Shwetambari (Urmilla Matondkar), the bright young daughter of rich Brahmin parents (Dimple Kapadia and Raj Babbar) studies science at the local university in Banaras. Soham (Ashmit Patel) a low caste mystic and a prot?g? of Babaji (Naseeruddin Shah), teaches music at the University. When the two fall in love, hell breaks loose in Banaras.
The review would be incomplete without acknowledging cinematographer Nirav Shah's contribution. Not only are the stunning locales of Banaras beautifully captured on celluloid, even the texture of the film is of international quality. Himesh Reshammiya's music is okay, although the background score [Surender Sodhi] is far more effective. Dialogues [Javed Siddiqui] are natural and seem straight out of life.
Urmila has already evolved into a fine actor and BANARAS - A MYSTIC LOVE STORY only cements her status further. Watch her in sequences when she gets to know that Ashmit has been murdered or towards the finale, when she returns to her dying father, and you'd agree that only an accomplished actor could've portrayed the part so proficiently.
Ashmit Patel is a revelation. The youngster, who didn't make much headway as an actor in his earlier films, gets to prove his mettle in this film and he impresses tremendously. Raj Babbar and Dimple Kapadia excel yet again. Babbar is competent all through, while Kapadia is outstanding in the climax when she reveals the truth. Naseeruddin Shah is first-rate. Akash Khurana is highly competent. Arif Zakaria [cop], Rajiv Mishra [Maha Maya], Javed Khan, Om Katare and Perveez leave an impression as well.
The first half of Banaras is really predictable, with every couple of scenes punctuated by a forgettable Himesh Reshammiya track. The second half admittedly sets us up for a surprise or two, but things get increasingly preposterous. Urmila goes insane, the parents worry, a doctor with a face mask is brought in to help things along.
On the whole, Banaras is truly a very pretty film.