Within the first few minutes of the first episode of “Jubilee,” we realize that Binod Das wants to be an actor. He is not just reciting the dialogues of the scene because he has seen it umpteen times. He is playing out a fantasy where he is the one on screen, reciting the lines that have people clapping for him. Binod Das is good at his job, so much so that he is the only one among the 150 employees who are invited to the parties. But Binod’s loyalty towards Srikant Roy goes far beyond his being an employee of Roy Talkies. Binod’s desire to be an actor cannot be questioned, and working at Roy Talkies allows him proximity to cinema that no actor could refuse.
When Binod sees Srikant in “Jubilee” for the first time, it is not the look of an employee spotting his boss but that of a man finding his idol, the object of his admiration. It is never explicitly stated, but we suspect that Binod Das has a past that involves Srikant Roy, and the former’s current ambitions have something to do with that. Binod Das’ manner is always subservient, but the turmoil behind his eyes is rather apparent. Hats off to Aparshakti Khurana for portraying that so masterfully. But coming back to his character, Binod has a stronger attachment to Roy Talkies than he does to Srikant Roy. When he fails to bring Jamshed Khan back from Lucknow, one of the things he tells Srikant is that Sumitra’s leaving would have adversely affected the studio.
While we might still consider this his initial attempt to cover up his crime, it is later, when he hides the fact of her tampering with the truth, that makes us suspicious. Sumitra had roughed up the reel to sabotage Binod’s chances to act in the film. It is clear that she did not care about the repercussions of her deed coming to light. Binod is initially furious when he learns about it, but when he realizes that if Srikant Roy learns the truth, the ensuing marital discord in his life could adversely affect the studio itself, he comes up with a different solution. Again, the messaging is very subtle here, but why did Binod not say anything to Srikant, even after the problem had been solved? That is because it did not change the fact that Sumitra still owned 50% of the studio, and any confrontation between her and her husband could disrupt the delicate professional balance they had established and ruin everything. Sumitra might not care, but Binod did. There are quite a few such subtleties sprinkled across Binod’s character arc that make us think that he has a past and is not as loyal to Srikant as he has come across so far.
Coming to Jamshed, Binod was one of the first people to bet on him, literally, that he would make the cut to be Madan Kumar. Yet, when Jamshed was selected for the role, we never saw happiness on Binod’s face. There was envy combined with the pressure of doing his duty. It can be asked why Binod never took a chance and just auditioned for Srikant Roy once. Maybe he shared the insecurities about his flaws that Walia had so loudly vocalized. An actor always carries a certain charisma with him, and before his audition in the furnace, nobody ever thought that Binod had it in him, not even Binod himself. But ambition and capability don’t always go hand in hand, and neither does the unfulfilled resentment of feelings see things in a logical and concise way.
When Binod met Jamshed in Lucknow, he introduced himself as Sunder. According to Binod, this was his way of keeping his identity secret to get things done for Srikant Roy. However, this was not really required this time. Maybe there was some sensitivity to consider since Sumitra was having an affair with Jamshed, and she might have warned him about Binod, which would have made their interactions difficult. But more than that, we believe that by pretending to be a different person, Binod was living out a tiny part of his acting dream. Playing Sunder had nothing to do with the dark side of Binod, but we think that when he met Jamshed, some of Binod’s hurt came to the surface. Here was a man who had all the gifts that Binod had always desired in himself so that he could be the actor he wanted to be.
Maybe Binod wanted Jamshed never to go to Mumbai, just so he could stop his envy from reaching the unimaginable heights he knew it was capable of. But Binod still had a job to do. He did not particularly enjoy it at the moment, but Binod was nothing if not professional. Yet, that did not stop the surge of anger from Jamshed wanting to go to Karachi by leaving behind everything Binod so desperately wanted. Additionally, it meant that Sumitra would be leaving with him, which could signify the ruin of Roy Talkies, the studio that Binod loved so much. When Jamshed got into Binod’s car that day, we don’t think that the former intended to harm him. When things got a little violent, Binod did not hit Jamshed to kill him. It was the pent-up anger that led him to land the blows on Jamshed.
We believe that Binod might have tried to rescue Jamshed if the mob hadn’t come storming into the scene. Binod had no time to try and rescue Jamshed because doing so would mean putting his own neck on the line. Therefore, Binod ran, and the crowd took care of Jamshed. But Binod always blamed himself for his death because, either directly or indirectly, he had facilitated it. Not just that, but Binod was living the life that should have been Jamshed’s. All these factors added to Binod’s mind. Look at the times he sees the vision of Jamshed. The first is when he is acting out the scene, which is his first test as an actor. At every failed take, he sees Jamshed laughing as if telling him that he couldn’t be good enough. The next time he sees Jamshed is when he is buying a car, which is a mark of success in society—the success that should have been Jamshed’s. Binod probably feels that he has stolen Jamshed’s life—the one he had and the one he could have had—and he carries the weight of that throughout by seeing Jamshed wherever he goes.