The unfortunate title of the latest Zee5 original film hints at an incendiary romance of the kind rarely seen in cinema. Bamfaad (meaning explosion) suggests that the love between Nasir and Neelam is sairat (wild) in its scope, but also that qayamat (apocalypse) is just around the corner. Ranjan Chandel’s ove story set in Allahabad is never as combustible as it needs to be, but it sputters along on a bunch of committed performances and the comfort of the familiar.

We have been down these streets before in other films, and have met these characters and endured their coarse patter. Nasir (Aditya Rawal) is a hothead who swaggers through Allahabad with the confidence born out of entitlement. His father is an influential politician, a useful detail that protects him later when things stop going his way.

A chance encounter with a woman trapped in a gilded cage unleashes Nasir’s romantic side. Neelam (Shalini Pandey) is the mistress of local heavy Jigar (Vijay Varma), but she feels neglected by him. When Nasir flashes eyes at Neelam and follows her around, she returns his affections.

The predictable events that follow the revelation of the inter-faith romance might have been more credible if Chandel, who has written the film along with Hanzalah Shahid, had invested more time in developing his characters. Neelam, who is supposed to be one half of the love story, gets short shrift. Similarly, Jigar, her controller with whom she shares a supposedly complicated relationship, has little to do. Jigar is portrayed as a fearsome local thug, so his inability to cotton on to the Nasir-Neelam affair is inexplicable, especially since they hold hands and exchange loaded glances in full public glare.

Nasir turns out to be the most-fleshed out player in this saga of beating hearts and loaded guns, and he is portrayed convincingly by first-time actor Aditya Rawal. There is a pleasing steadiness too to the rest of the performances too, especially by Shalini Pandey (the heroine of the Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy), Vijay Varma and Jatin Sarna as Nasir’s treacherous friend. Their commitment helps Bamfaad along even after it runs out of spark as inevitably as the bombs that go off when Nasir and Neelam are discovered.

Bamfaad (2020).