'Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai' Movie Review: A Film ‘Inspired by’ the High-Profile Conviction of Asaram Bapu?

Rahul Desai

‘Inspired by’ the Story of Asaram Bapu?

An intense tussle between two opposing forces defines Apoorv Singh Karki’s courtroom drama, Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai. The film is ‘inspired by’ the high-profile conviction of Asaram Bapu, the self-styled godman who was charged and ultimately imprisoned for raping a minor at his ashram in 2013

Manoj Bajpayee Elevates This Sloppy Legal Drama

Bajpayee’s emphatic performance seems to be in a perpetual battle with the mediocrity of filmmaking. Make no mistake, the great actor is the underdog here – up against the famously flimsy tropes of commercial courtroom storytelling.

A Head-on Contest

It’s not an unfamiliar war; artists like Bajpayee are so compelling that they are often required to punch down and compete with such stories rather than elevate them. The result is a head-on contest: He is all fact and fury, while the manipulative treatment of the film tries its best to defeat him.

The Simplistic Soap-opera Aesthetic

I reached a point where the mere prospect of any physical or visual drama outside the courtroom started to make me nervous. The heritage-home-styled backdrop of Mehrangarh Fort on Solanki’s humble Jodhpur terrace – a space where he ponders in private – is another example of lazy staging.

A Fitting Title

Eventually, I’d say he defeats the film, subduing its shallow arguments and transcending its noise. He becomes the difference between a sinking ship and a shipwreck enclosure in a history museum. The former is a tragedy; the latter is a watchable story. The title is fitting after all: Sometimes, one man is really all it takes.