June 7, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Shotru is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Raj Chakraborty with Jeet, Nusrat Jahan, Supriyo Dutta, Biplab Chatterjee and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review at Calcutta Tube.
SHOTRU – OR JEET?
Produced by: Ashok Kumar Dhanuka and Himangshu Dhanuka
Banner: Eskay Movies
Direction: Raj Chakraborty
Dialogue: Abhimanyu Mukherjee
Music: Indradeep Dasgupta
Editing: Rabi Ranjan Maitra
Cast: Jeet, Nusrat Jahan, Supriyo Dutta, Biplab Chatterjee, Rabi Ranjan Maitra, Haradhan Banerjee, Pradip Mukherjee, Kharaj Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Dipankar Dey.
Date of release: June 3, 2011
Many years ago, in 1996, I had read a paper on the fan following of Chiranjeevi, then the superstar of Telugu cinema. There were 3000 fan associations with a membership varying between 10 and 500 members, spread across all the three regions that comprised Andhra Pradesh, all of them dedicated to Chiranjeet. He is/was not the only one. Every major hero and heroine has FAs or Fan Associations based on their popularity among the masses in the four southern states.
When I went to watch the first-day-first-show of Jeet’s new film Shotru at Bijoli cinema in the South yesterday, I suddenly recalled that old research paper by S.V. Srinivas and began to feel the same air now infecting West Bengal. The ticketed show had been fully booked by the Jeet Fan Club of Kalighat with a massive poster of the star put up above the hoardings of the film. It had a thick garland around it and the crowds outside not only shouted themselves hoarse crying out his name but also had a band in attendance, all geared up in red-and-white tee-shirts with Jeet Fan Club written on their backs. Someone here was really doing good business in tee-shirts. The craze Jeet has created among the Kolkata youth can be compared with the craze the youngsters have for his peer, Dev who reportedly also has Fan Clubs dedicated to him. Neither Uttam Kumar nor his successor Prosenjit has been able to give this third dimension to stardom in the name and style of fan associations.
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[ReviewAZON asin=”B004MS75MM” display=”inlinepost”]Tee-shirted people were everywhere, shooting out glitter from long tubes into the auditorium and on the screen. But when the film began, they slowly became quiet, only to whistle or give cat-calls in a dramatic scene. And what, pray, was Jeet doing in the film? He is Dibakar Singha, an honest police officer in a small town called Hridaypur where he lives with his father, mother, grandmother and younger sister. He calls himself a ‘lion’ who eliminates his foes. The ‘foe’ or ‘shotru’ in question here is Arjun Sarkar. He considers himself the real ‘sarkar’ or ‘government’ of Howrah where neither the State ‘sarkar’ nor the central ‘sarkar’ has any power to stop him in his nefarious activities of extorting money from people into construction, or, setting up a kidnapping industry without the government knowing about it. The Home Minister is really a nice guy who is very pleased with Dibakar’s determination to wipe out this social evil named Arjun Sarkar.
Dibakar is fleshed out so well in the script and is portrayed so brilliantly by a mature, mellow Jeet that the other characters become flat shadows and blurred images and silhouettes lost in the glare of the sun – Dibakar. The only one we remember other than Arjun Sarkar is the top police officer underplayed subtly by editor Rabi Ranjan Maitra. Even Dibakar’s father, portrayed so naturally by Dipankar Dey, fails to carve a niche. Jeet towers over the film with his powerful presence, introduced with a dramatic pre-credits scene with somersaults and a close-up of his clenched fist slowly opening out to show blood visibly gushing through his veins to his wonderfully worked-out macho biceps. His working out for months to build his eight-abs body has altered his body language, his facial expression and above all, his acting. He is very stylized in his distinct way, giving the lie to the media hype about his having assumed the persona of Chulbul Pandey aka Salman Khan in Dabangg. Dibakar is Jeet and Jeet is Dibakar, serious, solemn, fearless, confident and determined to see his foe vanquished. Supriyo Dutta, hitherto wasted away in inane roles, plays a meaty Arjun Sarkar and invests it with a freshness of appeal, hateful to the core.
Yes, there is a love angle with a new babe in the name and style of Pooja performed by Nusrat Jahan making her debut. But it seems synthetic and put-on, almost like an afterthought written into the script half-way through. The girl is very pretty and fresh but she cannot act even in a role that had every potential for her to show more than her bare shoulders in spaghetti-strap dresses and skinny legs dangling out of short skirts. No one knows from beginning to end what she does when she is not chasing handsome young men or playing stupid games with her thunder-thighs kid sister Diya. When a gunshot grazes her arm, Dibakar asks his junior to take her to hospital but does not bother to go along, determined as he is, to chase his enemy. Offbeat locales in Turkey like Istanbul, Antalya, Pamukkalle and Cappodoci were chosen to shoot the song sequences featuring Dibakar and Pooja. They are shot well but really do not jell with the seriousness of the policeman’s character even in dream scenes. The climactic fight and action shot in some remote locales in Jharkhand are touched with realism in an otherwise unreal film. The music by Indradeep Dasgupta is okay.
Shotru is a copyrighted Bengali version of the Tamil box office hit Singham in which the police officer was enacted by the heart-throb Surya Shivakumar in the original. Right now, Ajay Devgun is doing the same role in the Hindi version of the film. The dialogue by Abhimanyu Mukherjee has some imaginative and funny catch-lines that constantly draw cat-calls from the fan club members. The cinematography goes through some exciting somersaults and crazy jet-like speed scenes in keeping with the spirit of the film. But the song sequences run flat. Shotru is entertaining because it is filled with action, adventure and thrills and would have done better without the romance or with a better touch given to it. It is so escapist a fare that you forget the film as soon as you step out gingerly through the crazy crowds. Raj Chakraborty might not be able to touch you deeply with his direction. But who cares if he has the magic touch to keep the box office counters jingling away? And congrats to Jeet for justifying his second-coming with another sparkling performance.
– Shoma A. Chatterji