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Critics Review
Ray review: Ali Fazal, Kay Kay Menon, Manoj Bajpayee shine in this Netflix anthology

Every person who loves and wants to appreciate art needs to watch Bahurupiya, featuring Kay Kay Menon as the lead.

3.5
Shaheen
Jun 25, 2021
 
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Stills from Ray.

What's it about:

Ray is a compilation of Satyajit Ray's stories. The anthology film has been divided into four parts - Forget Me Not, Bahurupiya, Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa and Spotlight. They feature Ali Fazal, Kay Kay Menon, Manoj Bajpayee and Harshvardhan Kapoor in the lead roles, respectively. All the stories have a twisted and dark side which is not for everyone.

What's hot:

- Forget Me Not

Ali Fazal is at his finest, except for the unwarranted cuss words. His journey from a business partner in Chrysalis to the revelation of a dark and hidden truth which changes his life, Ali, in the role of Ipsit Nair, is a shining star.

Shweta Basu Prasad is also sweet in the role of Maggie, a secretary with who the 'genius' Ipsit has a past. She plays a major role in the anthology, eventually, which gives her character more weightage.

Another aspect that works well for this short is the fact that its plot keeps you intrigued. Imagine a man who has the mind of a computer, forgets important moments of his life and gets himself in an embarrassing situation because of the same. That is exactly what Forget Me Not is about.

The story takes a wild turn as it progresses towards the end. It is not a big surprise per say but is the highest point of Forget Me Not. It is why the story stays with you even after the film is over.

- Bahurupiya

Forget Me Not simply scratched the surface in comparison to Bahurupiya.

Kay Kay Menon, in the role of Indro, is fabulous as always. His transformation in the short is the most satisfying among all the films in Ray. From a middle-class man holding onto life from a thread to losing that thread and making his life from the scratch, Indro is a winner all the way.

Although Kay Kay is untouchable as an actor, Rajesh Sharma comes as a close competition. He keeps the mystery around his character alive till the end, making him someone to watch out for.

There's a scene in Bahurupiya that deserves a special mention too. It is the part where Indro looks at the city while standing on his balcony in just his underwear. The scene is symbolic of how he is ripped off of everything in life and just needs to cover up what needs to be.

Bahurupiya is powerful in many ways and one of them is that it explores office politics and how important money is.

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- Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa

Every Hindi film industry follower would know by now that the name Manoj Bajpayee is enough to ensure that you won’t be disappointed. That is the case with Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa too. The actor shines in his role as 'Raju' Musafir Ali. The whole time he is on the screen, Manoj makes sure you are engrossed in the nitty-gritties of his character.

Gajraj Rao, best remembered for his role as the father in Badhaai Ho, is seen in a different avatar. His role also comes as a surprise and he does a fairly good job in the limited spaced allotted to him.

Hungama Kyon Hai Barpa keeps you gripped throughout. You constantly wonder what next as it unfolds into a dark and twisted story. Even with the dark concept, Abhishek Chaubey manages to keep the mood light, which makes the story a fun watch.

Kudos to him for keeping the audience gripped despite the same setup too. The film is mostly shot in a train, in the same compartment. However, Abhishek manages to bring something new and fresh with every scene, till the last time Manoj and Gajraj are in the compartment together.

- Spotlight

Spotlight is placed as your usual commercial entertainer (even though it does not entertain as much). Although the story revolves around Harshvarrdhan Kapoor, it is Chandan Roy Sanyal, who isn't new to the web series scenario (he played the second lead in Bobby Deol's Aashram too), steals the spotlight from the actor.

The best part about the film is that it shows how inconvenienced others could be because of one powerful and influential personality. In this case, like in most cases, it is a Godwoman. People worship her and thus, gather a crowd around her, ignoring everything and everybody else around them. Through Spotlight, Vasan Bala has conveyed the message of how the supporting actors feel in front of the lead, especially where there is an audience.

Spotlight, like mentioned previously, also conveys the message of just how deep-rooted religion is in India and how everybody else becomes a slave to it, willingly or unwillingly. Although the concept is not explained very clearly, it exists.

What's not:

- Forget Me Not

Srijit Mukherjee has managed to build the story well but could have made it more exciting by bringing in a surprise factor. In today's day and age when people already know that no person is 100% white or black, especially in a corporate setup, they easily anticipate what is to come next. A surprise factor would have worked better for the film, especially since it had the opportunity to blow people's minds.

There is no complete explanation for the final scene. How the setup change from a fully functional office to a garage is a question that remains unanswered.

- Bahurupiya

Bahurupiya is a heart-wrenching tale and Kay Kay Menon definitely did a fabulous job with it but it went too far at times. Bahurupiya is gruesome and not for the faint-hearted. It is most definitely not something you would want to sit and watch in front of children.

Bahurupiya is more about the art and the artist. Hence, I cannot complain too much when it comes to both of them. However, it is not a family-friendly film, but then again, that was what the script demanded.

- Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa

Everything about Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa is also fab but it faces the same problem as Bahurupiya. It is not made for every viewer. If in case you are not a fan of shayari or dark tales, then this one is not for you.

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- Spotlight

Harshvarrdhan Kapoor fails to leave a mark from his very first scene. He has little to offer with his expressions, despite 'the look' that is constantly spoken about in Spotlight.

Kapoor’s character too is a major letdown. Vik tries to look down on girls. Being someone who is big on ego, he insists on not the size of the room but the one where 'Madonna' stayed, just to get a feel of her. He keeps on screaming her name again and again, to the point where he sounds like a sleazeball.

Akanksha Ranjan Kapoor goes overboard at times but fortunately, since she does not have as many scenes as Harshvardhan, the focus is not on her character.

Another aspect of Spotlight that doesn’t resonate, is that it was made as a commercial entertainer which doesn’t make much sense. Throughout, various songs pop up out of the blue. The worst part about the songs is that they aren't even catchy and disturb the storyline to a great extent.

Not just that, Spotlight suddenly turns fictional (Harshvardhan can kill without even touching people, without any explanation).

Vasan Bala's direction left me disappointed. Like Vik would say, it is a 'Kafkaesque nightmare' to watch Spotlight.

Verdict:

Watch Forget Me Not and Hungama Kyon Hai Barpa with your family, without any second thoughts. Every person who loves and wants to appreciate art needs to watch Bahurupiya too. However, it is not recommended to watch it with kids around. Once you enjoy the three films, please end Ray then and there.

In case you are really interested in Ray’s works, we suggest you revisit them and then watch the first three films.

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