September 29, 2010, Kolkata (Calcutta Tube): PREM BY CHANCE is a 2010 Bengali film starring Koel Mullick and Abir Chatterjee in lead roles directed by Abhijit Guha and Sudeshna Roy. Enjoy the complete Bengali movie review for PREM BY CHANCE at CALCUTTATUBE.
Cast and Crew:
- Cast: Koel Mullick, Abir Chatterjee, Dipankar De, Locket Chatterjee, Biswajeet Chakraborty, Arijit Dutta, Manoj Mitra, Dwijen Banerjee, Tanima Sen, Phalguni Chatterjee, Rumki Chatterjee and others.
- Producers: M.K. Media Pvt. Ltd.
- Story and direction: Abhijit Guha and Sudeshna Roy
- Cinematography: Manoj Misra
- Music: Rupankar
- Editing: Sujoy Dutta Roy
- Art direction: Ajoy Chakraborty
- Date of release: September 24 2010
- Rating: 7/10
Prem By Chance Film Review: GOOD MASALA – NOT BY CHANCE
Love happens just like that. There is nothing planned about it nor can any logic explain it. The laws of mathematics do not work when love blooms between two young people who do not even realise that they are softening towards each other till there is no holding back. But the unwritten laws of chemistry do when the invisible magic wand waves itself around the unsuspecting heads of Raju (Abir Chatterjee) and Annapoorna (Koel Mullick). This is the basic philosophy Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha’s first, full-blooded mainstream Bengali film tries to perpetuate. There is nothing very original abut this theory. It has been battered to death in umpteen Bollywood hits such as Pyar To Hona Hi Tha, Love Story, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai in different permutations and combinations. But it is the true-blooded, fully fleshed out Bengali spirit the director-duo has managed to soak the film with that makes all the difference. It works on the attraction of pure opposites thrown together ‘by chance.’
Listen to Uri Uri Hoy Mon Ghuri from PREM BY CHANCE BENGALI FILM
The film opens on a huge, noisy crowd moving towards the nearest river bank for the immersion of Goddess Kali. A Big Bad Rich Boy Shanu (Suman) steps out of his car and begins a fight with the group led by Raju, a ne’er-do-well but good-hearted young man whose muscles are ready to go and whose head is no cooler than the Rich Bad Boy’s. The sophisticated and upbeat Annapoorna is Shanu’s girlfriend, or so she believes. But at the last minute, he refuses to go along to her village Rasulpur where her strict father Biswanath (Biswajit Chakraborty) has arranged her marriage with his friend’s brother, the terrible Bijoy (Arijit Dutta). On another chance encounter with Raju, she requests him to pretend to be Shanu and present himself to her extended family. The ‘family’ reminds us of a low-decibel and less exaggerated version of the Ekta Kapoor serials where Bengali housewives of different ages seem to walk out of the woodwork. But the assortment of women make it amusing and therefore, entertaining.
Though the film is basically a love story, the director-duo rightly have played down the romantic angle to bring out the action angle, the extended family angle with characters of all ages, sizes and colours popping out from everywhere and the ‘Green Revolution’ angle Poorna’s father is so passionate about. The biggest USP of Prem By Chance is a tractor race. This alone should drive the audience to the theatres because urban-bred Bengalis have never even heard of a tractor race, leave alone having seen one. The race is not very important. It is the build-up to the race that is used as a strategy for Raju to warm up to the family as Biswanath, the reigning champion, has broken a leg and cannot participate. Once the race begins and the dust begins to fill the air, everyone in Poorna’s family have bet their stakes on Raju winning over the evil Bijoy. Biswanath alone has no faith in the young, city-bred boy who had probably never seen a tractor in his life. The commentary delivered off-screen in a tremulous and funny voice is hilarious and sends everyone in splits. “So much twisting and turning of the tractors is making my head turn so will someone pass on a glass of water please?” says the voice-over. “Just see folks what a factor a tractor can be,” he says another time. The voice-over informs one and all that Bijoy, the strongest contender, has just returned from the US after having learnt to drive a tractor there! You’ve guessed it – Raju takes the trophy back to Annapoorna’s family.
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The low key love expresses itself in a moving scene. A weeping Poorna who has asked Raju to run away in the middle of the night according to the agreement between them, tries to hide her tears. But Raju turns her around to face him and realises that she has been crying. He realises that they have fallen in love. But it is too late. Or, is it? The winner takes it all in Prem By Chance and it is Bomkesh Bakshi-turned-Abir Chatterjee-turned Raju who takes the cake along with the frosting, not allowing his performance to degenerate into melodrama. His speech, diction, manner of speaking, metamorphose with the shift in his location – from a Kolkata slum to an affluent village household that is cultured and decent. Koel as Annapoorna matures with every film but is a bit too loud in the beginning when she loses her cell phone in the water. Abir and Koel make wonderful screen chemistry.
Manoj Mitra as the grand old man in Poorna’s family is full of punch. Biswajit Chakraborty in a multi-layered role performs with aplomb including the scene where in bed with the fracture, he screams for his mother like a little boy, or, the scenes where, like Amrish Puri in DDLJ, cheerfully feeds the ducks. Dipankar De’s talents are not fully utilized. Nor is Tanima Sen allowed to go full blast with her comic timing. Dwijen Banerjee as Raju loving but straightforward uncle is wonderful in a brief cameo. The action scenes are well-choreographed and orchestrated, compared to the stuff dished out in the average Bengali masala film.
Rupankar’s debut as music director is very impressive. The tracks are original and fit into the changing ambience of the film. The Shib-Pujo song and dance number where everyone joins in the fun is well-choreographed. The song-and-dance scenes of Koel and Abir shot in Kerala could have been dispensed with but have been included probably for the benefit of the whistling and cat-calling front benchers. The production values are good but the spacious country home is a bit too manicured, does not look lived-in and has colour that jars. In the pre-wedding scene, so many of the young women wear red that it becomes difficult to sift the corn, sorry, the heroine, from the chaff, the rest. Monalisa as Raju’s girlfriend Rina does very well in a brief role.
Prem By Chance will probably become a big box office hit as it has all the ingredients of entertainment minus the item number. The places where it falters are – (a) the two exaggerated and unbelievable villains who fail to convince both through their characterization and through their performance, (b) the slum demolition issue the film began with but forgot to carry forward till the end and (c) the dragging closure that goes on and on and threatens never to stop. If you are looking for unabashed, unapologetic and undiluted entertainment, please don’t miss this film even by chance!
Shoma A. Chatterji