Durga Pujo brings with it several cultural and social appendages that make this autumnal festival so glorious and enthusing. Among the myriad cultural innuendos associated with Pujo, ‘Pujor Release’ tops the list for Bengalis, for sure. And when it comes to Pujo releases, Srijit Mukherjee is a name to reckon with. From Autograph (2010) to Zulfiqar (2016), his films have always added to the splendour and merriment during the festivities.
Pujobarshiki (or special Durga Pujo editions of popular magazines) is also ingrained in our festive culture, just like films. And Pujobarshiki Anandamela always meant embarking on a new adventure trail with Kakababu. When the trailer of ‘Yeti Obhijaan‘ released, it brought a wave of nostalgia with it. The trailer was visually stunning, the story was intriguing and the feel of the trailer was sensational. And the film lives up to the interest the trailer peeked in viewers.
The scale of this film is as grand as the Himalayas. Soumik Halder deserves the biggest credit for capturing the essence of this larger-than-life canvas in the most serene style. He almost humanises the Hills, which is endearing to say the least.The exceptional use of aerial shots, coupled with the vibrant texture of the varied hues of snow lets your imagination run wild. There is a scene where an injured Sherpa makes his way to the camp, sliding on the snow. The gleaming red colour of his blood, juxtaposed against the dry and sombre snow, was a spectacle to behold. The film also stands out for the breathtakingly beautiful use of lights in the underground caves, where the climax of the film unfolds.
One of the reasons why I had not liked Mishawr Rohosyo was the length of the film and unnecessary sub-plots. Yeti Obhijaan steers clear of these shortcomings and in a signature-Srijit style presents an exhilarating thriller that would be palatable for anyone from 8 to 80. The dialogues are witty and sharp. And the riveting background score is sure to give you goosebumps all along.
Prosenjit Chatterjee gets in to the skin of the character and makes it his own. His silent stares, signature limp, and quintessential Bangaliana will keep you on the edge of your seats. As Shantu, Aryan Bhowmick has come a long way from Mishawr Rohosyo. Even the character of Shantu has evolved and matured. In his small role, Jishu Sengupta again gives us a taste of his mettle.
Few years back, when Chander Pahar was adapted for the silver screen, the makers faced a flurry of angry reactions over the depiction of Bunyip. These are characters we have grown up with; we have visualised them in certain fashion in our own imaginations. Any conflict is bound to create a negative impact. In fact, after seeing the posters of Yeti Obhijaan, one question kept lingering in my mind. Will the Yeti go the Bunyip way? Srijit Mukherjee surely deserves a word of praise for his intelligent handling of the ‘myth’.
Overall, Srijit Mukherjee deserves a huge pat on the back, and a packet full of sweets from Balaram Mullick (wink) for setting the bar high yet again. Bengali cinema has never seen an adventure film of this magnitude, and finesse, before. This Durga Pujo, every Bengali must take a ride of nostalgia to the Alps with Yeti Obhijaan.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
P.S. I am taking My Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa with BlogChatter. This is Post #3
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“What is a film all about? It is all about capturing fleeting moments” – Rituparno Ghosh had famously told us through one of his characters. Watching Chander Pahar on the silver screen, mind bleeding to death, i was thanking God that Ritu Da is dead. Passionate about films and Bengali literature that he is, i doubt if he could digest the inhuman savagery of a novel that any Bengali kid (well, once upon a time when smartphones were not the order of the day) would grow up with. Book and film are two different media to communicate ideas. But a common thread of creativity and imagination runs through both of them. If a product lacks the soul the original creator had infused into it, it is bound to fail.
I didn’t quite like Urochithi (the director’s first film). Kamaleshwar seemed promising. He took the art of film-making to a whole new level with Meghe Dhaka Tara. And suddenly, Chander Pahar makes me hate him. No, his direction is brilliant. He takes Bengali cinema to a new height with breathtaking depiction of Africa. Soumik Haldar’r cinematography is flawless. But was this film supposed to be a documentary on Africa, with a clown in the lead? The answer is a resounding NO.
I have nothing against Dev. It is not his fault that he has good looks, a body to flaunt. It is not his fault that directors use his charm to sell unsaleable, meaningless films. He should never have been in the film business. Sadly, he is. And even sadder, the director of the film thought him competent enough to play Shankar. Every Bengali has a Shankar in them, but definitely not Dev. Even the lion gave better expressions than him.
An actor should prepare himself for a role he is supposed to play. Specially when it is a magnum opus like Chander Pahar. Dev’s Bangla accent is more 2013 North Kolkata rock-style than 1909 mufassil. He speaks English the American way, although it baffles me how a small town boy from a British colony could master that. The very first scene, where he makes a “grand” entry on the screen, looks like he is not running away from an elephant, but running after Koel Mullick in Paglu!
Chander Pahar may be the grandest film ever made in Bengali film industry, but it lacked the simplicity, soulfulness and the imagination that a novel written decades ago by Bibhutibhushan had. Bibhutibhushan’s Africa is more beautiful than Kamaleshwar’s Africa.
One can only pray to prospective film-makers not to even think of making a movie on Aranyak. Some works cannot be translated from one medium to another. A docu-drama on Africa can never be passed off as Chander Pahar, no matter how professional or technically brilliant the film is.
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