Bangla Bachao is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Anup Sengupta with Prosenjit, Paoli Dam, Dipankar De, Shubhashish Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty and others in the cast. Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
BANGLA BACHAO – REHASH AND MISHMASH OF MAIN AZAD HOON
Director: Anup Sengupta
Story: Somnath Bhattacharya
Cast: Prosenjit, Dipankar De, Shubhashish Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Kalyani Mandal, Raja Chatterjee, Pulakita Ghosh, Paoli Dam.
You must keep watching Bangla Bachao to understand its ‘similarities’ with the Tinnu Anand film Main Azaad Hoon. You must watch the film till the end to understand its political agenda. So, does this make Bangla Bachao a political film? Yes, because it openly uses political propaganda through the medium of entertainment with Prosenjit playing the crusader whose focus is on wronging all ills that victimise the poor men, women and children on the street in general and people who show guts to voice their protest in particular.
Asutosh Sen (Prosenjit) comes to Kolkata for the treatment of his mother’s (Kalyani Mandal) throat infection. They land up in his older brother Anshu’s (Raja Chatterjee) home. where he lives with his wife. But Asutosh is angered by the tyranny, corruption and oppression of local councillors, an inactive police force and money-minded brutally selfish businessmen who have conspired to destroy the lives, livelihood and shelter of the people in the low-middle-class slum where Asutosh comes to stay. There is a henchman who, with his cronies, backed by the Ruling Party minister or MLA tyrannizes everyone around. Asutosh sets about putting the house in order. He catches the eye of Mandira (Paoli Dam) a television news reporter of a television channel who has been threatened by her boss to bring in some ‘hot’ news failing which, she might be out on the streets. But he refrains from talking to her because he is not out for publicity. But fortune plays a tragic trick on him. His mother’s throat infection turns out to be cancerous and Asutosh is faced with the impossible task of collecting Rs.5 lakh for the operation. The devious Mandira and her assistant Diya (Pulakita) hit on this opportunity to make their breaking story. Mandira persuades Asutosh to assume the imaginary persona of Alladin created to assuage the anxiety of the masses. Asutosh is forced to agree till his position creates discomfort for the real estate promoter who, along with the minister of the Ruling Party (Mrinal Mukherjee) has already bought off the basti land where Asuthosh and his peers live to build a shopping mall in its place. In connivance with the channel owner (Dipankar De), they expose the real identity of the fictitious Alladin on their channel adding that Asutosh has done it all for his mother’s operation. Though there is a mention of Asutosh talking about committing suicide on August 15 to express his solidarity with the people as their representative, the script forgets all about it soon after and there is no mention of suicide. But the Police Commissioner (Biswajit Chakraborty) backs Asutosh in trying to clear his name of the muck created by the powers-that-be.
Maya Devi (Anamika Saha) manages to convince her daughter, in love with the Ruling Party Minister’s son, to use her video cam to prove the guilt of the batch of villains. Everything ends happily ever after. The villains are vanquished. Maya Devi turns out to have pretended to betray Asuthosh in order to help him! The unwritten message that comes across loud and clear in the film is that this lady would perhaps be the ideal person to lead the state to peace, harmony, good health and well-being for everyone around.
Prosenjit looks younger than he generally does that suggest he might have gone in for that long-deserved face-lift. He does exactly what he is expected to do – ham right from beginning to end. The romantic angle is rightly marginalised. Paoli Dam as Mandira has little to do except thrust her mike at everyone and look perky and smart in Western gear. Pulakita as her assistant is good. Mrinal Mukherjee is okay and Anamika Saha throws her generous weight around convincingly. Anup Sengupta has done much better with Bangla Bachao than he did in the recent past. But the near-empty theatre proved that Prosenjit is no longer a hot favourite with the mass audience in mainstream Bengali cinema. Bishal (Shaheb Bhattacharya) and Tina (Arpita) as the young lovers are awkward and self-conscious. Interestingly, we actually had a front named the Bangla Bachao Front (Save Bengal Front), a group of combined opposition parties contesting the 2001 elections for the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. The Front was led by the All-India Trinamool Congress that included Bharatiya Janata Party, the Jharkhand Party, the Kamtapur People’s Party, the Kamtapur Peoples Party, the Samata Party and a break-away group called Biplobi Bangla Congress.
Will Bangla Bachao save West Bengal? One doubts it because not many are buying tickets to watch the film. One can only send up a prayer that it should not push the theatre owners into selling away their theatres to real estate developers who want to build shopping malls!
Shoma A. Chatterji