April 13, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Jeeban Rang Berang is a 2011 Bengali film directed by Sanghamitra Choudhuri with Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Debasree Roy, Chiranjeet and others in the cast. . Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
JEEBAN RANG BERANG – FAIRLY GOOD
Produced by: Brijesh Kumar Agarwal
Written and scripted by: Brijesh Agarwal
Direction: Sanghamitra Choudhuri
Cinematography: Rana Dasgupta
Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, (late) Kunal Mitra, Chiranjeet, Debasree Roy, Soham, Swarnakamal, Ushashi, Lama, Joydeep, Premjit and others
Date of release: April 8 2011
[ReviewAZON asin=”B004SH3H74″ display=”inlinepost”]
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“The film is based on a true story” says a graphic before the credits come up. The prolific director Sanghamitra Choudhuri informs us during the interval that the story is based on the life of a person closely connected to the film. When the flashback begins – the entire story is narrated in flashback and comes back to the present when it is about to end – one is pleasantly surprised to discover that a somewhat senior man in his fifties (Chiranjeet) is running a race for elderly people and comes first to carry his trophy back home, congratulated by the chief guest (Soumitra Chatterjee). But as the story unfolds, one finds it bearing an uncanny resemblance to two big Bollywood hits – Avtaar (1983) starring Rajesh Khanna and Shabana Azmi and Baghban (2003) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. The similarities are more with Avtaar than Baghban but the tragedy of being first betrayed, then humiliated and finally thrown out of your own house by your own kith and kin is the same in all three films.
Chiranjit perhaps refused to portray the father of adult sons so he is the eldest of three brothers and looks after all their needs along with the needs of their wives and children. His wife (Debasree Roy) is a perfect complement to his generous heart. Choudhuri takes care to insert some original twists and turns that are not there in the two ‘inspirational’ films. The pair even chooses not to have children so that it can take care of the other families. The Muslim paanwallah in Avtaar enacted by Yunus Pervez is replicated here in the form of the late Kunal Mitra. The loyal servant Madan (Lama) comes along but unlike Sachin in Avtaar, cannot give them shelter. Subal Saha (Chiranjeet) has a heart attack when he finds his wife has given away Rs.10 lakh to one of his brothers from the money his young boss Abhishek (Soham) had left with him before he went to England. He recovers from the attack and, with the three brothers united and Subal forgiving them all, everything ends happily ever after.
Though this is the most brazen form of family melodrama, Choudhuri manages to hold her cast and script together right through the film except the end which keeps on dragging and it seems we are watching a never ending film. But it is a well-knit film once one accepts its basic tenet of an out-and-out family melodrama targeted at the mass audience across the state. The sidebar of the love story between Abhishek (Soham) and Reetu (Swarnakamal), his blind girlfriend is just a small intrusion into the main narrative spoilt completely by the deadpan performance of Swarnakamal who cannot hold a candle to the natural, seamless and spontaneous performance of Soham in a small but significant role.
Chiranjeet tries to do an Amitach Bachchan in his action scene with robbers he throws flat before they can take away his attaché filled with Rs.20 lakh in cold cash. He is there in almost in every frame and despite his typical mannerisms, does justice to Subal Saha. Debasree Roy is completely wasted as his wife who offers him decorative support as a submissive wife whose advice to him not to take voluntary retirement he does not listen to, thereby throwing her life too, in jeopardy along with his own. Kunal Mitra is very good as the paanwallah while Lama does his bit as the servant with his fun-laced sarcasm. The brothers and their wives are no good but the child actors playing their kids are better.
The song sequences are not very frequent and well positioned through the film though the songs seem like copies of some old Hindi hits. The camera, lighting, art direction and editing get by with passing marks. Overall, after the kind of films we are privy to every week, Jeeban Rang Berang is really like a fresh breeze flowing through the window into a room filled with terrible films.
Shoma A. Chatterji