Calcutta, Nov 5, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) These are good times for the Bengali film industry. Money is being splashed around by film-makers in an honest effort to raise the production values of their movies, and it sure shows on-screen. The interest of viewers to watch Bengali movies in theaters is back too, thanks to the marketing blitz that precedes every big-budget film release. As yours truly stood in the ticket queue for ‘Romeo’, the latest offering from Shree Venkatesh Films, it was indeed heartening to see the demand for tickets for the movie to be almost at par with the one-week old Bolly biggie, ‘Ra.One’. So, does the film live up to the enormous hype it had created prior to release? It does, but only in parts.
‘Romeo’ does not offer much novelty in its plot. Dev plays a young Casanova, a diligent MBA student, who, apparently, has enough time to shake a leg with PYTs (Pretty Young Things, silly!) and woo his lady love. The latter is played by Subhashree, making a comeback to the big screen after a hiatus of four years. The twists and turns in the story are rather predictable too, proving the fact that N. K. Salil, while a master at rolling out clap-inducing dialogues, still has a long way to go as far as story-writing is concerned.
What makes ‘Romeo’ tick, however, are its stars. The head of a leading chain of theaters recently referred to Dev as ‘the SRK of Bengal’ and the ‘Khokababu’ shows his mettle as a superstar. There is nothing in the movie that Dev has not done before on-screen, but his boyish charm and sheer screen presence add a new dimension to his performances. And yes, going by the reactions of the group of young ladies in the front row, the man can indeed be called a ‘teen heartthrob’.
Subhashree is back with a bang, and that too, in an all-new, ‘size-zero’ avatar. Oozing glamor in every frame that she appears in, the leading lady of ‘Romeo’ pitches in with a strong performance, showing how much she has improved since her ‘Challenge’ and ‘Poran Jaay Jolia Re’ days. The close friendship of the leading couple shows up in the movie too, where they share a sparkling chemistry. The others are well-casted and are adequate in their roles.
Probably the biggest highlight of ‘Romeo’ is its cinematography. In Kumud Verma, Tollywood finally has a person who knows how to wield a camera, with the best possible results. The entire movie looks easy on the eye, so much so that, when the audience is asked to take rather outlandish leaps of faith (I won’t be providing any spoilers here!), they are only too happy to do so.
The hit-machine called Jeet Ganguly scores yet again with ‘Romeo’. While ‘Ami holam Romeo’ and ‘Mala Re’ have already become chart-busters, ‘Ei Mon Toke Dilam’ also stays with you, with its touching lyrics and lilting melody. The film captures the breathtaking locales of South Africa and Namibia quite beautifully. ‘Romeo’ is director Sujit Mondol’s third film with Dev, and the comfort level that the two share, helps the cause of the movie too.
Video: Watch the Full ROMEO Bengali Movie Music Release Online
The title-track of the movie, shot at Mumbai’s Esel Studio, is worth a special mention. The track features the usage of Motion Control Camera, or MILO cam, for the first time in the Bengali film industry. For those wondering what on earth is this all about, throw your mind back to the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ a few years back. MILO cam was used to show the hero change shirts during the title track in that movie and is used here to show multiple Dev-s on screen. Yes, Tollywood is indeed fast catching up with its big brother in Mumbai.
Finally, ‘Romeo’ is Dev’s film all the way. He carries the movie on his young shoulders with elan, and boy, the guy sure knows how to move it. The title track brings out the best of Dev’s dancing prowess, with Baba Yadav, the choreographer, proving as efficient as over. The film showcases a leaner Dev, who looks totally credible as a young MBA. However, he still needs to work on his emoting skills.
The production values of ‘Romeo’ are excellent, and every penny of the Rs. 50 crore budget of the movie has been utilized to enhance the look and feel of the movie in the best manner possible. With the entire cast putting in sincere performances, what the movie could have done with was a stronger storyline. While Dev’s fans won’t mind this shortcoming, we can only sigh. If only...