Amanush is a 2010 Bengali Movie starring Soham and Srabonti in lead roles directed by Rajib Biswas. The film AMANUSH is produced by Shree Venkatesh Films. Read the exclusive critic’s review of the movie at CalcuttaTube.
AMANUSH – HALF-WAY HOUSE
The idea of a psychological thriller in Bengali is very good. But to translate that idea on celluloid is equally difficult. The problem with Rajib Biswas’s Amanush is just this. It is a very ambitious project for a comparatively new director never mind the Shree Venkatesh Films banner. It is difficult to resist the temptation to fill the screen with every conceivable logic-defying idea that detracts from the focus of the story – the impact of an anti-social, destructive environment on an orphan boy who has never experienced love in his life.
Defying logic is alright for a potboiler. The story of the orphan Binod who grows up to work the nights at a cafeteria and attends college in the daytime, trying to catch up on lost sleep is just fine. He is an uncouth, unshaven, rustic looking introvert who has no clue about social decorum that makes him a natural victim for ragging. But hope – and love, in that order, appears in the shapely and beautiful form of Ria, a kind-hearted good girl of a police officer who takes this boy under her wings and turns him from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. This is okay too. She thinks she is friends with him but he falls head over heels in love and unknown to her, is prepared to pay any price to keep her to himself. Fine, if that is the story that leads to her father’s angry protests and so on and so forth.
Till the interval, everything is just fine. The film till this point is a roller-coaster ride with Binod on along his journey to his identity that ends with a scholarship to go abroad for higher studies. Post-interval, the film switches mode from a triangular love story to a psychological thriller. In this genre, no film can hold without logic. Amanush has everything else but. Soham is very promising in a wonderful author-backed role other heroes would bend backwards for. He tends to overdo in some scenes but considering his limited experience, he proves that he can pull a film alone on his handsome shoulders. Shrabonti, one of the most beautiful young women the Bengali screen has seen in recent years, is mostly natural and spontaneous. Towards the end where she needs to be more expressive of emotional drama, all she does is shed copious tears. Her intelligence and wit run contrary to her unsuspecting nature. Newcomer Abhijit Roy as Ria’s persuasive and patient boyfriend is convincing. Good actors like Biswajeet Chakraborty, Dolon Roy and Saswata Chatterjee have been reduced to glamourised ‘junior artistes.’
Jeet Ganguly’s music, both for the songs and the background score, is scintillating and his signature tune for Binod’s psychopathic state of mind is brilliant. The same goes for the lyrics by Gautam Susmit and Priyo Chattpadhyay. The director deserves a pat on the back for the imaginatively designed pre-interval song picturisations. The Mauritius songs are needless intrusions and take away from the electric suspense. Kumud Verma’s cinematography is very good especially in the North Bengal sequences shot almost in natural light. The volleyball violence could have done with some snipping. Strangely, Binod’s glasses remain intact right through the violent fight where he single-handedly fights nearly a dozen young boys.
The roller coaster comes sliding down after the interval and so do the film and the audience along with it. Incredible things happen that in no way can justify the script’s endless attempts to rationalise its psychopath hero’s violent and killing ways. The flashback into a tortured childhood in a brick kiln does not match up to his admission in an engineering college where he tops the class. Why does he go back to his ugly duckling bearings? What stops him from going abroad? How did he land up in the Christian orphanage and when? Why didn’t the Father’s kind and loving ways bring about any change in Binod? The climax keeps dragging and hobbling on twisted feet till one is tempted to throw up one’s hand and give up on the film. The post-interval session is as depressing as is the pre-interval phase a dynamic and wonderful experience.
Amanush is said to have been copyrighted from some South Indian hit, not plagiarized. Bengali versions of Southie hits often appeal to the Bengali audience and one hopes this film too will follow suit. Technically, in terms of production values, Amanush is sound. Cinematically, the end product does not live up to the promise made from the beginning till the interval. The closing frame, where the camera zeroes on Ria’s pained expression, is dramatic.
by Shoma A. Chatterji