Bengali Movie AMANUSH (2010) | Original Film Review by Anirban Halder - Soham carries the film single-handedly

May 24, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) By Anirban Halder, Kolkata:

Bangla mainstream cinema, of late, is showing signs of breaking out of the cliché at various levels, be it story, music or locations. It is not a must for the lead actor to be goodlooking, if he is good at acting. Stories are being picked carefully, going out of the comfort zone. Music is reflecting the good amount of team effort behind it.

Binod - the protagonist of Amanush, a remake of Kadhal Kondein, a 2003 Tamil hit, is very unlike a regular mainstream hero. He is a village bumpkin, gawky, and unkempt and devoid of any charm. The orphan feels out of sync in the engineering college among the urban folks. Nobody likes him due to his appearance and personality, except Ria- the prettiest girl in the class. She makes him feel his worth and grooms him so that he can reach his potential. And the hapless Binod falls head over heels in love. Is it reciprocated by her? No. Ria considers Binod as her best friend, but her heart goes to someone else. Binod is not able to cope with the reality. He has a troubled past and won’t let life take away his happiness yet again. What he does to achieve it forms the rest of the story.

Theatrical trailer: Amanush (Bengali, 2010)

Soham is perfectly cast as Binod and he single-handedly carries the story. He looks funny, hapless, outraged or hurt more or less convincingly. But though the story was good, Rajib’s treatment fails to do justice to it. The suspense towards the climax is not built in the right scale. One deeply feels a lack of skilled directorial treatment at that stage. The film also suffers from quite a few incoherencies, like:

1.    Binod is beaten black and blue at the basketball court, but his specs refuse to fly off.
2.    Binod goes back to his unkempt look complete with slippers after his realization that Ria loves Aditya but it is completely overlooked by Ria who had groomed him.
3.    Bobby was killed months back but his body was yet to get decomposed when found by police.
4.    Catcalls and whistles in an engineering college auditorium where an inter-college project competition was being announced.
5.    Binod loses his specs (with high-power glasses) in a fight with Aditya but manages just fine without it thereafter.

Soham’s antics are also over the top in a few scenes- like the canteen scene when he was wolfing down Ria’s lunch in no time or the first time he stepped into her bedroom.

It would help to be careful in picking the supporting actors. Rehan’s Aditya is fine in the looks department, but fails everywhere else. He isn’t impressive enough to be capable of winning over Ria after a false start. And some of his friends are too aged to play undergraduates anymore (Prasun for instance, and his chubby classmate who struggles to look hip). The students hardly look, sound and behave like they are budding engineers, they rather fit the bill as those from a B-grade degree college. If overall quality of mainstream cinema is to be improved, the makers need to put effort in casting every supporting character. This is something one doesn’t miss in a Raj Chakraborty film.

Srabanti is okay as Ria. She hardly had to do anything much other than looking good and she delivers at that. She looks perfect as a college fresher despite several years of marriage.

Music is a highpoint of the film. Jeet’s score, striking a balance between rhythm and melody, fits in the story and Monta kore uru uru, O my love and Du chokher oi jhile are worth special mention. The other songs are also good, so is the theme piece (Although it has been overused in the second half). The lyrics are particularly good. One however wonders why he doesn’t use a single artist from the abundant local talent pool in film after film (with the sole exception of Nachiketa). Doesn’t the sound of any song find a match in any of the Kolkata-based singers?

Kumud Verma’s cinematography also deserves a mention.  The songs shot in Mauritious look glamorous and worth the money spent on them. Soham’s hard work in picking the dance steps showed on screen.

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