Exactly to the date a year ago, director Apoorv Singh Karki and actor Manoj Bajpayee came together in a film called Sirf Ke Bandaa Kaafi Hai. That was Bajpayee playing a lawyer helping a victim of self-styled godman’s Asaram Bapu’s sex assault. This time, Karki and Bajpayee have gone literal – there is sirf ek bandaa in Bhaiyya Ji, and kaafi or not, that is all there is.

In a rare marvel of filmmaking, Karki, director and co-writer, has made a film that you can drop into at any time – and not bother whether it is the start, middle or end. For, after a reasonably nice beginning when Bhaiyya Ji (Manoj Bajpayee), in the midst of his wedding festivities somewhere in Bihar, is worrying winsomely over younger brother Vedant (Makhija) who is coming over by train from Delhi, and then growing increasingly frantic as Vedant goes missing, the film’s record is stuck.

Revenge has to be had, particularly when the killer of Vedant is the no-good and blood-thirsty son, Abhimanyu (Goswami), of a remarkably sense-free ganglord, Chandrabhan Singh (played by Suvinder Vicky, who impressed so in Kohrra).

But how to wreak that revenge, and how many times? And we are not even sure whether Bhaiyya Ji, who apparently gave up violence for some wedded bliss with Mithali (Hussain) or for some other reason in the past, that is mumbled through by way of an explanation at super-double speed, has actually gone down a pacifist path, which he will now abandon.

But thanks to some very crude and cruel prodding by Vedant’s mother, and his stepmother (Kadam), Bhaiyya Ji is left with little choice but to proceed to Chandrabhan’s palatial mansion somewhere in Delhi and demand “justice”. Before that happens, a medallion encasing a lion’s face amidst sun’s rays is brought out of a box with much fanfare, and makes its way around Bihar, causing people to literally piss in their pants. Such is the lore of this ganglord who wreaks justice with a shovel, with much allegorical dust flying about – all the better to establish Bhaiyya Ji’s subaltern origins, maybe, compared to Chandrabhan’s palace and his velvet waistcoats?

Festive offer

Supporters down their shutters and join Bhaiyya Ji’s fight at the sight of the medallion, held aloft as a signal, and Bhaiyyaji lands in Delhi with at least his entire village in tow. There is a glimmer of hope that Karki is suggesting a Bihari sub-network that runs through cities such as Delhi that people like us see and not see – and that this could be Bhaiyya Ji’s biggest strength.

We have clashes, more clashes, yet more clashes, and then some more. There is a Lord Shiva procession as a backdrop for one of them, for no reason at all, and unending chatter about “bhatakti aatma” of Vedant because the ritualistic crow hasn’t eaten the offering after his death.

One can’t of course leave a “bhatakti aatma” wandering around, no matter how many times Bhaiyya Ji himself rises from the dead. Then Mithali, a nicely well-rounded Hussain – giving us another hope that Karki is embracing a body type more natural to an older woman – drops in to lend a hand and her sniper-shooter skills.