While it’s an interesting idea for a story, the leading character is seriously flawed and difficult to believe.

by Martin Hafer

Buno Haansh (Free Fall) is an Indian film that has many ingredients you would want in a suspense film but it also has a serious problem which cripples the plot. It’s worth seeing, perhaps, but is far from the best sort of film coming from this wonderful filmmaking country.
The story comes from a novel by Samaresh Majumdar and the film stars Dev. Dev plays Amal, a poor but apparently decent Bangladeshi immigrant living in Kolkata (Calcutta). But, like so many people, he’s struggling–struggling to help take care of his family, struggling with illnesses and struggling to make a life for himself.

Buno Haansh
Directed by
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Dev, Srabanti Chatterjee Biswas, Tanushree Chakraborty
Release Date
November 2014
Martin’s Grade: B-

While he does have a job, he realizes it will never allow him to get ahead of all his debts and obligations. One day, he sees an old friend and the friend offers him a job. This job sounds perfect–he gets to travel the world and make lots of money. All he has to do in return is bring home a package each trip. Because he’s an honest looking sort, he shouldn’t have any problems with the customs people…especially since he’s been told that some of these agents are also in on it. But what is ‘it’? What is he smuggling into the country? And for whom? Amal doesn’t ask such questions–he just does his job and is quite good at it.

At this point I assumed that what would follow would be a rags to riches crime story where Amal worked his way up through organized crime to become a big man. This is a very typical sort of Indian film theme. However, the story surprised me–and I appreciate that. During one of his trips abroad, Amal meets a pretty Indian lady who is herself on the run from the mob. He fatefully decides to help her. Instead of minding his own business and returning home with the package as usual, he makes a few decisions–decisions which could easily get him killed. What’s next for this ambitious young man? Well, I don’t want to spoil it…suffice to day that his life gets a lot more interesting!

Unlike many Indian films, this one lacks the usual musical interludes, romance and clich├ęs you might expect–and I appreciate that. It isn’t that I don’t like a more typical Bollywood film, but I also like variety–and Buno Haansh offers something different in style and content. But, there is a serious problem. Dev plays one of the most incredibly passive guys you could ever see–too passive. His friend convinces him to go into the smuggling business and the pretty lady on the run convinces Amal to do something even crazier. In both cases, the character says very little and soon finds himself pulled along by others. This makes for a strange sort of film–a film where there really is no hero nor any sense of direction. You find that there really is no one to root for and, at times, Amal is exasperating because he just seems awfully naive and stupid. Because of this, it’s really hard to take the film very seriously or care about the guy and therefore it limits the impact of the story. An interesting near miss that is worth seeing but there are certainly better Indian films you could see instead.