Nov 2, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Moubane Aaj is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Raja Sen with Ranjit Mullick, Manoj Mitra, Dipankar De, Rahul Banerjee, Priyanka, Rachana Banerjee, Koushik Sen and others in the cast. Read Calcutta Tube‘s review by National Award Winning film critic Shoma A. Chatterjee.
MOUBANE AAJ – BAD PROJECTION OF GOOD STORY
Presented by: BCI Films
Produced by: Sailesh Ranjan Choudhury, Monideepa Choudhury and Pooja Bose
Direction: Raja Sen
Story: Samaresh Majumdar
Screenplay: Manoj Mitra
Cinematography: Rana Dasgupta
Music: Partho Sengupta and Ramji
Cast: Ranjit Mullick, Manoj Mitra, Dipankar De, Papia Sen, Rahul Banerjee, Priyanka, Rachana Banerjee, Koushik Sen and others
Date of release: October 21, 2011
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Moubane Aaj consolidates filmmaker Raja Sen’s fascination for Bengali literature. Moubane Aaj is based on a story by noted contemporary literatteur Samaresh Majumdar. It is about life in a small Bengali village named Moubon with a generous zamindar who has aspirations for the development of his village and the youngsters who live there but lacks the practical wisdom to carry his dreams to fruition. His son (Rahul Banerjee) is a good-for-nothing who can only write one-liners about a girl he sees from the window of the local library and fails in his graduation exams. An old-time friend (Dipankar De) comes back after many years pretending to have trained professional footballers in Spain and promptly lands the job of football coach to footballers of the zamindar’s club. But he is a con-man of the first order and keeps all training and coaching at bay to keep his job intact and to suck in as much of food and goodies as he can off the good-hearted zamindar.
Another track follows the journey of a very young and pretty widow (Rachana Banerjee) who comes to the village with her father (Biplab Chatterjee), his second wife (Shibani Sinha) and little step-brother but is forced to leave the home because of the step-mother’s beastly behaviour. She takes shelter in the house of the zamindar and begins to look after the family as well as the wood-cutting factor the zamindar runs.
The third track is about a shrewish college girl (Priyanka) who rags poor Rahul in college so much that he is rusticated from the college and so is she. Rahul returns to the village only to find that the girl he admired from the window was married to a NRI but has come back. The football coach runs away when his tricks are discovered while the zamindar is now hell bent on fetching a shrewish daughter-in-law for his son so that she can tame him and control him well.
The different tracks of the story fail to jell together to become one cohesive whole and the film as a result is neither here nor there. Except the character of the zamindar and the connish football coach, none of the characters are fleshed out properly and it is sad to see the talented Rahul wasted in an inane role. Priyanka on the other hand, has a meaty role of the girl who cares two hoots about her colourful vocabulary used at random and picked up from her like-minded grandfather (Manoj Mitra) shocking her prim and proper headmistress mother beyond words.
Raja Sen fails miserably to tie the loose ends of the several tracks together though he has very good support from his actors Ranjit Mullick, Manoj Mitra and Dipankar De looking funny in football cap and Bermuda shorts. Mullick is hilarious and so is Dipankar De though he looks quite awkward in the get-up he is given. The scenes in the village watering hole dotted with a cameo by the hole owning woman are good. Manoj Mitra regales us as he educates his daughter on the finer points of unacceptable and unparliamentary vocabulary his grand-daughter has picked up.
The entire film is half-lit and dim and one has to strain one’s eyes to make out what is going on. Whether this is because of the lighting for the cinematography or the projection qualities of Bijoli theatre no one knows and no one cares. This is a sad reflection on the work of the experienced Rana Dasgupta who is known for his long track record in cinematography. The music is comparatively good considering the rest of the film’s quality that leaves much room for improvement. The editing is a disaster as the film jumps and cuts and wipes and fades from one scene to the next without rhyme or reason. It is sad to watch a director like Raja Sen go this way.
– Shoma A. Chatterji