Bow Barracks Forever poster

Bow Barracks Forever

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Bow Barracks Forever has some well-etched out characters and excellent acting by most of the cast. Unfortunately though, the story is pretty much static and has no support whatsoever from the dialogues.

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Director: Anjan Dutt
Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Noir
More Movie Info

Half an hour into the movie, I was amazed at how well I knew the dozen-odd characters. This was achieved by characters saying and doing things in a small sub-plot. Pretty impressive, that they didn't go the mundane voiceover route. Unfortunately though, most of the characters continue doing the same thing for the next hour and a half too.

Movies like this exist neither to shock nor entertain nor thrill nor to provide relief from the daily grind. They are made just because someone thought more people should hear this story. Almost all the characters are gray and they exist just for you to know them - not for you to judge or feel for.

Since the going was slow, I had a lot of time to pay attention to things other than the "object" of the camera, and what he/she is saying/doing. Especially, since they did not have anything new to say/do after a while. The background stood out. The narrative is set up in a crowded set of buildings - Bow Barracks. There is constant but changing noise (children playing, people cooking, etc) in the background which adds flavor to the scene. The messy rooms reflected the personalities of the occupants. Though it does raise a question in my organization-crazy mind - did none of them really care for any sort of orderliness?! Oh well...

I also enjoyed the picturization of the songs. The style was similar in all songs - shots of the singer singing, interspersed with the happenings at Bow Barracks. It was engaging, nevertheless, mainly because the singer was different every time and brought his/her style and nuances to the screen. The camera purposefully moves, in a style different from the way the rest of the movie is picturized, to give it the slightest video album touch.

Unfortunately, the screenplay and the dialogues make this a drag to watch. Thirty minutes shorter and the movie would improve on both counts, because inevitably all the repetitive lines would have to see the door.

So, if you are the kind for whom something needs to happen every minute, and the movie has to have an absolute definable purpose - please don't bother. But for those of you, who can ignore the flaws and focus on the characters - wait for the movie to be out on DVD and rent it when you are in a not-so-light mood.

Parental warning! Loads of profanity and sexual content. Moderate violence.

- meeta, a part of the audience

11 reviewers(?) - 3 yays 4 so-so 4 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Priyanka Haldipur, Deccan Herald : ...Neel Dutt makes the most of a perfectly good opportunity to display his musical talents.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aprajita Anil, Express India : ...Bow Barracks Forever is definitely worth a watch because it's not the anything like the everyday-product from Bollywood.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ... Living people, breathing people, Bow Barracks Forever captures this ‘heritage' community is all its colourful details.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...he shoots his actors so unflatteringly, you feel sorry for the poor guys who've probably taken a pay cut to star in this low-budget film.... full review

So-So, by Anu Kamat, Intermission, The Bookeazy Blog : ...Unless you can appreciate good acting in an extremely mediocre script I suggest you can give Bow Barracks Forever a miss... full review

So-So, Movie Talkies : ...The look, the talk, the dress, everything has been worked out in the minutest of degrees... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...But the film has its heart in the right place. The actors balance each other nicely.... full review

Thumbs down, : ...the lesser said about them, the more it would save you the pain of reading it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Indu Mirani, DNA : ...he only character that is at all worth watching is that of Lillette Dubey... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ... It's unapologetically dark and even when respite comes at an offbeat price.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manjira Majumdar, Upper Stall : lacks the purity of the bitter sweet jazz blues sound; there is a mite of Beatles rock and roll sound, songs by Kenny Rogers but too much of techno to nudge the other sounds out.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

8 readers - 2 yays 3 so-so 3 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by J. Sarkar

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Raj Mitra : nice

So-So, by Consumer Goods

So-So, by

So-So, by

Nay! Thumbs Down, by

Nay! Thumbs Down, by

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Ujjal : Nt good enough to remember - bad enough to forget

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

This movie is about the inhabitants of Bow Barracks, Calcutta. A set of two buildings that is more than a 100 years old. Its about how they deal with the problems in their lives.

What Worked

  • Accents of all the characters - whether they were genuine or not, I wouldn't be able to tell. But they were quiet consistent.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The first five minutes scared me. The acting was like watching a play by amateurs. But, of course, as the movie progressed there was no trace of that.
  • When Emily (Lillete Dubey) finds the little boy under her bed, there is another boy, Anwar, beside him. But she notices Anwar only after he has crawled out from under the bed. Too delayed a response.
  • Another delayed response - Usha Uthup knows Peter (Victor Banerjee) but recognizes him only after being in his presence for about a minute.
  • The Muslim lady goes about thanking people before leaving, whereas all these people wanted was for her family to leave Bow Barracks.


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Anne (Neha Dubey) has a 5-6 year old boy. She is drying clothes - a few amongst which would fit a 1-2 year old.
  • Peter (Victor Banerjee) is talking about it being a wonderful Christmas Party, while he is actually organizing a wedding party.

Bow Barracks Forever - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
120 minutes

Comments (3)

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That is good to know. Not that the audience is naive enough to believe that all anglo-indians live a sad, deprived life, but it was so lop-sided is sad. Oh well...

lol, u may be a nice person but the review was nothing positive from u r end. Not coz u r bad but coz u missed the positive part. thnxx :)

J. Sarkar

Dear Meenu,

I could not resist to write something about the 'observations' u written down in here, what i necessarily NOT agree with you... As I always Mark This BBF as a highest rank in my Movie Zeal....

The first thing first is The movie you watched is not for the Indian Bollywood Audience who loved a plotted dialogues and good scenic beauty...

You said first 5 minutes is horrible... then I must say the editing is super, If you listen very closely, then you can get the sound of various families sadly cry... in the very first few minuts it's clear, everybody is unhappy what they have got and wanna flea from this corner..

Next issue is Emilly's late reaction about the Anwar under Bed... If you ever went to the Bow Barracks, then only u can understand... how those people live their happy life... they even not bother that who is coming in their's room... so for Emily it was not a 'horrible' thing to notice an unknown boy under her bed...

The 'Indian' who live in a home with door and front gate closed, they will not understand how perfect the director showed us the picture.

And the third one Usha Uthup knew Peter at his young age, so there is no problem of not recognising in first seconds

and what is this--- "The Muslim lady goes about thanking people before leaving, whereas all these people wanted was for her family to leave Bow Barracks.".... any people should have the generosity, so she had

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