Sanjay Banerjee's "Gundaraj" (2013): WBRi Bangla Movie Review

By Priyanka Dutta

Actress Megha
Actress Megha

Kolkata, Jan 5, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio) In spite of the rise of many innovative and ‘off the beaten track’ plots which emerging these days in Tollywood Kolkata Bangla movie industry, "formula films" are still very much being made. ‘Gundaraj’ is the new film by director Sanjay Banerjee of that genre.

Shakti Kapoor
Shakti Kapoor

A mean-minded villain, a cute bubbly heroine, a no-nonsense hero, an item number, and a few ambitious songs are the elements of Gundaraj. The role of a corrupt politician Rajat Ghosh is played by eminent Bollywood actor Shakti Kapoor. This politician is very influential and thus is able get away with almost everything.

The director next introduces the hero of the film, Pralay played by Raja Goswami, who has all the good qualities a man can have. And thus the battle between good versus evil resumes on the Indian Bangla movie screen.

Pralay is a popular figure among fellow students. This fact catches the eyes of the politician and he tries to make an ally of the young man to leverage the huge base of Pralay's well wishers. Already warned about the politician, Pralay refuses his advancements. Things take a predictable turn when Pralay unknowingly falls in love with Riya (Megha), the daughter of the politician.

Riya's dad is desperate to destroy the relationship between his daughter and the college upstart Pralay, and his devious schemes have no bound. The cliched battle for love, and a quest for revenge is on.

Director Sanjay Banerjee stays away from experimenting with the partially Ghajni-like storyline, which falls short of uniqueness and crispness.

The dialogues are also not as powerful as one would expect from such a revenge story - “eta bhalo kotha je ami bhalo lok noi”, “shoitan babar shoitan chele ami, naam Rocky” and so on no longer sparkle in contemporary Tollywood Bangla cinema.

The songs in the film include “O baba shona”,  “Jodi bhalo lage na”, “Hate hat kadha”, “O amar praner nagor” and “Sombare date dabo riya ke” and are good without being outstanding, running the risk of short retention periods in the minds of the audience. Item numbers are very much in vogue now and hence a sizzling Sambhavna Seth is seen in a item song in the film. But can a single dance item number drag an audience to a movie?

Raja Goswami has previously delivered credible performances in TV serial “” and Bengali feature film “Fight 1:1” and does a good job as the romantic angry action hero who avenges death of his family members. He portrays emotions well and is good both in action and the romance sequences.

Bengali actress Megha as Ria, the spoilt daughter of the politician, mostly spends her on-screen time looking cute and playing catch-up in the acting department. Shakti Kapoor as the evil politician, having played numerous similar roles, spontaneously delivers a powerful performance. Though the character is nothing new for the actor, Shakti Kapoor brings in a certain amount of malevolence to Rajat Ghosh, definitely a much needed factor but it appears somewhat restrained by limited abilities of the director. Actress Kalyani Mandal plays Pralay's sister.

It is difficult to lay a finger on exactly what is lacking in ‘Gundaraj’ - a full set of formulas having been deployed in a commercial film that still fails to enthrall. Perhaps it will be a great case study for aspiring film makers.

Bengali Actress Kalyani Mandal
Kalyani Mandal