Bob Biswas as the character in the movie Kahaani was shown as a very subdued personality and an extremely unassuming character. The way Saswata Chatterjee played him, he seemed like the kind of person who would go unnoticed in a marketplace, and no one would bother to even give a second look; I’m not sure how his family would react to his being present or absent at the dinner table.
Bob is an enigmatic character with average Indian height a less than average looks, and the way he carries a messenger bag around, seems to be the man next door going on a regular job. You would not get a whiff of a doubt that under the garb of a LIC agent, is a cold blooded murderer lurking somewhere inside. That’s an interesting character sketch.
Abhishek Bachchan has taken over this character of Bob, or maybe it was just landed on his lap by stroke of luck, but he totally gives it a different dimension. Abhishek is a tall person at 6’ 2” and conspicuous by his presence. We cannot just ignore a six footer walking around you with that kind of hairdo. It’s going to be very difficult for Abhishek to convince the audience that he is Bob. Secondly, it’s not just the height, but also the presence that he has or the weight that he carries around, I am sure a few eyes would definitely turn towards him. And that tall person would not be unassuming character that he was supposed to be. And he would not be able to carry out the same kind of assignment of handing death penalties to the marked persons, as Bob managed to do in the movie Kahaani.
Mainstream cinema of Hindi movies, is attempting this spin-off character cherry picked from the many characters that were present in Kahaani. Let’s see how this character turns out to be in the new movie Bob Biswas which is totally extrapolated. The sub-plot of memory loss will help Abhishek, as he can give shape to the character in his own way. But through the trailers, it does not look very natural, the way he has adopted the role. Of course this is just the trailer.
Some how I feel that the back story may not be as fulfilling because Sujoy Ghosh was not involved in the writing. After all, he created Bob Biswas with all his imagination but now that is handed over the pen to somebody else for them to create a good background story. He may have given them some backdrop of the character and few lines of generic description, from where Bob arrived, what they were earlier and what they are now etc. I hope he has at least gone through the script, and given his creative advice.
Somewhere there is an inkling of doubt that, had such that Saswata Chatterjee played the full fledged character, would he have done a better job than Abhishek. I think he would but considering that this is a Hindi movie, there was need for Pan India audience. What may have worked as a 2 minute character in Kahaani, may not work with a complete movie dedicated to furthering that character. The audience of the northern belt would not be willing to watch a movie or go to theatre to watch a Hindi movie and find Saswata hogging the screen for 120+ minutes. Based on the trailer, it looks very interesting. But the only issue I see is that, despite the transformation into Bob Biswas, there is still an Abhishek Bachchan in there.