BICYCLE KICK (2013) - Soccer Reflects Life: Bengali Movie Review

Saurav Banerjee and Ridhima Ghosh at Bicycle Kick (Bengali, 2013) Press Meet (Wallpaper)
Saurav Banerjee and Ridhima Ghosh at Bicycle Kick Press Meet (image courtesy Official Facebook Page)

Kolkata, Feb 25, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio): Indian Bangla movie ‘Bicycle Kick’ leaves an impression that lasts long. The film is directed by the duo of Debasish Sen Shamra and Sumit Das, and marks their mainstream feature film debut.

The film revolves round Rubayet (Saurav Banerjee) who has come to Kolkata to study. He is a shy guy who never speaks much and likes to keep to himself . One day as he is walking next to a soccer (called "football" in India) ground, a stray ball comes towards him. He gets unusually shaken and hurries away from the scene.

Moti Nandi (Ritwick Chatterjee), the coach on the ground, notices this and realized that something is not quite right in the way Rubayet reacted. A few days later Moti  deliberately throws a ball at him. Rubayet receives the ball very skillfully and returns it in way which is possible only for a highly trained player.

Moti Nandi gets very curious about Rubayet and his strange behaviour. He tries to find out about Rubayet’s past which leads him to Rubayet’s small village where he had grown up. To Moti’s surprise he finds out Rubayet was a star soccer player of the locality. Moti meets his father and learns that Rubayet had fallen victim to a conspiracy which turned him into a villain of a match. Rubayet had given up his village and soccer after the traumatic event.

Moti Nandi had gone through a similar situation in his own early career, and gets determined to bring Rubayet back to the soccer ground. He applies every tool on hand towards that goal, enlisting help from Rubayets sweetheart Madhabilata (Ridhima Ghosh) and his old friends. How far Moti is successful in his effort and what is the outcome comprises the rest of the film.

The Kolkata Bangla movie of course has a soul and a binding force, but the execution of the climax loses the tight grip that is seen during the plot build-up. This makes the second half of the film a bit lusterless after an outstanding first half. But the potential of the new directors is easily perceived. The script has some missing elements which the audience are sure to notice. One would really want a clear view of Moti’s own past. Even the intentions behind the offer of bribe to Rubayet, in the match where he turned into a villain overnight, are not explained, keeping the audience guessing. Apart from that the detailing of the film deserves appreciation.

The film offers enough opportunity to the characters to act. The actor who outshines everyone is Ritwick. The remarkable performance of Ritwick in this film will definitely bring him out from the box of understated actors. Sourav has enough opportunity to act being in a round character which goes through several transformations. But he shines only in parts. Ridhima has played her role well, though she deserved some more screen space. There was no harm in adding some more sequences of romancing of Rubayet and Madhabilata. But the directors thought otherwise, perhaps to not let love become a distraction from the main plot about a coach, a player and the game of soccer.

Casting Soumitra Chatterjee as the guide and mentor of Moti Nandi is a very nice touch.

The factor that takes this film to the next level is the supporting cast. Every supporting cast member portrays a character who has a story. The phrase ‘memorable supporting cast’ is hardly used but the rare phrase surely finds its application in this film. Characters like the incense stick seller or ‘Teni da’ or ‘Habul’ are likely to long stay in the viewers' minds along with Moti Nandi.

The film also can boast of some decent technical aspects like background score and cinematography. Joy Sarkar's music and the songs are great and fit well with the situations. Beside the songs, poetry has also been used with much effect in the film - a rare thing to come across, especially in a non-literature based film.

Those who love the game of soccer (which Bengali doesn't!) and those who have an interest in finding out how the game reflects the ups and downs of life will do well to watch Bicycle Kick at their nearest theater.

Watch Bangla Movie BICYCLE KICK (2013) Trailer (Youtube)

- Jyoti Prakash Mandal (