Tapas Pal, Kanchana Moitra and Sonali Choudhury at the premiere of Atta Aater Bonga Local (Bengali, 2012)
Kolkata April 28, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) In a time when entertainment has come to replace the meaning of modern cinema and people would not hesitate to spend a thousand bucks for a two hour show of sleazy one-liners and eye candy dance sequences, the importance of real life inspired movies is huge. With the latter kind of movies releasing very rarely in a calendar year, the anticipation of the audience to see a socially relevant movie can be very well predicted. The highly anticipated Bengali movie ‘8 Ta 8 Er Bonga Local’ is a good example of the above kind which does run on the thread of a real life incident.
Trailer: 8:08 Er Bonga Local (Bangla, 2012)
The protagonist of the movie is an ordinary government employee, ‘Ananta Das’ (Tapas Pal) who takes the 8:08 local train from Bongaon to Kolkata everyday to go to work. Surrounded by problems and conflicts, he represents the average Indian man who fears to protest and speak out against the injustice meted out to others around him.
The main plot of the movie has been taken from a real life incident that happened in Barasat where a woman was molested by a group of men and when the lady’s brother goes out to question them, he is left brutally stabbed in a pool of blood. In the movie, even though Das becomes witness to the lady’s brother getting stabbed by the gang members, he does not respond and remains a mute spectator. The incident marks a flurry of mental tribulations in Das who starts to have a strange spinal cord spasm (‘ghot’) every time he witnesses an injustice around him.
He tends to reciprocate the anger and mental agony inside him by giving out mutilated notes to the local rickshawala and throwing acid on the neighbor’s tree. But his conscience is sparked one fine day when he travels by the local train along with an old couple who are taking their sick son to a hospital in Kolkata. The train gets stopped by a group of rioters who do not allow the train to go any further.
Picking up a bamboo stick, he starts hitting the rioters who immediately disperse. (Strange!). In the next one hour, the movie goes on a terrible rampage, which lacks the finesse of a social thriller, till the very climax with the protagonist going out in hiding from the police to places like Sonargacchi.
In spite of notable prototypes of the tribulations of ‘the stupid common man’, the film runs mainly on exaggerations and fails to exemplify the main thread. Tapas Pal stands out as an actor who has done absolute justice to his role but then the character fails to make an impact as a result of the weak plot that the movie carries around.
Swastika Mukherjee as a primetime journalist and Rajesh Sharma as the police officer have done portrayals that do not stand out from the crowd either. As for the technical department of the film, the question that needs to be asked is whether they were working for a film in the 60s.
Director Debaditya Bandopadhyay and screenplay writer Paddanava Dasgupta may have aspired to translate their thoughts on the current social scenario through the film to the audience, but it is to be said and strongly underlined that they need to do a lot of homework before gathering up a crew and making a movie. If they have any hopes of achieving success at the box office in future, they certainly need to sit down and stitch together the flaws of their present venture.
Direction: Debaditya Bandhopadhyay
Cast: Tapas Pal, Raghubir Yadav, Manoj Mitra, Haradhan Bandhopadhyay, Swastika Mukherjee, Rajesh Sharma, Sonali Choudhury, Anushree Das, Anamika Saha, Samik Sinha, Bhaskar Banerjee, Kanchana Maitra & Baby Sagnika
Story and Screen Play: Paddanava Dasgupta
Music: Tanmoy Bose
Costume Design: Agnimitra Paul
Concept and Produced By: Tarun Routh