Feb 23, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Jiyo Kaka is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Parambrato Chattopadhyay with Rituparna Sengupta, Rahul, Rudranil Ghosh, Abhiraj, Saswata Chatterjee and others in the cast. Read the film review at Calcutta Tube.
JIYO KAKA – GOOD WITH A HICCUP OR TWO
Banner: T. Sarkar Productions
Direction: Parambrato Chattopadhyay
D.O.P.: Soumik Halder
Editor: Sujoy Dutta Roy
Music Director: Neel Dutta
Story: Rudranil Ghosh
Screenplay: Parambrato Chattopadhyay and Aditi Majumdar
Cast: Rituparna Sengupta, Rahul, Rudranil Ghosh, Abhiraj, Saswata Chatterjee
Every director of a first film is conscious about seeing that his producers’ investment comes back, if possible, multiplied several times over. So, even when he has an original script ready, somewhere along the way, he is constrained to put in things to balance his ‘show’ to reach out to a wider audience so that sooner or later, the box office coffers keep ringing. This balancing act can sometimes topple the film’s final output.
However, having set out my premise clearly, I insist that Parambrato Chattopadhyay had a very original script for Jiyo Kaka with a story authored by Rudranil Ghosh, apparently generated from their personal struggles to establish themselves in Tollywood. Three young men from different corners of the state, converge in a low-middle-class ghetto of Kolkata. Wrik (Rahul), Asif (Rudranil) and Amit (Abhiraj) are like three comrades, relentless in their ambition to make it big in films. Wrik wants to direct films that are similar to the ones made in Big Bollywood and Hollywood. Asif, a gifted scriptwriter, dreams of making it big as maker of off-mainstream greats in the footsteps of Ray and Ghatak and Sen. Amit, the more naïve and simple among the three, wants to become a star following his favourite Shahrukh Khan. They manage to survive somehow. Asif writes the script for television serials he hates to do. Amit takes on junior artist’s bit roles to keep body and soul together. Wrik tries to assist directors he does not want to. Asif writes a wonderful script – according to the three – but their hunt for a producer results in zero while money for bare survival puts them behind in the rent and in everything else. They give up their regular work and concentrate on their film-to-be. Pushed to the edge yet determined to pull their film project through, they conspire to commit a crime. What happens after this unfolds the rest of the story.
Parambrato, in a politically correct way, informs his audience through his anchor-commentator-voice-over Asif that this could be a true story or a fairy tale, thereby undercutting the subsequent exaggerations and absence of logic in some incidents, specifically, the film’s incredible climax! But technically, the entire cast and crew puts up a wonderful team effort in spelling out delightful entertainment barring a few hiccups here and there. When they decide to kidnap Bengali cinema’s top star Neelanjana Gupta (Rituparna Sengupta), Amit is reluctant to take part but is almost threatened to join forces. In the scene where they go to meet Neelanjana in her make-up room where she is already under severe stress due to strained relations with her husband, they encounter a very angry, aggressive and almost violent actress who throws them out of the studio.
The orchestration of the actual kidnap is enriched by the failings of an amateur group who use men’s underwear as masks, almost force a garage owner to part with one of his cars to carry off their booty and are on their way to an aunt’s empty holiday home in Bolpur! It is therefore, not surprising to find that the victim soon sees through them, neatly turns the tables on her kidnappers, and dominates the entire show. She also goes through the script one of them forgot in her room which led her to identify them. But she has a mind-change and loves the script. The mood of the film changes subtly as we discover Neelanjana warm up to them and even plan about how they can get out of the jam they have trapped themselves in.
So far, so good. But after this point, the film rapidly speeds towards an unbelievable and extremely melodramatic climax to end much like a mainstream Hindi film. This too, would have rounded up the film smoothly had Parambrato not fallen to the temptation of adding an element of suspense through the mafia don segment led by a terribly miscast Shilajit. The don’s den is funnily decorated with false cricket balls hanging all over the place that look like shimmering hangings from a Christmas tree! A huge LCD screen keeps flashing some cricket match or another. The don’s stupid henchmen are dressed in cricket whites and are forever bumbling at their jobs. The don himself paces up and down, or shoots down a bumbling henchman coldly. For some strange reason, he is always thrilled with himself though three amateur dreamers with empty pockets and no assistants have unwittingly beat him hollow at his own job – kidnapping Neelanjana, who he was appointed to kidnap by her own secretary!
“If there is a determination to succeed, no one can stop you.” Neelanjana says this to the three young dreamers at the end of the film. This perhaps, is the message the film carries across. It uses entertainment, the angst of youth, and the three young men offering a microcosm of dreamers of the Y generation. The characterisations are fleshed out brilliantly. Wrik is the dominating one who is aggressive and can call the shots. Asif is the quiet one, dressed in long khadi kurtas, prone to sudden bursts of anger. Amit is the innocent one dressed in hep tee-shirts and jeans, with a soft heart that reaches out to Neelanjana in her captivity. The acting is superb. Rahul lives his role with his characteristic, understated candour. Rudranil expresses his volatile moods extremely well and Abhiraj’s an impressive debut. Rituparna is convincing as Neelanjana. She has simply to enact herself, the character being close to her real lifestyle. The scene where she bursts out at the three guys in her make-up room juxtaposed against the moonlit scene in Bolpur where she belts out a Tagore song expressing the loneliness of a top star show her versatility. Neel Dutta’s musical score is very good though among the songs, the only one that will stand the test of time is the title song that goes Jiyo Kaka, also the film’s theme song that expresses the angst and the bonhomie of the three youngsters. Saswata Chatterjee as the Amitabh-crazy police officer epitomizes the inefficiency and the lackadaisical attitude of the police force with his deadpan style very well. Kanchan Mitra is his usual good self as the two-faced star secretary.
Soumik Haldar’s cinematography is filled with his mastery – in the room the three boys share with one wall totally plastered with a huge collage of film personalities across the world, moving into the semi-lit make-up room, to the terrace of the building the friends use to argue, discuss, fight, conspire and plan, to the strategically lit interiors of the don’s den, to the moonlit outdoors in Bolpur. Sujoy Dutta Roy’s editing suffers from the jarring effect of the scenes featuring the don and his henchmen. Quite superfluous and disturbing. Cut out the Shilajit segment and strip the film of its unrealistic climax, never mind the ‘fairy tale’ bit and Parambrato has pulled off a good first-time entertainer.
– Shoma A. Chatterji