Hiran Chatterjee and Pooja Bose in Macho Mastana (Bengali, 2012) - A Reshmi Mitra film
Kolkata, March 13, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) It is always fascinating to see the progress of a promising youngster as he (or she, for that matter!) makes his way to stardom in the world of cinema. The mainstream Bengali movie industry is blessed with a number of young and talented ‘leading men’ too. While some among them (read: Jeet and Dev!) have been successful in attaining the status of popular matinee idols, there have been several others whose careers have tended to fizzle out after relatively strong starts. Hiran Chatterjee [WBRi Interview] (or Hero Hiran as he is more well-known as!), had made every movie buff sit up and take notice with his stellar act in his debut movie (the 2007-blockbuster ‘Nabab Nandini’). However, a string of ‘not-so-successful’ flicks had relegated this immensely talented (and good-looking!) actor to the background, while newer actors started to take center-stage. Hiran is now back (with an all-new eight-pack body in tow!) with a romantic action flick, ‘Macho Mastana’. With the film being touted as having the biggest budget ever in the history of Bengali films, expectations were indeed sky-high from this Reshmi Mitra (WBRi Interview) directed movie.
‘Macho Mastana’ is the story of the young and cheerful ‘Nabab’ (Hiran) who has practically everything in life going for him. His (relatively large!) family comprises of his father, grandfather and a caring and affectionate elder brother. With all the familial love flowing around, ‘Nabab’s household basks in the warmth of strong camaraderie and bonding among all its members. Then again, which commercial movie ‘hero’ has ever managed to live out the entire length of a film in a quiet, peaceful manner? (!) ‘Nabab’ has life-changing surprises waiting for him too!
Madhubala Song from Macho Mastana (originally titled "Macho Mustafa")
Love enters ‘Nabab’s life in the form of the ravishing ‘Diya’ played by Puja Bose (WBRi Interview). The first meeting of the two happens as a stroke of luck and they fall for each other’s (considerable!) charms from the word go. ‘Nabab’ and ‘Diya’ share cosy moments together and sing romantic duets (nothing new there!). The lovebirds have plans to hitch up soon and start dreaming of a rosy future together. Fate, however, has more sinister schemes!
‘Bidhan Chattoraj’, the possessive and highly influential father of ‘Diya’, is, however, dead against the idea of his beloved daughter prancing around with ‘Nabab’, who hails from a much humbler background. Not a particularly law-abiding man himself, ‘Chattoraj’ sets goons on ‘Nabab’ (who, as a matter of course, bashes them up!). When all his other (supremely egoistic and evil!) schemes fall flat on their faces, ‘Chattoraj’ decides to take his wrath out on ‘Nabab’s family members. In a planned massacre, he bumps of ‘Nabab’s grandfather as well as his elder brother and makes ‘Nabab’s father go into paralysis. This (quite understandably!) brings the blood of ‘Nabab’ to boil, who vows to take revenge on ‘Bidhan Chattoraj’ – the man who had done such irreparable damage to his life. With the help of a sympathetic human rights activist (played by Dolon Roy), ‘Nabab’ dons the mantle of a vengeful man, committed to bring all miscreants to justice and win back her lady love, ‘Diya’. Will our much-wronged protagonist succeed in his quest? Given that this is a hardcore commercial film, it is not that difficult to guess the answer!
‘Macho Mastana’ features the Tollywood debut of Pooja Bose who is already very popular as an actress in South Indian and other regional film, who essays the role of ‘Diya’ (the leading lady of the movie). The actress had earlier featured in a small role in the 2003 Manisha Koirala-starrer ‘Escape From Taliban’ (she also has a superhit Telugu movie already in her kitty). However, her histrionic skills and voice modulation leave much to be desired in ‘Macho Mastana’. Puja appears rather stiff in front of the camera and her way of dialog delivery is not quite convincing either. To be fair to the young actress, her role does not give her much scope either and she excels at one of the most important tasks that she is assigned in the film – looking pretty and glamorous. However, Puja seriously needs to get rid of her scratchy voice quality if she is aiming for bigger things in Tollywood (or, for that matter, films in any other language).
The character artists in ‘Macho Mastana’ do a fairly good job and help to keep the narrative together (not for the entire movie, though!). Dolon Roy (WBRi interview) comes across as sincere and entirely believable in her role of an upright human rights activist. Her performance is, however, not a patch on the memorable acts she had come up with in the recent Rituparna Sengupta starrer forbidden sex flick ‘Charulata 2011’ and, more particularly, ‘Zameen’. Bibhu Bhattacharyya, in his final cinematic appearance, is as reliable as ever. His voice in the film is dubbed though and one suspects that his untimely demise was probably the reason behind it. The character of ‘Bidhan Chattoraj’, who plays ‘Diya’s dad, is, however, rather over-the-top. Instead of evoking fear in the minds of viewers, the character appears more of a caricature than a genuine villainous character.
‘Macho Mastana’ is, of course, Hiran’s movie through and through. The actor had fought through the pain barrier to build fabulous, eight-pack abs and he successfully manages to move beyond his earlier ‘chocolate-boy’ onscreen avatar. Hiran had already proven his acting expertise in several of his earlier films and in this movie too, he emotes quite spontaneously and looks easy on the eye. The action sequences (the movie has 21 of them, and yes, you read that right!) come to life with the help of Hiran (and his beefy body!). However, the lead pair of Hiran and Puja do not share that extra bit of chemistry that any romantic movie so requires. While viewers would definitely find Hiran charming and stylish in the movie, the film does not quite convey the inner pains of the young man to the audience.
Director Reshmi Mitra, who had earlier been at the helm of two box-office turkeys (‘Bhalobasha Zindabad’ and ‘Piriti Kanthaler Aatha’), finally manages to showcase her directorial expertise in ‘Macho Mastana’. Mitra evidently is in her comfort zone in this big-budget flick (with the total production budget of the movie being well over seven crores!) and her concepts of using the DI technology and frozen frames in the movie is indeed worth a round of applause. The screenplay is not uniformly tight though, and after the relatively enjoyable first half, becomes increasing mundane as the onscreen fights seem to simply go on. Action director Judo Ramu does a good job of lending a certain degree of credibility to the action sequences, however.
‘Macho Mastana’ is one of the most visually pleasing Bengali movies of recent times, with cinematographer Kumud Verma capturing the virgin, exotic locales of Mauritius in a fantastic manner indeed. The movie, however, cries out for a crisper (and smarter!) editing, which would have given an extra edge to the film.
Music director Samidh does a fair enough job in ‘Macho Mastana’. While ‘Rukega Badal’ (the first full-length Hindi song in a Bengali movie) stands out for its melodious tune and beautifully-penned lyrics, the title track is sung with great zest and energy as well. ‘Madhuwala’ is yet another hummable track from the movie. The background music varies from the fair to the jarring, though and the placement of the songs in the film is relatively routine.
‘Macho Mastana’ is a good effort on the part of Reshmi Mitra to make an entertaining, out-and-out action movie. Hiran also manages to make a strong impression on the viewers, both with his acting finesse and well-built body, in the film.The action scenes in ‘Macho Mastana’ are truly well-shot and stylishly depicted onscreen.