshmukh fans. The rest can give Banjo a miss."
Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com said: "Banjo makes a winsome start but takes an awfully tedious route to achieve its happily ever after. Banjo frontman Riteish Deshmukh doesn't exactly pass with flying colours either. He seems too burned out to convey the raw, roguish charm of a man on the fence over transgression and better prospects."