Review Marathi

Bonus review: This tale of two contrasting worlds brings a smile to your face

Release Date: 28 Feb 2020 / Rated: U / 02hr 01min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

Bonus, starring Gashmeer Mahajani and Pooja Sawant, gives an important message that breaks boundaries between the rich and the not-so.

Bong Joon-Ho’s multiple Oscar-winning film Parasite has been winning hearts the world over. The film explored two separate worlds, one the world of the ultra wealthy and the other meant for those from the lower strata of society, within the same country.

The reason for the film gaining wide appreciation globally is that such contrasting worlds, unfortunately, exist in most countries. India is no exception. Screenwriter-turned-director Saurabh Bhave explores a similar theme, although in a completely different story, setting and genre.

While in Parasite members of a poor family enter the world of the wealthy, Bonus sees super-rich Aditya (Gashmeer Mahajani) of Nashik, who has all the luxuries in the world, going to live in a fisherman’s colony in Mumbai. But he doesn’t go there of his own will.

Aditya is the director of a prestigious firm founded by his grandfather (Mohan Agashe). The management is grappling with the dilemma of whether to declare a bonus for the company's employees (hence, the title). The snobbish and self-centred Aditya strongly objects as he does not consider the workers worthy of this 'freebie'.

That is when his grandfather challenges him to live the life of an ordinary worker at least for a day. The haughty Aditya retorts that he can live like that for a month and takes up the challenge of living the life of a working-class person for 30 days with just Rs5,000 for expenses.

Aditya soon discovers that his mission is far more difficult than he had imagined, not least because of the culture shock he gets. Moreover, he is a vegan. He comes across people he finds strange initially, including the bubbly Minal (Pooja Sawant) and a gang of youngsters.

But Aditya isn’t one to give up easily. His honour is at stake and he is eager to complete the dare and prove a point to his grandfather. He tries to adjust to his new lifestyle with able support from Minal. But will he be able to sustain the effort for a month?

The situation Aditya lands in has a lot of scope for humour, but there is also the danger of the narrative overusing it. Nothing of that sort happens here as the film does not pretend to be anything but a slice-of-life saga. Although some creative liberties are taken with respect to Aditya getting comfortable in his new and temporary house, the film remains largely believable.

The setting in the fishermen's colony and a number of diverse characters appear to be straight out of reality. It may seem clichéd, but the film shows that the people living cheek-by-jowl in these crowded localities might not have big homes but they certainly have large hearts.

Bonus has a romantic track but even here the writing and direction has been subtle. It is refreshing to see a strong female character in a film that revolves around the male protagonist. And the two characters fall in love in a gradual and natural manner.

The casting of Gashmeer Mahajani and Pooja Sawant plays a major role here. Mahajani does not overact and remains in synch with what was required of his character. Sawant slips easily into a happy-go-lucky character but also succeeds in switching to a more serious self at times.

Bonus has commendable supporting acts by the veteran Agashe, Jaywant Wadkar and a number of people playing residents in the fishermen’s colony.

Having said this, the film does show the initial signs of the second-half syndrome when, at one point after the interval, it appears as if the writer-director did not quite know what to do after establishing the story and the conflict.

Thankfully, Bonus survives with well-crafted pre-climax and climax portions. The final parts do appear simplistic, but the finale is a moving one and also brings a smile to your face while giving the all-important message that we all belong to the same world irrespective of social status.



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