Kolkata May 5, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Buddy flicks are extremely rare in the Bengali film industry. While Bollywood has been churning out movies belonging to this genre with regularity over the years (think: ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘3 Idiots’), Tollywood Kolkata Bangla movie fans have been forced to stay content with the occasional ‘Rang Milanti’ (which was, admittedly, beautiful!) or the downright mediocre ‘Best Friend’.
A Song from Teen Yaari Katha by Anupam Roy
In 2006, director duo Abhijit Guha and Sudeshna Roy had teamed up to make a film called ‘Teen Yaari Katha’, which exclusively delved into the topic of male bonding. However, the movie got stuck with the censors and general movie buffs were denied the privilege of catching it at the theaters.
While we had been looking forward eagerly to the day when ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ would finally hit the screens, the movie had been making waves in the international circuits (it had been screened at the Osian Film Festival, the World Film Festival of Bangkok and even the Kolkata Film Festival). Understandably, expectations were immense from the movie. ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ turns out to be one of the very few films that fully manage to live up to its hype. A must-watch, indeed!
‘Teen Yaari Katha’ introduces us to the world of three friends. First, there is the young (and rather foul-mouthed!) newspaper hawker ‘Bireshwar/Biloo’ (Sujan ‘Neel’ Mukherjee). Having lost his parents in an accident at a young age, ‘Biloo’ now lives with his grandmother (the late Gita Dey) at his maternal uncle, ‘Manik Samanta’s (Biplab Chatterjee) place. Providing ‘Biloo’ company are his two friends, the educated job-seeker ‘Atanu/Antu’ (Parambrata Chatterjee) and the moody and illiterate ‘Shyamal’ (Rudraneel Ghosh). The three have their daily dose of squabbles (and even fights!), but, at the end of the day, ‘Biloo’, ‘Antu’ and ‘Shyamal’ remain ‘friends-for-life’ in the truest sense of the phrase.
Our three leading men have unique personal traits of their own too. ‘Antu’, the most serious one in the group, harbours romantic feelings towards his theatre acting classmate ‘Dola’ (Gargee Roychowdhury). While ‘Antu’ calls her ‘Dola-di’, he cannot prevent himself from feeling protective towards her and disapproving of her ambitions to leave theatres to try her luck in serials. He even scoffs at the (slightly!) bold dresses that ‘Dola’ has to slip into for photoshoots! The two get separated though, with ‘Dola’ heading off for Kolkata, in search of her big acting break. Next up, we have the rustic ‘Shyamal’, who is smitten by ‘Mamoni’ (Rimjhim Mitra), the daughter of ‘Biloo’s uncle. ‘Shyamal’ picks up and drops ‘Mamoni’ on her way to college everyday and tries to think up of wacky (and futile!) plans to impress her. Finally, ‘Biloo’ loves to catch a sight of one of his newspaper customers (Paoli Dam) everyday. None of the three have any concrete plan to give a proper shape to their romantic aspirations, but each of them has a little place in their respective hearts for their beloved ones. Sweet indeed!
The lives of the three friends (or, more particularly, those of the slightly perverted ‘Biloo’ and ‘Shyamal’!) are enlivened by the arrival of the married couple ‘Ajay’ (Saswata Chattopadhyay) and ‘Sreeradha’ (June Maliah) as tenants at ‘Biloo’s house. ‘Biloo’ finds ‘Sreeradha’ as the perfect epitome of a ‘sensuous boudi’ and (often with ‘Shyamal’ in tow!) loves to ogle at her whenever he can. ‘Biloo’ and ‘’Shyamal’ even drill a hole in the wall of their adjoining rooms, just to catch ‘Ajay’ and ‘Sreeradha’ during some intimate moments. The couple, however, are far too burdened by their poverty to be aware of the lecherous glances of the young men. In fact, they have sinister intentions of their own. How would things pan out in the end? Will our three protagonists finally find peace in their lives? Find the answers at the theaters!
‘Teen Yaari Katha’ presents a collage of several distinctly endearing moments, each of which is magical in its own right. Directors Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha do a fantastic job of making the movie appear completely natural and spontaneous, with every onscreen incident appearing as a natural progression of the earlier going-ons. Yes, the movie looks just a bit dated (it was, after all, made more than six years back!), but the beautiful screenplay and the sheer realism of the characters easily mask that minor shortcoming. ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ once again proves that, when it comes to making a really good movie, there are no alternatives to having a really sound, tightly-woven script.
Sujan Mukherjee, as ‘Biloo’, is outstanding in ‘Teen Yaari Katha’. The manner in which Mukherjee balances the basic naughtiness of his character with his deep, underlying love for his friends is truly worth a hearty round of applause. The actor is also quite convincing while uttering the (many!) cuss words (yes, the movie can easily compete with the likes of ‘Delhi Belly’ on that count!). Rudraneel Ghosh, as ‘Shyamal’, is nothing short of magical too. His obvious delight at being able to give ‘Mamoni’ daily rides on his auto-rickshaw is beautifully portrayed in ‘Teen Yaari Katha’. Viewers would truly feel for ‘Shyamal’ as he grows increasingly frustrated by the way in which ‘Mamoni’ keeps on cold-shouldering him. Parambrata Chatterjee, as ‘Antu’, is steady. The Param-Gargee track is easily the most mature portion of the movie and the actor shows remarkable poise during the emotional scenes. Parambrata also deliberately underacts a bit, which fits in beautifully with the exuberances of ‘Biloo’ and ‘Shyamal’.
‘Teen Yaari Katha’ also benefits from the rock-solid performances from all its supporting actors. Saswata Chatterjee, as the frustrated husband ‘Ajay’, is entirely believable. June Maliah looks sweet and is convincing as the troubled housewife (who serves as an eye-candy for ‘Biloo’!). Gargee Roychowdhury, as ‘Dola’, is impressive in a relatively complex role. In particular, the scene where it is shown that ‘Dola’ has sold off her body to bag a job for her dear friend ‘Antu’, is extremely touching. Rimjhim Mitra does not get much of a scope. Paoli Dam looks fab in the couple of scenes she has. Biplab Chatterjee is delightful with his typical ‘Bangal’ accent, as is the late Gita Dey. Rajesh Sharma, in a small cameo as the goon ‘Sentu-da’, is hilarious. The others, in bit roles, do an efficient job.
At a running time of a tick under two hours, ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ is a perfect example of how the narrative of a well-crafted, crisp tale on male bonding should be. Sujay Dattaray does a marvellous job as the editor of the film and there is not a single moment in the movie that the audience is likely to find boring. The delicate mix of fun moments (‘Biloo’ trying to strangle ‘Shyamal’, simply because the latter had accidentally burnt his porn magazine, for example!) and sequences with subtle and sensitive messages take ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ to a different dimension altogether. The climax, where the three friends dream that the ladies they love get on with them in ‘Shyamal’s auto, is a masterpiece too. Just one word for this parting sequence – Wow!
Bhoomi’s music also adds to the overall charm of ‘Teen Yaari Katha’. The songs are situational, with ‘Jiboner Ei Pothey Pothey’ having an almost ethereal feel about it. ‘Paray Paray’, the Saraswati Puja-song, is a nice composition too. Dialogs are smart and witty and, as and when required, truly touching. The movie does not rely on glossy sets to try to bring an attractive feel to it. Instead, cinematographer Debnath Gangopadhyay focuses on capturing the little details that help ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ look really authentic. A case in point would be the scene where ‘Mamoni’ ignores ‘Shyamal’ to get on another auto, which has the following words painted at its back – ‘Dekhbi aar jolbi, luchir moto fulbi’ (you’ll keep burning with jealousy)! The background score is also absolutely in sync with the movie.
Directors Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha not only display admirable guts to select an unconventional theme for ‘Teen Yaari Katha’, but they also see to it that the movie turns out to be a really memorable affair. All the young actors have come a long way since ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ and each of them have become eminent Tollywood stars, but there were enough sparks in their performances in this movie to identify the immense acting prowess they had even at that early stage of their respective careers. As they rightly say, morning shows the day!
‘Teen Yaari Katha’ was made in 2006, but movie-lovers had to wait till 2012 to catch the movie in cinemas. The all-round, fantastic nature of ‘Teen Yaari Katha’ proves one thing however – some good things in life are certainly worth the wait!