Reviewing Alt Balaji and Zee5’s latest action thriller, ‘Bang Baang’ is as pointless as the extra ‘a’ in its title for two reasons. First, it stars immensely popular TikTok stars Mr. Faisu AKA Faisal Shaikh and former Miss India, Ruhi Singh, in the lead, and considering the dearth of their content post the ban of the app in India, this is probably the best way their fans can see them in action. Secondly, the show was already touted to be a franchise long before they even began shooting. So here’s a lowdown of season 1, essentially, before the next one.
What is the story about?
Five years ago, the heiress to a rich family from Udaipur, Rumona, went missing from her own college reunion party. When her supposed corpse is found by some nearby tourists, it brings back the prime suspect, Raghu (Mr. Faisu) back into the city, only to reunite with his ex-flame and the current investigating officer on the case, Meera (Ruhi Singh). Here’s the twist though - Meera is now engaged to Rumona’s brother Rohan, and there’s a mystery figure who is ready to out Raghu to the cops.
Somewhere around the late 2000s, there was a surge of pointless action films (most of which starred the likes of Salman Khan) which were just a sliver of an update on the 90s aesthetic of kitsch and machismo. The plot was pretty wafer-thin but the hero usually had a rockin’ bod and would enter with some serious whistle-worthy dialogue. It’s the new millennium so the heroine is more than just a pretty-young-thing to dance around trees. In fact, you can often see her wielding the gun and kicking some ass by the time the climax rolls around. Bang Baang isn’t even interested in camouflaging its inspirations, picking up major plot points from its superior Fox Star Studios namesake (superior because at least that film has a budget to show Hrithik and Katrina canoodling in Greece) or from Wanted, the film that essentially started the trend. Almost every major plot-point seems to be directly lifted from some film you’ve seen before. Worst of all, this makes its entire mystery a masterclass of predictability, and you’ll know the cuplrit behind Rumona’s murder from episode 1.
As if the benchmark is at its lowest, Bang Baang starts off at least mildly promising, with the audience in genuine bewilderment as to how the mystery of the murderous flashback will come to unravel. Even the writers know that they’re playing with something too simplistic here, however. So they try to unnecessarily complicate the proceedings with convoluted subplots and useless side characters - the kidnapping of a little girl which lands Meera at Mumbai for a split-second, a drunken neighbour as a murder witness, and almost all attempts at tracking Raghu in the beginning. The show is structured in the strange 20 minutes of 10 episodes pacing, making it feel more suited to a film than a series. To create that binge-watching element, the pacing is made to be too fast which means that scene transitions are odd and jarring. For instance, a scene of someone’s death is immediately followed by some not-so-subtle comedy by the hero. A show like Bang Baang which bases itself on the showmanship of dialoguebaazi isn’t too interested in creating realism. So crimes happen in broad daylight, witnesses are questioned in solitude, key evidence is handed around like candy, and basically, all cop protocol is forgotten. There is no depth to the show’s writing.
Perhaps another reason for this is because the show is trying to emulate its Fox Star Studios namesake - that if the chemistry between the leads is solid enough, the audience may forget the fact that the show needs a story. Ruhi Singh as Meera might just be the most competent member of this badly miscast show. She seems sincere in her scenes and performs her stunts well. Mr. Faisu has been given this larger-than-life persona for Raghu, which I don’t see him pulling off without coming across as a mostly annoying and all-round prick. The entire show’s premise is that Meera and Raghu are former lovers who will be at opposite sides of the law, and it baffles me that they would have such few scenes together. The writers lose out on basic moments where their banter and chemistry can be explored, and so, they end up having little of it. Most of the other actors are inconsequential, whether in big or small roles.
Music & Other Departments
Bang Baang has an earworm title song that plays about four times in every episode, even in scenes where it feels most inappropriate. The production value is laughably low. The action sequences and fight scenes aren’t bad though.
The series is pretty short overall. The entire season can be wrapped up in just over three hours. Considering any mystery has a basic appeal, and you may just want to check if you made the right prediction about the killer, this could be your sole reason to watch the show.
Someone commissioned season 2 already.
Did I enjoy it?
No. There was a point towards the climax where I thought I’d be thrown off by the real killer but that turned out to be the faux ending. Nothing surprises me anymore, is what I’m saying.
Do I recommend it?
No. I see no reason for this show to exist other than as a star vehicle for some TikTok people. I guess if you’re a fan of those people, go ahead. Else, avoid.