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Film Review: Yeti Obhijaan by Srijit Mukherjee

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

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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Movie Review: Dhananjoy by Arindam Sil

15 August, 2004 brought the curtains down on the life Dhananjoy Chatterjee after 14 years of trials and tribulations. The central character to a heinous crime that shook the ‘Bhadralok’ city of Kolkata, Dhananjoy’s name evokes emotionally-charged responses from people even to this day. Accused of raping and murdering an 18-year old Hetal Parekh, Dhananjoy (who served as the security guard of the building where Hetal lived) claimed innocence till the day of his hanging.

 

dhananjoy movie reviewA still from the movie

 

The trial of Dhananjoy Chatterjee left many questions unanswered (he was unprecedentedly awarded death sentence solely based on circumstantial evidence when many key witnesses had made contrary statements in the court). There was a groundswell of clamour for his hanging at the time in Kolkata, led by none-other-than the wife of the then Chief Minister of the State, political pressure from the Gujarati vote-bank and a huge media pressure which led to the final culmination of Dhananjoy’s fate. Was he guilty? Or was he just another scapegoat sacrificed at the altar of our inept judicial system? Arindam Sil’s film explores the unsolved pieces of the puzzle.

The film is a gripping courtroom drama that compels you to challenge the notions you have lived with till now. It makes you question the system and assume a ringside view of life as it unfolds. The film can be separated into two parts: the first half explores the Dhananjoy trials as it happened in a flashback while the second half is a work of fiction where the case is reopened and available evidences re-examined and questioned in a trial. Although the film is judgmental, the director lets you be the judge of what could have transpired on 5 March, 1990.

The first half of ‘Dhananjoy’ has shades of inspiration from ‘Talvar’. It also has a ‘Roshomon’ style narration of the fateful incident. However, Arindam Sil shines in his story-telling with the daft writing and striking background score. Although the film indulges in melodrama at times, it is balanced by performances that will keep you to the edge of your seats.

A courtroom drama is expected to be dialogue-heavy, which can often get tedious for the audience to digest. In ‘Dhananjoy’ the scenes are interspersed with witty one-liners that keep the film from slipping into monotony. Kanchan Mullick and Mir (Kaushik Sen and Deepanjan Ghosh post intermission) play their parts well as the lawyers in the case. In fact, the legalities in this film were more believable and ‘real’ than most films are. Kabya Sinha, played by Mimi, is emotional yet focused. Mimi does full justice to her part.

Anirban Bhattacharya and Sudipta Chakraborty steal the show with their nuanced yet emotive performances. The stoic villainy portrayed by Sudipta is enough to send a shiver down your spine. Anirban Bhattacharya’s eyes do the talking for him. His slow walk to the gallows with Manna Dey’s ‘Mahasindhur Opar Hote’ will haunt your memories for days to come. These are performances that will define the year 2017 for Bengali cinema.

However, Kabya’s motivation to work in this case, that too four years after a man has been hanged, is a bit too much to handle. A more convincing back story could have added to the film. Why require a full-fledged trial to re-examine the evidence? With the research she had, she could have written a book instead. Also, was the public prosecutor in the second half only there for providing comic relief through objections? He hardly made a case. Moreover, the opening disclaimer says the film is purely a work of fiction, while the name as well as the promos belie the claim.

All controversies aside, there is an inherent honesty in the making of the film which sets ‘Dhananjoy’ apart. One must watch it with an open mind and separate the facts from the fiction while walking out of the theatres.

My rating: 3/5 stars

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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