August 1, 2010, KOLKATA (Calcutta Tube): Ogo Badhu Sundari is a 2010 Bengali Film directed by Sunando Mitra starring Babul Supriyo, Sreelekha Mitra, Monami Ghosh, Haradhan Banerjee, Sabitri Chatterjee and others. Enjoy the complete Bengali movie review for OGO BADHU SUNDARI at Calcutta Tube.
Cast and Crew:
- Presented by: Gautam Kundu
- Producer: D’Silva
- Story and direction: Sunando Mitra
- Music: Bappi Lahiri
- Cast: Babul Supriyo, Sreelekha Mitra, Monami Ghosh, Haradhan Banerjee, Sabitri Chatterjee, Kharaj Mukherjee, among others.
- Date of release: September 24, 2010
- Rating: 2/10
OGO BADHU SUNDARI FILM REVIEW: HARDLY ‘SUNDAR’
Poor Uttam Kumar! If there was any way in which the information highway had access to celebrities who had gone yonder much before they were due to, then the late actor would have definitely brought a court injunction against remakes or rehashes of his films. But people down here have different ideas about celluloid tributes. Tributes are as subjective as their subjects and their makers are. So, in a country that gives its citizens the fundamental right to express themselves, one cannot blame story-writer-director Sunando Mitra if he takes it on himself to pay his tribute through a ‘tributary’ film that borrows the title of the Uttam Kumar film.
Ogo Bodhu Sundari (1981) was the title of Uttam Kumar’s last film. Though he passed away of a massive heart attack while it was being made, it remains a milestone in his wide oeuvre where he plays a hero who is a character actor, investing this role with intelligent comedy and wonderful song picturisations, thanks to the playback rendered by another talent – Kishore Kumar. Flash forward to 2010. This Ogo Bodhu Sundari has nothing to do either with Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, or the Audrey Hepburn-starring My Fair Lady or Uttam Kumar-Sumitra Mukherjee’s Ogo Bodhu Sundari. So, what is it all about? It is about a Bengali professor who was named Uttam Kumar (Babul Supriyo) by his family and has a massive Black-and-White portrait of the bespectacled Uttam Kumar gracing a central wall of his living room. He has a grandfather (Haradhan Banerjee) who, again, is a great fan of Satyajit Ray’s Feluda series of films and has decorated another wall with posters of Sonar Kella and such like.
The film opens with a tiff between Uttam Kumar and Sucharita (Sreelekha Mitra), his wife of five years who walks out in a tizzy to go back to her feminist granny (Sabitri Chatterjee). She welcomes her with open arms and promptly instigates her to file for divorce! Sucharita’s younger brother who emulates the character of Ranjit Mullick in the original film, practically lives with his brother-in-law. In connivance with the grandfather and his own girlfriend, he constructs a ‘drama’ to bring the estranged couple together. This involves a hurried trip to Santiniketan, a ‘chance’ encounter with a tribal Santhali girl Phulua (Monami Ghosh), another ‘chance’ encounter with a fat man (Kharaj Mukherjee), both of who tag along with Uttam and his brother-in-law back to Kolkata to mend fences. How Uttam Kumar never smells a rat in this whole affair remains a mystery. When Kharaj tells him that he has come down from the US to invite him to an international conference, it does not occur to Uttam Kumar that an e-mail would have done the needful! He is one Bengali professor whose I.Q raises serious questions about the validity of this intelligence test! The final straw comes when the brother-in-law reveals that the tribal girl they were trying to modernise and teach Rabindra Sangeet to is a Ph.D. in tribal history from UK! No wonder her dark make-up is very inconsistent through the film. Neither Uttam Kumar who is said to be a professor, not his brother-in-law who is a self-confessed marketing manager, is seen going out to work for a living!
There is also a marriage between a lesbian couple shown in the film. It is given such a shabby and shallow treatment that it might make all lesbians terribly angry for trivializing the issue of G and L rights across the world. So the bold attempt to depict alternate sexuality is washed away down the nearest drain. Sreelekha, a very powerful actress, gets a badly written role that does no justice to her talent. Her way of dress is much too sophisticated and modern to fit into the film’s Bengali ambience. Babul Supriyo, for all the love he keeps expressing for his wife, seems to actually enjoy her absence and hardly makes any effort to fetch her back or to crush her grandmother’s attempts to go on with legal proceedings. Monami Ghosh with her erratic make-up and the put-on Santhali accent is okay. Kharaj Mukherjee as the counterpart of the Abalakanto character in the Uttam Kumar original has been reduced to a bad joke. If Mitra imagined that in Babul Supriyo, he could pull off a beautiful celluloid merger of Uttam Kumar and Kishore Kumar, his imagination has really failed him badly. Babul simply cannot act though his songs, be they the repeat numbers of the original or the Tagore numbers, are wonderful indeed. He should stick to acting because he does not have much of a screen presence except that charming smile.
So, what gives? As is often found in contemporary Bengali cinema, Ogo Bodhu Sundari will pull viewers solely due to the performances of veteran actors like Haradhan Mukherjee, Sabitri Chatterjee and Kharaj who could have done much better had he been given a better written role. Sabitri should shed her age complex by giving up solid black wigs and loud colours in saris and kaftans. Bappi Lahiri’s musical score, though he does not need to be very original in this film, is in keeping with the spirit of the film.
All this while, the Black-and-White massive portrait of the late Uttam Kumar is forced to watch a badly caricatured tribute to him and to his last film! What is worse, even if you take away the tributary reference to the Uttam Kumar film, Ogo Bodhu Sundari falls flat on its face!
Shoma A. Chatterji