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Review Bengali

Aay Khuku Aay review: A melodramatic tale of a father and daughter's struggle with poverty

Release Date: 17 Jun 2022

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

Actress Ditipriya Roy and Indranil Mukherjee’s cinematography shine in this outdated film by Souvik Kundu.

Souvik Kundu’s film Aay Khuku Aay tells the story of an impoverished man Nirmal (Prosenjit Chatterjee) and his teenage daughter Buri (Ditipriya Roy), who struggle to make ends meet.

Nirmal is ridiculed as “Teko [Bald] Prosen” by his acquaintances as he used to try to get by impersonating his idol Prosenjit Chatterjee on stage.

The ageing Nirmal’s ability to earn declines and hence, Buri is compelled to run the household. Despite her hardships, she holds on tight to her dream of becoming a dancer. Nirmal, however, is embittered by his experiences and forbids her from dancing. When he finally relents, a nationwide lockdown is imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

By then the family hits rock bottom financially. In their desperation to make a living, Buri ends up getting exploited. Nirmal pledges to restore his daughter’s honour, but he is up against powerful forces.

The trailer already revealed that Prosenjit Chatterjee appears as a version of himself in the film and narrates Nirmal’s story. Throughout the film, it appears as if Chatterjee has a great deal of affection for Nirmal whom he meets in one of his shows, and was always there for him in tough times. However, the ending seems puzzling when the actor refers to Nirmal as just another one of the characters he has played in his career.

Instead of starkly depicting how poverty robs people of an honourable life, the director has loaded the film with maudlin sequences, and towards the end, the melodrama becomes unbearable when Nirmal begins to steal people’s phones because his daughter’s life was ruined because of a phone.

Chatterjee is meek in his body language when he plays the defeated artiste but when he is enraged, he evokes the vengeful hero from 1990s Bengali films with his expressions.

The confident Roy consistently matches up to Chatterjee’s dramatic performance and commanding screen presence. Her heart-wrenching expressions make the eyes moist too. But why does her character, a small-town underprivileged girl, use English words in every sentence?

While the rest of the supporting actors are entertaining, Sohini Sengupta seems way too theatrical in her portrayal of a corrupt politician.

Indranil Mukherjee’s cinematography successfully turns the location into a character in itself, but editor Sujay Datta Ray has failed to clear away the confusion in the screenplay.

Though the romantic songs, ‘Premer Golpo Lekh’ and ‘Ebhabeo Preme Pora Jay’, composed by Savvy Gupta and Ranajoy Bhattacharjee respectively, are featured briefly, they are soothing and bring relief amidst the overdose of melodrama.

The screenplay lends the film the feel of unrealistic Bengali television serials at times, and Debajyoti Mishra’s schmaltzy background score in sad sequences also contributes largely to this.

The film will only appeal to a section of the audience that is fond of watching melodramatic emotional content because its dated story hardly contains any thought-provoking element. However, it confirms Roy’s potential as a future mainstream star.

Aay Khuku Aay was released in theatres across West Bengal on 17 June.


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