Dec 19, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Gosain Baganer Bhoot is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Nitish Roy with Victor Banerjee, Paran Banerjee, Ashish Vidyarthy, Locket Chatterjee and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review at Calcutta Tube.
GOSAIN BAGANER BHOOT – MIXED FEELINGS
Produced by: Mou Roychowdhury
Presented by: Techno India Group
Production design, art direction and direction: Nitish Roy
Based on a story by: Sirsendu Mukhopadhyay
Script and dialogue: Debaditya Dutta
D.O.P.: Badal Sarkar
Editor: Malay Laha
Make-up: Subir Manna
Sound Design: Anup Mukherjee
Costume: Ruma Sengupta
Music and Background Score: Chandrabindoo
Cast: Victor Banerjee, Paran Banerjee, Ashish Vidyarthy, Kanchan Mullick, Dedipya Ganguly, Locket Chatterjee, Biplab Chatterjee, Sankar Chakraborty and Saswata Chatterjee
Date of release: December 9 2011
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Most Bengalies who have grown up on a generous diet of Sirsendu Mukhopadhyay’s stories for children are familiar with the adventures of Burun (Dedipya Ganguly) and Nidhiram (Kanchan Mullick) his friend, the ghost of Gosain Bagan. Gosain Baganer Bhoot was published 32 years ago but the relevance and timelessness of the story can still pull children from their world of computer games and the Internet.
After he scores a poor 13/100 in his Math exam, Burun’s life becomes miserable. Everyone, including the talking parrot in its cage screams “13 in Maths” whenever it sees him. One day, a sad and forlorn Burun decides to run away from home only to find himself in the forests of Gosainpur, where the animals and birds keep singing ‘anke tero’ (13 in Math) at him. Then he meets Nidhiram, the ghost of Gosain Bagan and his life changes all over again. He excels in cricket, gets high marks in every subject including Math and everyone, including Ram Kabiraj (Victor Banerjee) his grandfather, Karali Master (Paran Bandopadhyay) his eccentric Math teacher and his parents (Saswata and Locket Chatterjee. It is Nidhiram playing his magic for his earthly friend.
There is an important sub-plot of the dreaded dacoit Habu (Ashish Vidyarthy) who, released from prison, is determined to avenge Ram Kabiraj for having led Gadai Daroga (Sankar Chakraborty) to arrest him. A master of disguises, Habu arranges to kidnap Burun and Nidhiram who can change his shape and size and disappear at will, helps in the great rescue act. Nidhiram is now friendly with Ram Kabiraj too and a thoroughly reformed Habu takes on the peon’s job at the local school when the old peon retires.
Gosain Baganer Bhoot scores very high marks in areas often found wanting in most mainstream films – make-up, costume design, production design and animation. Subir Manna’s mind-blowing make-up of Nidhiram that is composed partly of make-up and partly a specially crafted mask, or Habu’s changing disguises, or the make-up of the other ghosts complemented with Ruma Dasgupta’s costume forms the highlight of the film that children will delight in. The special effects however, have been overdone at places.
The production design is in keeping with Nitish Roy, the art director who has already won a string of National Awards for his work over the past two decades and has also designed Ramoji Rao Studio in Hyderabad and Purple Town Film City on the outskirts of Kolkata. The animation segments are mind-blowing and one wishes there was more of it than the film gives importance to. Chandrabindoo’s lyrics and songs are really very good specially the ‘anke tero’ number. Sadly, the lyrics are often lost in the very loud background score.
The acting honours are almost equally distributed between Dedipya Ganguly and Kanchan Mullick for their natural performances. Kanchan Mullick adds a nasal tone ghosts are known for to his dialogue. Kharaj Mukherjee as the family retinue comes next, perfect in accent. The stalwarts and veterans however, fail to deliver. Victor Banerjee as Ram Kabiraj is perhaps a bit of miscasting because he tends to ham when he is not comfortable. Paran Bandopadyay, otherwise a brilliant actor, suffers because the script has not fleshed out his character properly. Ashish Vidyarthy overacts as Habu but is very good when he reforms himself.
The script is badly structured and weak which brings the film down by quite a few notches from the high standards of Sirsendu Mukhopadhyay as it fails to focus on the children and the ghost and gives greater importance to the older characters of Ram Kabiraj, Karali Master and Habu. Saswata Chatterjee, Locket Chatterjee and Tinnu Anand try to do justice to whatever little they have. Sankar Chakraborty as Gadai Daroga is excellent. Gosain Baganer Bhoot would have been a much better and more entertaining film for children had the script been tighter and had focussed more on the ‘Bhoot’ who forms the title of the story and his adventures with Burun. Having said that, one might add that the film will certainly bring some happy showers in the famine-ridden world of children’s films in Bengali cinema.
– Shoma A. Chatterji