Calcutta, Feb 4, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Films belonging to the comedy genre are rare commodities in the contemporary Bengali movie industry. It indeed requires a great deal of finesse and tactical acumen on the part of filmmakers to pack in just the right combination of humorous gags, so that their movies are actually able to tickle the funny bones of the viewers.
Given the relatively tricky nature of the task of making a genuinely funny movie, it is hardly surprising that many of the modern day Tollywood film directors have stayed away from this genre. Director Aniket Chattopadhyay (interview) is one of the very few among the current crop of moviemakers who actually have a successful track record in making enjoyable and sophisticated films with a distinct comic flavour. The director’s first two movies (‘Chha-E-Chhuti’ and ‘Bye Bye Bangkok’) were well-made and found favour among critics and cinegoers alike. Chattopadhyay now returns with his third directorial venture, ‘Goray Gondogol.’ With an ensemble cast that comprised of a nice mix of seasoned performers and fresh faces, all seemed set for the director to achieve his hattrick of hits.
‘Goray Gondogol’, in essence, is a love story that runs into troubled waters due to external circumstances and a team of rigid (and often, eccentric!) relatives. He is ‘Rik’ (Rahul - interview), a young and successful software professional, who earns a decent buck and is eminently eligible for marriage. She is ‘Paula’ (Sampurna Lahiri - interview), a pretty young lady who dreams of a happy life but is somewhat cowered by her dominating father (Dipankar De - interview). The two meet, fall in love and decide to hitch up together soon. Little did the lovebirds (and the audience!) realize that ‘gondogol’ was just lurking round the corner!
Trouble rears its ugly head in the form of the rigid principles of ‘Paula’s father, who simply refuses to hand over his daughter to anyone who does not have a adequate, if not delightful, family lineage. Unfortunately, ‘Rik’ has no family to call his own and that acts as a major deterrent in his attempts to win over his lady love. How does our young hero get out of this apparently perplexing situation? Simple! He convinces a motley group of acquaintances (with rather shady careers of their own!) to pose as his relatives in front of ‘Paula’s family.
Our protagonist had not, however, bargained for the enormous consequences that this one simple lie would lead to. The rest of the film relates the ridiculous situations and the weird complications that keep on arising, as the young lovers (and their accomplices!) keep on piling more and more lies – each one being an attempt to mask a previous lie. Will fate (and ‘Paula’s father!) allow the two sweethearts to unite in the end? In an out-and-out funny and commercial movie, it is not that hard to guess the right answer!
‘Goray Gondogol’ suffers from inconsistent performances from the members of its cast. Rahul, as ‘Rik’, is easily the best of the lot and he gets his comic timing spot on in what is his very first full-on comedy flick. Rahul is entirely believable as the young romantic who is faced with a near-impossible situation to rescue his love-life. While the acting prowess of Rahul was never a matter of doubt (with the actor delivering stellar performances in the recent ‘Katakuti’ and the more successful ‘Bedroom’), his natural flair for comedy comes across as a revelation. The manner in which Rahul portrays his helplessness and angst in the face of the comically absurd situations that the body of lies (which, ironically, had been started by himself!) gives rise to, is praiseworthy indeed.
The rest of the cast, however, are, at best, average. Sampurna Lahiri, as ‘Paula’, has two main things to do in the movie – to look pretty and to whimper tragically as her father’s principles seem to overpower her own romantic ambitions. To her credit, the young actress does both with consummate ease and confidence (after all, she is one of the most popular faces on the small screen!). However, there is scope of improvement in her emoting skills, and her dialog delivery could do with a brush-up as well.
Dipankar De, as ‘Paula’s father, is over-the-top, just as his character in the film demanded him to be. His confrontations with ‘Rik’s supposed family members do manage to generate some genuine laughs from the audience.
Locket Chatterjee and Konineeca Bannerjee come up with creditable performances. Saswata Chatterjee sleepwalks through his role. Rajatava Dutta is good. One wonders what a prodigious talent like Rudranil Ghosh is doing in a film like ‘Goray Gondogol’. Kharaj Mukherjee, surprisingly, hams.
‘Goray Gondogol’ also suffers from a sketchy pace and a weak screenplay. While the first half an hour or so of the movie is enjoyable enough, as the initially simple storyline of the film starts to get more and more convoluted, the interest of the viewers starts to wane as well. While one can gloss over the several loopholes in the narrative (in strictly commercial films, viewers are often required to take rather outrageous leaps of faith at times, right?!), there is no getting away from the fact that the movie completely runs out of steam in the post-interval period. To give where credit is due, the directorial expertise and keen eye for detail of Aniket Chattopadhyay shine through in several sequences of the film. The movie, on the whole, however, seems more like a series of funny incidents than a continuous story. The climax runs the risk of coming across as farcical.
‘Goray Gondogol’ scores on the musical front, though. Souvik, the music director, manages to come up with several nice compositions in the film. While the honeymoon song, shot entirely in the deserts of Rajasthan, is the pick of the lot, ‘Na saala thaktey debo na’ is distinctly catchy and hummable too. The rest of the songs are pretty good as well and the inventive lyrics add to their charm. Dialog, by Aniket Chattopadhyay himself, are funny, but only in parts (which are, unfortunately, spaced out far apart in the movie!). The film has way too many characters and that does not work out in favour of the movie either.
The posters of ‘Goray Gondogol’ claim that the movie has a ‘dom-faata haashir golpo’ (side-splitting funny storyline). While some will definitely ROFL, just a mild chuckle from others may not be unexpected, either.