Allah Ke Banday Hindi Movie Review
First thing first, the posters of the film are extremely misleading. You have Naseeruddin Shah featuring prominently in them while his role in the film is not half as prominent. And in case the director thinks the role is prominent then it does not come across, which means faults in writing. In fact Naseer's is not the only character that fails. Another strong actor Atul Kulkarni plays a character which does not match up to the promise or requirement.
It would be false to say Allah Ke Banday has no idea behind it. It does, and a very good one indeed. It is a journey of two children Vijay (Sharman) and Yakub (Faruk) from slums to juvenile prison, where they graduate in the world of crime, and then set out to rule the same slums with the help of organized crime and their own gang. And as they do that they learn their lessons.
However the transitions in the characters never come across. The primary issue with the film is its screenplay. In a typical case of the writer-director falling in love with the concept and situations he misjudge what should be in and what should be out. He seems to have gotten mighty confused whether he wanted to keep the film in a documentary-drama state or make it a proper story. Essential rule of storytelling in films - telling things in minimum time - is forgotten. And you cannot do that when the genre of your film is as serious.
Technically the film has been shot well with a couple of shot remaining in your mind long after you watch it. But there are editing glitches and also continuity jerks. At one point Sharman Joshi's beard suddenly grows reasonably within hours! The background music too sounds out of context at times.
Performances however are quite a highpoint in the film. The kids, Sharman, Yakub, Zakir Hussain, Atul Kulkarni are all good. Naseeruddin Shah lifts standards as ever in his cameo. He is pure magic. Anjana Sukhani hardly has anything to do, though her character was essentially meant to bring about a change in Sharman's character. All Anjana Sukhani gets to do is a song and a love making scene, post which she gets pregnant and is seen right at the end.
Overall, Allah Ke Banday is not a noir and neither is it a true drama - because the drama never builds. It does bring about some thoughts about Juvenile prisons but that could have come out better in a complete documentary-drama. It's just a good story not told well.