March 7, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Handcuff is a 2011 Bengali film directed by Sanat Dutta with Rituparna Dasgupta, Samrat Mukherjee, Rajatava Dutta and others in the cast. Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
HANDCUFF – NOT CAPTIVATING
Banner: M.N. Roy Productions
Producer: Surajit Roy
Director: Sanat Dutta
Story and screenplay: Partho Bandopadhyay
Music: Rupendu Kishore Bose
Cast: Rituparna Dasgupta, Samrat Mukherjee, Sameer Aftab, Rajatava Dutta, Bodhisattva Majumdar, Biplab Chatterjee, etc.
Date of release: February 25 2011
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“War for Justice” the billboards of Handcuff scream out. But the justification for the two-edged title comes only through a couple of dialogues in the end. It is not related to the main story or the characters in the film in any way. But more of this later. An urban couple land in a small town railway station. The husband, Deep Chatterjee (Samrat Mukherjee), is Officer-on-Duty at the local police station. The wife Shikha Chatterjee (Rituparna Sengupta) is a criminal lawyer. The husband sees a bunch of ruffians trying to molest a young girl. He steps in to rescue the girl. But the main culprit threatens him with vengeance. After all, he is the son of the local MP Monishankar Panda (Rajatava Dutta) and he cannot be touched as the entire local police is on the payroll of this Panda. There is another evil guy, the local MLA Srikumar Jadhav (Biplab Chatterjee) who belongs to the opposition but merrily join forces with Panda when it comes to confront the honest police officer Deep.
Madhusudan Mullick (Sameer Aftab) is the local mafia don on the payroll of the two politicians. Shikha is shocked to discover her old lover Madhusudan, a brilliant student of Presidency College reduced to a mafia don who runs his gang of henchmen. But this dark cloud has a silver lining. Madhusudan has a heart of gold. He rescues the young orphan Pooja from being trafficked by her uncle into the sex trade and deposits her with a benevolent Muslim school teacher who runs a school for street children. Pooja also begins to teach. She is helped with a news reading job at the local television channel.
Deep’s anxieties about Shikha’s old affair with Madhusudan are laid to rest. But his anger against Madhusudhan flares up without reason and he is determined to send him behind bars. The MP’s son, acquitted of raping and killing a young Muslim girl whose fiancé is wrongly accused of the crime. Shikha steps in as his defence attorney and everything ends happily ever after. Pooja who loves Madhusudan and treats him like God is united with her lover thanks to Shikha’s efforts and all is well with the world.
Handcuff is not as bad as one feared because the twists and turns in the tale are well-handled by director Sanat Dutta. Rituparna’s talents remain unexplored because her character is not fleshed out properly but she does well with the little that she is given. Samrat is good but needs to control his facial grimaces. Sameer Aftab as Madhusudan looks too sweet and sugary for the role of a don, never mind that he has been forced into this shady life. One wonders why the director had to import a chocolaty boy who does not know a word of Bengali all the way from Mumbai for a Bengali film. The poor young man is stiff and conscious in every scene though he has a good screen presence and can be shaped into better acting under a good director and banner. Rajatava is very good in a negative role punched with some fun and his dancing along with the beat of the item number towards the end is a scream. Biplab and Bodhisatta Majumdar as Shikha’s father do not have anything new to contribute.
There are too many needless interruptions by way of songs and only a single track lip-synched by Madhusudan is very good. The item number is hardly there so one has no clue about why it was introduced at all. The fight scenes, especially between Deep and Madhusudan needed more professional handling. All said and done, Handcuff does not merit more than two on ten. It is the usual masala potboiler in which the mixing of the spices needed to be better.
– Shoma A. Chatterji