I am sure many of us, are grateful for our good luck and the graces of the superpower we have faith in. And yet, Qaidi Band makes you realise how much we take for granted - as simple a thing as, we won't be punished for being good. Unfortunately, it falls prey to some cliches and becomes a tad too filmy to retain the impact of “not overestimating the value of what we have”.
However, this good is undone by the uneven speed at which things move in the second half.
We are spoon-fed some definitions to begin with and for once, it just might be fairly so. We are told what under-trials are and why they don't wear prison uniforms. After all, we shouldn't be distracted by the relatively nice clothes that the under-trials wear. However, it could have been shown rather told too.
And this is where Qaidi Band distances its audiences. It is as if it is in education mode throughout, even if it has stopped the spoon-feeding. Qaidi Band is constantly exposing you to the things that it thinks you might not know – the atrocities the under-trials or other prisoners face, the sorry state of health and hygiene, the total lack of dignity and so on. Through this though, it feels like it is standing on a podium and addressing us.
To its credit, it doesn't once get preachy. It keeps the message short and sweet. In that sense, some clichés are actually conspicuous by their absence. For instance, what lyrics would you expect from a music band of unjustly imprisoned men and women? A forcefully inspirational, laden with pain and despair. Even though, the lyrics aren't fun or funny, they have a subtlety about them that make you believe the impact they would have on a listener.
However, this good is undone by the uneven speed at which things move in the second half. It is one of those times, when it felt like the writers wrapped it up because they couldn't come up with another way to close it.
Except for Aadar Jain who goes slightly over-the-top every once in a while, the rest of the lead cast keeps things very believable. Anya Singh doesn't let you doubt the strength of the frail-framed Bindu. I just hope her skin wasn't darkened to give her a sepia thus, rugged tone. It is amusing though that Anna Ador and Lin Laishram suddenly disappear. It comes across as a casting and dates issue rather than a natural departure from the story.
Films like Qaidi Band are a dillemma to recommend. They might not be movies you have to or must watch. But, if you don't, can you really complain about Hindi film industry churning out the same kind of films Friday after Friday? But then, should you spend time, money and energy on an average-ish film just because it is different?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...After seeing Yash Raj’s Befikre and Meri Pyari Bindu I had begin to lose faith in the illustrious banner. Qaidi Band is the finest Yash Raj film since Dum Laga ke Haisha. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sreeju Sudhakaran, Bollywood Life : ...Qaidi Band surely has its heart in its right place and tackles a subject rarely discussed in Hindi cinema. The music is fab and both the debutantes have done a really good job here. The execution is patchy post interval, but this Band has the potential to surprise you at quite a few places. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...Overall, Qaidi Band is riveting tale of undertrials which has an interesting premise with some crackling performances. Watch out for debutants Aadar Jain, Anya Singh and taut direction by Habib Faisal. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Satish Sundaresan , koimoi : ...After having made a mark in Bollywood with films like Do Dooni Chaar, Ishaqzaade, and Daawat-e-Ishq, director Habib Faisal does an extremely remarkable job with Qaidi Band. Thanks to his directorial ability, he flawlessly converts the script into a compelling visual delight onscreen. With his directorial skills in Qaidi Band, he has catapulted into the league of exemplary film makers. The film’s music (Amit Trivedi) is captivating and complements the script to a ‘t’. Ditto for the film’s background music (Hitesh Modak). ... full review
Thumbs up, Sify Movies : ...And finally, of course, there are the songs -- the lyrics are strongly worded and magnificently structured. And they seamlessly integrate with the narrative. ... full review
Thumbs up, Zee News : ...What is missing in the plot are scenes that emotionally elevate the tempo of the narrative. Though it has its fair share of melodrama, the exuberance needed for a musical is missing. Also the song at the climax is a super let-down. But overall, the film works as an expressive drama. ... full review
So-So, by Vicky Washington, Desi Martini : ...The film honestly had the potential of offering something new, however it misses the shot bigtime. Don’t let yourself be a prisoner of this big screen outing. ... full review
So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...Good music, solid performances, relevant story, Qaidi Band has everything a film for young India would need. With a little more skillfully crafted narrative, this movie could’ve done wonders. But even with its set of limitations, this is one adept entertainer. ... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, FirstPost : ...Overall, Qaidi Band has an interesting premise, soul-stirring yet forgettable music and a promising newcomer (yeap, that's Anya). But it is buoyed down by a dishonest lead actor whose voice gets distorted by the silver spoon he carries in his mouth. ... full review
So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Faisal the director deserves more credit here than Faisal the writer. As director, Faisal is able to get his young actors to deliver respectably, with Anya Singh in particular standing out. Jain, on the other hand, with his trendy hairdo and acting school cheat-sheet, is less convincing as Sanju, the middle-class boy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. ... full review
So-So, by Letty Mariam Abraham , MiD DAY : ...Characters like Ram Kapoor, who plays a top notch criminal lawyer, is wasted in the film. Till the end you are confused if the makers want to showcase Pilgaonkar as a strong or caricature jailer. Singh has all the makings of a rockstar. She impresses with her acting, emotions and dialogue delivery. Jain also makes an earnest effort. While their jodi didn't have the crackling chemistry one looks for, they try hard to hold the script together. Some clichéd lines and a predictable story line showcased rather haphazardly is the only flaw of the film. ... full review
So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...That director Habib Faisal has helmed this one is not apparent through the film. But the filmmaker tucks in quintessential emotional nuggets that remind one of the filmmaker's signature cinematic flourishes. ... full review
So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Of course it’s too good to last. Qaidi Band is ultimately a prisoner of the need for a happy ending. The convoluted fairytale climax stretches credibility and converts the band’s ill-advised attempt to escape into a thrilling adventure. ... full review
Thumbs down, Bollywood Hungama : ...Anay Goswamy’s cinematography is passable. Mukund Gupta’s production design is nice although it could have been more authentic. But the jail complex is well designed and does look real, especially in aerial shots. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Unfortunately, neither the song nor the production about the injustice of it all gets us involved in this hackneyed telling. This one’s more fantasy than reality. Everything looks put on –other than the young actors who deliver sincere and gritty performances in spite of the sketchy roles they are ladled with. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...The most disappointing thing in QAIDI BAND is the maker's refusal to try something edgy, considering its premise and the use of rock music. It's just an example of plain mediocrity and naive approach to filmmaking. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...At best, Qaidi Band brings up a new concept and offers some wonderful songs, but that’s about it. It remains an average story told in an average way. ... full review
Thumbs down, Indicine : ...The lifetime business of ‘Qaidi Band’ will be lower than the opening day collections of some of YRF’s biggest failures and that pretty much sums up the dismal box office performance of the film.... full review
Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...Of course, the band members (except the hero and heroine) are caught after they make a daring escape, they sing some more, they are tortured some more and you begin to check messages on the phone. The end is so illogical you wish you had watched their longest running movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge instead. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Aadar Jain is completely outshined by her intensity. He doesn't register beyond a harmless second fiddle. But even he deserves better than a wearisome launchpad like this. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Despite Amit Trivedi at the helm the music refuses to soar. And in the name of band rehearsals, the old habit of Yash Raj — to replay songs from its own movies — continues. A limp effort which has one remain disengaged throughout.... full review
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