Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai movie review: Manoj Bajpayee’s absolute brilliance in Bollywood’s best court room drama
What: Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai - Manoj Bajpayee is at the peak of his powers as an honest lawyer supported by director Apoorv Singh Karki confidently competent and compelling direction backed by a engaging and researched script by Deepak Kingrani giving us a relevant court room drama that perhaps the best seen in recent times.
Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai movie synopsis
‘Sirf Ek BandaaKaafi Hai’ reportedly based on the 2013 rape case of a minor fought by Adv. P. C. Solanki against Asaram Bapu, Manoj Bajpayee plays P.C. Solanki the true honest lawyer who single handedly fought against the country’s biggest god man and successfully ended up prosecuting him for the rape of a minor under the POCSO act. Surya Mohan Kulshrestha plays Baba. Adrija Sinha plays Nu – the victim.
There is a moment in ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ film were Manoj Bajpayee after listening to the victim Nu (Adrija Sinha) and her parents father Karamveer (Jaihind Kumar) and mother Sunita Singh (Durga Sharma) tells a road traffic violation story and concludes with this overwhelming line – sometimes it is not about who is right and who is wrong, it is about what is right and what is wrong.
Director Apoorv Singh Karki famous for these delightful TV series - The Aspirants, Aam Aadmi Family, Saas Bahu Achaar Pvt. Ltd and Flames makes his feature debut and achieves a rare feat. ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ is perhaps the best courtroom drama we have seen in recent times as far as authenticity and respect for the profession is concern.
Without taking any credit from the joyfully compelling and enlightening court room drams like Subash Kapoor’s Jolly LLB series were we enjoyed the quirky humour and sly attack on the judiciary system in India in mainstream cinema. Yes, we have that brilliance intensity and relevance of women safety, liberty and choice in Shoojit Sircar’s Pink and unique rake on terrorism in Mulk by Anubhav Sinha plus Section 375 by Ajay Bahl that dealt with the misuse of Section 375.
‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ directed by Apoorv Singh Karki and written by Deepak Kingrani is not just about the heinous crime - rape of a minor, it’s about the unforgivable sin of spoiling faith, believe and purity of a saint and committing such unpardonable heinous crime in the name of God and faith. How it affects the society.
Writer Deepak Kingrani and Apoorv Singh Karki give us a brief on those sections which for me are quite authentic and never in mainstream Indian cinema such details have been noticed.
And I have not forgotten the striking Marathi true arty feature debut of Chaitanya Tamhane in Court (2014) that went on the win the national award and other significant awards and also was send to Oscars and India’s entry in the best foreign language category but failed to make it.
‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ caters to the wider audience – the aam aadmi and has the urgency and relevance like the absolutely terrific and sensational Tom McCarthy’s 2016 Oscar winner ‘Spotlight’ in its subject matter of the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Coming back to the film, ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ is shot in the populist main stream manner and its bang on target right from the first frame, no caricature, fun of court proceedings, lawyers, and judge, plus precise in its approach.
The makers want to put their point and in an entertaining engaging and compelling manner without getting too arty and too smart in their knowledge of those sections.
The characterizations are pitch perfect, each and every character right from the protagonist – P.C. Solanki played by Manoj Bajpayee, to the victim Nu, their parents, the Baba are right from your home, neighborhood and ‘pravachans’ (spiritual/religious teachings/ gathering) which you and/or your relatives friends may have attended.
Build on the known format of the underdog against the mighty here the antagonist Baba is almost like the almighty. ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ comes with some striking observations and lessons on blind faith and fake godmanship.
P.C. Sonalki is not an atheist, he is a believer and a bhakth/devotee of Lord Shiva but he is on the right path. ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ is also about true understanding of God and self believe.
The Court room dramas are tight and engaging, like any Court room dramas. The ending conclusion is the final nail that at times overcomes the flaws that has happened in the film. Here in ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ the final conclusion, the final argument of Manoj Bajpayee elevates this already outstanding film to another level. Claps are for sure. Accolades, awards at least in the acting department seem to be coming.
Technically polish; Arjun Kukreti’s camera captures the motion/emotion inside and outside of the court in day and night nicely. Editing by Sumeet Kotian is crisp; music by Sangeet-Siddharth Roy sets the mood.
Manoj Bajpayee as Adv. P. C. Solanki is realistic film acting at its best. The actor’s nuances, mannerism, simplicity, approach, dialogue delivery is a master class. Manoj Bajpayee owns every frame over here.
Adrija Sinha as Nu is fantastic.
Surya Mohan Kulshrestha as Baba is excellent and what a casting.
Jaihind Kumar as Nu's father has his moments
Durga Sharma as Nu's mother is fine.
Vipin Kumar Sharma as the defence lawyer is outstanding.
Supporting cast chips in with solid support – Abhijit Lahri as the high profile Ram Chandani, Balaji Lakshminasimhasn as the famous legal expert, historian and politician Venkateshwar Swami, Kaustav Sinha as Guddu - Manoj Bajpayee’s assistant, Gauransh Sharma as Manoj Bajpayee’s son all make their presence felt.
Why is this movie not a theatre release? Why is P.C. Solanki a single father? Some reactions from Baba’s followers during the proceedings and what changes are observed should have added extra punch.
Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is not just a courtroom drama with such remarkable efficiency never before seen in mainstream cinema; it’s a performance of sheer class by Manoj Bajpayee and it’s a case of victory of honesty, bravery and true faith over blind faith and fakery in the name of God and Godman. Add ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ in your wish list, the movie premiers on ZEE5 exclusively from May 23, 2023.