NATOBAR NOT OUT (2010): Extraordinary comedy in Bengali Cinema

Raima-Sen-Natobar-Not-Out-Bengali-Film-Press-Meet-in-Kolkata-Featured
Raima-Sen-Natobar-Not-Out-Bengali-Film-Press-Meet-in-Kolkata-Featured

September 30, 2010, KOLKATA (Calcutta Tube): NATOBAR NOT OUT is the latest Bengali movie that would bring back the rare comedy in Bangla Cinema. NATOBAR NOT OUT is directed by Amit Sen. The Movie will be releasing in the USA by Databazaar Media Ventures.

The name ‘Natobar’ suggests fun and amusement. No young man who is a Bengali would feel proud about this name today because it is really old-fashioned and sounds funny in a crowd of fashionable first names like Shayondeb and Aveek and Roumyajit. His shortened nickname Nata is even worse. But the hero of Amit Sen’s film is keener on being recognised as a poet of renown than bothering about his old-fashioned name. His father Brojo is a mechanic with his own small business. Like all fathers, he wants his son to join him. Does he? Not in his wildest dreams does Nata intend to become a second generation mechanic. The “not out” in the title might suggest cricket.  But there is no hint of cricket in the film. “Not out” stands for Natobar’s determination to succeed as a famous poet, come what may. Ad filmmaker Amit Sen’s directorial debut with a feature film will break the ‘silence’ that sustains in Bengali cinema when it comes to comedy.

Comedy in Bengali cinema has been conspicuous but its absence since some of the industry’s legendary laughing machines Bhanu Bandopadhyay, Jahar Ray, Tulsi Chakraborty, Nabadwip Haldar have passed yonder. The contemporary talents in comedy such as Chinmoy Roy, Shubhashish Mukherjee, Biswanath Bose have been reduced to apologies of the comic compelled by market forces to reproduce scripts that want you to run for shelter away from the theatre. Even Prosenjit’s brand of comedy has failed to pull in the audience the way even his cheapest potboilers can and do.

[ReviewAZON display=”searchquery” query=”databazaar” count=”2″ category=”DVD” page=”1″ sort=”default”]The only relief in recent times was Rangan Chakraborty’s Bor Aashbey Ekhuni a couple of years ago. For once, you got to watch wholesome family entertainment offered with a generous dose of honesty, a tad more romance than needed and a dinner where the side dishes are tastier than the main dish – a case of the tomato ketchup being tastier than the chicken cutlets!  The character artists were better than the main actors – character-wise and performance-wise. In Teen Murti, Raja Sen’s apt treatment of the change in the lives of three old men with dialogues full of punch added a frothy touch to a very significant story. There is a scene where one of them, Nagen, who has an eye for young girls, readies to sit down and have tea with a group of giggling teenagers trying to pull his leg; the second old man Naren immediately asks the third one Nobin to come away from the kitchen and swap roles with the glad-eyed Nagen. The best thing about the story was that it was character-centric and the circumstances emerged out of the characters and therefore, flowed naturally and did not appear to have been imposed. The three protagonists were etched out in sharp lines with their shades of grey. The characters were practical, drawn, as if from real life. Nagen loved to wear a cap but his wife, a perennial nag, would not let him.

In this scenario, Natobar Not Out with its dose of magic realism, its abundance of strange characters who appear to step out of the woodwork just to make us laugh, promises to spell out entertainment with a capital ‘E’. There is a whole bunch of funny characters enacted by the best talents in the industry. Ramaprasad Banik who plays Natobar’s father, hates his son’s passion for poetry. But when he hears that the son’s book of poems is to be printed, he begins to practice his autograph! Kharaj Mukherjee plays Bolai, the comic ‘relief’ in this fun film! He is perennially drunk but his para boys love him while his loud wife nags him all the time. Kaushik Ganguly plays Tribhuvan, the head of the ad agency Natobar joins as a jingle writer and makes magic. But Tribhuvan has another passion – he hogs fruit all the time! With Debajyoti’s hummable, lilting music score, Natobar Not Out might begin with striking three sixers in a row, who knows?   And perhaps reduce the demand for glycerine for some time at least!

Shoma A. Chatterji

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