PRATIDWANDI (2010) Bengali Movie Review: Rahul-Priyanka

Pratidwandi Rahul and Priyanka Sarkar
Pratidwandi Rahul and Priyanka Sarkar

September 28, 2010, Kolkata (Calcutta Tube): PRATIDWANDI is a 2010 Bengali Film directed by Anup Sengupta starring  Ranjit Mullick, Dipankar Dey, Rajatava Dutta, Rahul, Priyanka and others. Read the Critic’s review for Bengali Movie Pratidwandi at Calcutta Tube.

Cast and Crew:

  • Banner: GDJ Films
  • Produced and presented by: Arup Chatterjee
  • Direction: Anup Sengupta
  • Music: Ashok Bhadra
  • Lyrics: Gautam Susmit
  • Story and dialogue: Manjil Banerjee
  • Cast: Ranjit Mullick, Dipankar Dey, Rajatava Dutta, Rahul, Priyanka, Arun Banerjee, Piya Dasgupta, Anamika Saha
  • Rating: 4/10


Pratidwandi Ranjit Mullick
Pratidwandi Ranjit Mullick

Anup Sengupta is a veteran filmmaker who is one of the most successful directors in mainstream Bengali cinema. He is also very prolific when he wants to be, getting several films released within the short span of a year. His films are filled with all the ingredients that a commercial film demands from action to item numbers to melodrama and family values. For Pratidwandi, he decided to borrow heavily from the Ajay Devgun-Vidya Balan starrer Halla Bol released a couple of years ago. The title Halla Bol interestingly, was borrowed from the late activist-playwright-theatre person Safdar Hashmi who was battered to death by members of a political party while he was presenting Halla Bol, a street play that raised a powerful voice against some violent factions of a leading political party.

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Pratidwandi takes off from Halla Bol but chooses to be different in the beginning. We see Iqbal Khan (Ranjit Mullick) gathering the youngsters of a village to present a street play called Joy Bangla to express mass rebellion against the ruling politics of the village where electricity is promised but never given, where water is conspicuous by its absence, where the dismal condition of the roads lead to frequent accidents and where even a woman in advanced pregnancy is forced to deliver on her way to the nearest public hospital miles away from the village. Debu (Rahul), a no-good young man, is the hero of the street play and Iqbal Khan is very fond of him.

Watch Bengali Film Song EKTU KACHE AASA from PRATIDWANDI


Pratidwandi Ranjit Mullick and Piya Dasgupta
Pratidwandi Ranjit Mullick and Piya Dasgupta

From this point on, the script washes its hands off the issue-based focus and moves on with the dreams and aspirations of Debu who wants to make it in films. Iqbal Khan accompanies him to Kolkata and with his help and support, Debu becomes the reigning superstar Akash Kumar, almost overnight after the release of his first film. He marries his lady love Sharmila (Priyanka), brings his parents to his spacious home but changes from a simple man with big dreams to an arrogant, self-indulgent and selfish man without human feelings. The story therefore, is more about Akash than about Iqbal Khan though he actually is the hero of this film. Like in Halla Bol and in umpteen other Hindi formula films, Pratidwandi soon brings in the Jessica Lal tragedy more to bring Debu-Akash to his senses than to see that justice is delivered. Justice is not delivered at the court so once again, it is Iqbal Khan’s turn to covert the entire incident into a street play. The film rapidly begins to climb down from the sort of semblance it had been able to establish till then. Akash takes part in the street play to draw the attention of the public to the injustice done to a poor girl who has been raped and killed by the home minister’s son and his friends and her family held on ransom by the home minister Shankar Ghoshal (Rajatava Dutta) who is very proud that he never spits out the juice of his paan because it leaves a stain behind!

Pratidwandi Ranjit Mullick and Rahul
Pratidwandi Ranjit Mullick and Rahul

For a change, it is a pleasant surprise to find Dipankar De in a positive role as the determined and honest police commissioner. Ranjit Mullick steals the show from under the noses of young actors like Rahul and Raja Chatterjee. Rahul, who got ample scope to prove his histrionic skills in the film hams his way through the second half, shouting and screaming and making more sound than sense. Priyanka as his girlfriend-turned wife is mature, sensitive and soft. Arun Banerjee and Anamika Saha as Debu’s parents are in control. Piya Dasgupta as the justice-seeking eldest sister of the rape victim vacillates between control and melodrama but the character is etched that way. Rajatava Dutta is okay in parts but tends to overact in others.

Ashok Bhadra’s musical score reminds one of not-very-old Hindi hits though the songs, thankfully, are sparsely used. The subject Anup chose or was inspired by was good. But his treatment of the subject leaves room for improvement. The film unfolds quite well in the first half but begins to lose ground rapidly in the second.

Shoma A. Chatterji

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