Bandish Bandits:Season 1 Episode 1 recap
Welcome to a colourful world.
Panditji (Naseeruddin Shah) is the Sangeet Samrat of Jodhpur, and the first person we see on screen, between the bright and blossoming colours of Rajasthan. A melodious harmony plays because Panditji is teaching Hindustani classical music to his students.
From the very first moment, the vibrant colours of Rajasthan and the powerfully coordinated voices of all the singers had my attention. The 5 minute scene went by very quickly because the music was so wonderful.
After the practice session, Panditji is sitting with his family at the dining table where it is revealed that Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmek) is not only Panditji’s best student but also his grandson.
Radhe practices day and night so he can become the best singer in the troupe and sit for his Ganda Bandhan (tying of the sacred thread that marks the competition of a musician’s training. While he is talented, Panditji treats him like the rest of his students only and doesn’t give him any preferential treatment.
The family’s financial and social situation is also revealed during this scene. I think it set a good precedent for the season ahead by showing the viewers exactly what the characters struggle with.
Rajendra (Rajesh Tailang) is Radhemohan Rathod (Panditji’s) eldest son and a former musician. He is married to the quiet but observant Mohini (Sheeba Chadha). Panditji’s younger son is Devendra (Amit Mistry). Both his sons are former musicians who no longer practice because classical music isn’t widely popular and Panditji is against commercial arts. It is evident that Radhemohan’s relationship with his sons has gotten sour over the years because of this difference in opinion.
The acting by all the cast members is wonderful so far and they make their presence felt while establishing one key element of their personality.
Radhe wraps up his practice when his father approaches him and tells him that he needs to take up a job now that he’s graduating college. Radhe insists that he wants to be a musician but his father tells him that they have no money at all. The pension benefits and cultural grants have been stopped by the city and that the family—except for Panditji, who doesn’t know about this—is counting on Radhe to bring in some extra money.
Radhe starts wallowing in his dilemma and steps outside the haveli, where he runs into his friend Kabir (Rahul Kumar). Kabir convinces him to take up a job at the palace for the royal family, and also invites him to Tamanna’s concert later. Radhe is unsure about both these things, but reluctantly agrees.
“Who is Tamanna?” he asks, and so the viewers take a journey to the other side of town where Tamanna Sharma (Shreya Chaudhary) is complaining about the response she received on her new song’s video. She is speaking to Arghya (Kunal Roy Kapur) on the phone.
Arghya is annoyed because Tamanna didn’t show up at her contract renegotiation meeting in Mumbai. Excellent acting by Kunal Roy Kapur in this scene as he tries to convince the record label to give Tamanna an extension. It’s such a funny sight watching him make excuses on the spot.
Tamanna goes home to her father Harshwardhan (Rituraj Singh) who tells her that in order to be inspired she needs to meet new people, and that’s how the concert comes about on short notice.
Back in the Rathod gharana, Radhe decides to take up a job at the palace.
In the evening, Kabir picks up Radhe from the palace and brings him to the concert that he helped organise. Radhe watches Tamanna perform live from the front row and falls in love with how she expresses herself.
After the show, Kabir takes Radhe backstage and introduces him to Tamanna. “He is a singer but he cannot sing outside the house” Kabir says.
“Must be really bad then.” others joke.
Radhe explains that classical musicians don’t sing in public until their training is fully completed.
Tamanna and her friends start joking and making derogatory remarks about classical music as an art form and in the spur of that moment, Radhe decides to sing for them after all. The moment he starts singing, everybody shuts up and listens to him in awe.
As good as the music is, it is impossible to ignore the obvious lip syncing in this scene. Everyone at the venue, including those who are standing far away, look at Radhe in awe as Ritwik Bhowmik fails to convince the audience that it’s actually him singing.
Tamanna records his performance and Radhe leaves after putting on a show.
The next day Panditji performs at the palace for the Maharaja. He realises that his grandson is now working at the palace, and while he is disappointed to see that, he doesn’t say anything. Radhe realises that Tamanna is an attendee at the event. She approaches him and tells him she wants to work with him in the near future, but Radhe dismisses her by saying that he’s “a real musician and doesn’t care about commercial arts.”
Later we see Panditji’s family mingling with the Maharaja and they finally part ways after a day filled with music and fun.
On their way home, Panditji’s car stops working and the family decides to take a lift home from some fellow artists who attended the event. Radhe is left alone in the car and he is given the responsibility to fix whatever is wrong and bring the car home safely.
While Radhe is stranded on the road, he sees a car approaching. And the first episode comes to an end.
I think except for the god awful lip syncing, this episode was quite promising. Even the new actors Shreya, Ritwek, and Rahul are trying to find their footing. It looks like this show will only get better as the show moves forward.
This episode of Bandish Bandits deserves a rating of 3.5/5 for laying a strong establishment.
Bandish Bandits is now streaming on Prime Video.