Allah Ke Banday (2010)

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Inspired (by City Of God) or not, debutant Faruk Kabir’s Allah Ke Banday is definitely gripping. Set in a twisted colony where juvenile delinquents reign the streets, this is a story about Vijay and Yakub, who intend on ruling the entire basti when they grow up.A freak shootout, however, lands them in a remand home. Repeated brutalising leaves them further scarred.Naseer plays the limping warden, who enjoys a perverse satisfaction in making the lives of the young inmates a veritable living hell.

Vijay (Sharman) and Yakub (Faruk) return home after several years as men, still carrying the burden of their haunted past. The path they choose and how they follow it to the tune of hope and resurrection is what makes the film worth watching.

Shot in real slums and shady colonies, the ambience has the right amount of rawness and edginess to it. The characters are intrinsic to the script. The dialogue is gritty and real. Performances are sincere and natural. Despite his experience, Sharman’s performance falls a tad pale of Kabir’s solid acting debut. His body language, expressions and timing are synchronised giving a solid effect to every scene. Naseer’s transition from the oppressive tyrant warden to someone living a dog’s life is exemplary. What works for the film are the subtle moments that make up the whole.

Atul impresses in his small role as a teacher caught between his duty and desire. The background score adds drama and soul to the proceedings without going over-the-top. The cinematography is basic, yet succeeds in drawing you within the four walls of the rescue home or giving a panoramic view of the slums. The actors who play the younger Vijay and Yakub are excellent. They merit a special mention for creating a power-packed first half which Faruk and Sharman follow up.

Pace and length are always issues that either make or break a film especially when it isn’t run-of-the-mill. Allah Ke Banday is anything but. While the first half is rivetting and dynamic, the second seems a bit sluggish. The climax seems a bit rushed and the child actor playing Vitthal (who joins their gang, has an important role) isn’t so convincing. Sharman’s character seems one-dimensional. His romantic track with Anjana Sukhani distracts you from the actual story.

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