Hello Memsaheb (2011)-Bengali Movie Review

Jeet in 'Hello Memsaheb' Bengali MovieOct 12, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Hello Memsaheb is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Shiboprasad Mukherjee with Jeet, Priyanka Trivedi, Kanchan Mullick, Bratya Basu, Dimpy Ganguly and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review at Calcutta Tube.

HELLO MEMSAHEB – NO LAUGHING MATTER

Presented by: Ashok Dhanuka

Produced by: Arijit Biswas

Story: Nandita Roy

Direction: Shiboprasad Mukherjee

Screenplay & Dialogue: Nandita Roy and Shiboprasad Mukherjee

Lyrics and Music: Subhojit Chatterjee (Bhoomi)

D.O.P.: Premananda Bikash Chaki, Gopi Bhagar and Joydeep Bose

Cast: Jeet, Priyanka Trivedi, Kanchan Mullick, Bratya Basu, Dimpy Ganguly, Locket Chatterjee, Konineeka Banerjee, Aritro and others

Date of release: September 30, 2011

Rating: 05/10

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[ReviewAZON asin=”B0057XXJKI” display=”inlinepost”]There are two types of comedy films – comedian-led and situation-led. The former is accompanied by well timed gags, jokes etc. The latter comprise of comic situations. Often the two blend to create a new brand of slapstick or situational comedy or vaudeville. What works depends entirely on how much a film based on comedy or filled with comic situations and elements can generate spontaneous laughter in the audience. How does Hello Memsaheb?

Megh Chatterjee (Jeet) is the handsome young US-returned CEO of a big business hous. He happens to see Mita (Priyanka Trivedi) crossing the street from the window of his car. He falls head over heels in love. He follows Mita to her doorstep but she bangs the door shut without having seen him. He retrieves a postcard just outside It is in response to an ad for a servant Mita had placed. Lo and Behold! Megh creates a new persona of himself as Priyo, an Oriya servant and becomes a servant in her house.

The brat of a nephew of Mita who is called Tinga (Aritro) forges a bonding with Priyo. It was a great risk for Jeet to step into a comic character after three box office hits vis-à-vis Wanted, Dui Prithibi and Fighter that resurrected his career as hero and consolidated his screen image.  He succeeds in his Priyo persona to a certain extent but the film does not. The comic episodes appear forced. They hardly evoke laughter. As Priyo, Jeet puts on a wig that befits an Oriya cook, ornaments his forehead with a white teeka, his cheek with a mobile mole, wears false dentals to show buck teeth, sports dhoti and kurta and speaks in reasonably good Oriya. Good work. But it does not work either for him or for the film because his screen image as a comic hero has been a disaster earlier too. So, if this film does not do well commercially, he had better steer clear of comedy.

But that ‘if’ is a million dollar question. The front benchers and the small town and rural audience will love the precocious Tinga who is more irritating than comic. Common knowledge tells us that no Oriya Brahmin cook will ever do mundane chores like brooming, sweeping, washing etc.  But the ‘real’ cook who Priyo appoints to do the needful when Mita goes to work also does not bat an eyelid while doing the washing. However, it is a wonderful cameo by Kanchan Mullick.

Mita’s character is hardly fleshed out. She does not know that Priyo /Megh is her boss because she has never met him though the entire office has. Priyo/Megh too has no clue that Mita works in his office! Poor Priyanka Trivedi has little else to do but look very disgruntled, confused and disturbed about what is happening. Some funny moments come out when she questions how the mole moved from one cheek to the other but stops at that. The office staff is characterized to generate humour differently but these too, are doomed to disaster. Bratya Basu as Menon tries his best to act funny and Biswanath Bose as the lovelorn poet tries to infuse life into a character If they fail, it is because the script has failed them. Dimpy Ganguly as Mita’s friend does okay. Jeet looks classy and very handsome in his Megh avatar. One keeps waiting for him to strip himself of the Priyo identity for good. But that happens only in the convoluted climax.

One-sided love stories generally do not entertain the Indian audience. So, to add the lurid angle, the director puts in an item number in an Oriya ghetto performed by Konineeca Banerjee who is dressed up too lavishly to fit into that ambience. The other sex bomb comes in the shape and style of a seductive house-maid (Lopamudra) in the complex in which Mita lives. The item number is a relief but the house-maid’s seductive advances are futile. The song situations except the item number could have been better choreographed and picturised. The editing is bad. The cinematography is mostly flat so when there are a few half-lit shots filled with textured shadows, which includes the item number picturisation, you know that the director knows his job but is constrained by a genre he is not familiar with.

Shiboprasad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy gave us one of the best films of the year – Icche. Hello Shibu, what happened?

– Shoma A. Chatterji

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