Cast: Zaid Khan, Sonal Monteiro, Sujay Shastry, Achyuth Kumar and others
Cinematographer: Advaitha Gurumurthy
Editor: K M Prakash
Music: B Ajaneesh Loknath
Rating: 3.5 stars
Director Jayartheertha’s film ‘Banaras’ is an engaging romantic drama that impresses, primarily because of a good script, some great acting and some outstanding cinematography.
The plot begins with Sidharth Simha (Zaid Khan) spinning a story to Dhani (Sonal Monteiro) that he is her husband from the future who has come to meet her. The manner in which he reels out her personal details are so convincing that she ends up actually believing him.
The poor unsuspecting girl lets Sidharth stay in her room for a day and the charmer clicks a selfie with her when she is fast asleep on her bed without her knowledge.
He goes back to his friends the next day and displays the picture like a trophy, to show that he can earn the confidence and trust of anyone he chooses.
However, little does he know then that the issue is not going to end there. The picture makes its way into a What’s App group and eventually, Dhani’s reputation is tarnished. Unable to bear the shame, the poor girl has no option but to silently quit college and go to her aunt and uncle’s place in Banaras.
Siddharth feels guilty at having ruined the life of a girl who is already struggling to make ends meet. He decides he must apologise to Dhani no matter what and that he will be able to regain his peace of mind only after she forgives him.
After some intense searching he gets to know that she has left for Banaras and makes his way there. What happens there is what the film is all about…
The film gets off to a fantastic start, banking just on the strength of the script and the performance of the lead actors Zaid Khan and Sonal Monteiro. The performances of both these actors are so good that the film invariably wins your attention and draws you into itself.
As the plot slowly shifts to Banaras after a point, it is cinematographer Advaitha Gurumurthy’s breathtaking shots that win your attention. His choice of colours, lighting and the angles of his shots all make Banaras look heavenly.
Towards the climax, the plot, acting, cinematography and music all combine to ensure that you leave the theatre with a sense of satisfaction.
All four actors, who play the prime characters namely — Zaid Khan, Sonal Monteiro and Sujay Shastry– deliver fantastic performances.
Zaid Khan is charming as Sidharth. Sonal looks like the girl next door. She plays the part of a girl in pain to perfection. Sujay Shastry as Shambu, a full time death photographer and a part time auto driver, is just outstanding as the hero’s friend and guide.
The film has an interesting twist in the second half and is bound to leave viewers totally stunned. A commendable effort by all standards.