Kolkata, 23 Jun 2019 12:07 IST
For the most part, the sequences seem to have been written for the sake of cracking jokes, most of which are not witty.
There is a difference between making an entertaining comedy and merely weaving together a few slapstick comedy routines with regressive content that takes away even the positive aspects of a mostly lame storyline.
Birsa Dasgupta’s Bibaho Obhijaan: Saat Paake Dhaadha, written by Rudranil Ghosh, only manages to deliver a few hilarious moments, probably by fluke, amidst the regressive and tiring moments it repeatedly offers throughout.
Rudranil Ghosh’s comedy act seems monotonous now. Probably there is a thought that he can carry a comedy film solely on his shoulders with his predictable comic timing and caricaturish expressions which we have already seen in numerous other films.
The film's plot is not original. Two husbands exhausted by their wives’ obsessive nature decide to take a taste of 'freedom', only to get into trouble.
Like many other films of its kind, Bibaho Obhijaan is heavily dependent on dialogue. However, for the most part, the sequences seem to have been written for the sake of cracking jokes, most of which are not witty, rather than lending spontaneity to the dialogues according to the flow of the plot.
Rajat (Ghosh) is married to Maya (Sohini Sarkar), who is obsessed with performing rituals, watching Bengali mega serials and following the various superstitions that are part and parcel of these serials. Rajat used to be a debating champion known for his knowledge of science. Now his wife jeopardizes his reputation by tying threads in the name of several gods on different parts of his body.
However, Rajat’s character shows no evidence of rationality. He doesn’t even have the voice to speak against his wife’s apparently stupid ideals.
On the other hand, Maya’s character is generalized. She comes from a village, finds it a sin to question her husband’s character, and dresses as the characters in the television soaps do. She is apparently dumb and naïve. Her character becomes more problematic because, towards the climax, almost all of her traits are justified.
Rajat’s best buddy Anupam (Ankush Hazra) is married to Riya (Nusraat Faria). The problems in Riya’s character surpass those of all others. She is shown to be a feminist and makes her working husband do all the work at home, including cooking, while claiming to be a revolutionary and doing nothing.
It is hard to understand what kind of definition of feminism or revolutionary mindset Dasgupta and Ghosh are trying to project through such a characterization. Had the approach been sarcastic, the character would have made sense, but in the film, Riya seems to have no grounds and again, towards the climax, her so-called independent thought process is proved to be of no use.
Rajat and Anupam cannot take the pressure of complying with their wives’ wishes any more and so decide to go on a vacation, lying to their respective bosses at office and to their wives as well.
However, they land in trouble when they decide to put up at a cheap hotel near a station and the place is raided by the police. The police chase Rajat and Anupam thinking them to be a gay couple and they are obliged to get into a bus towards Tarapith. The entire chase sequence is shot well and hilarious, but again the police calling them ‘Ho’ and ‘Mo’ and targeting them for that reason makes you cringe.
There are various such regressive sequences, including one of Anupam’s birthday party where he is turned into a puppet by Riya and her so-called feminist friends. At the same time, one of Riya’s friends is shown to be an opportunist exploiting her stance as a liberated woman.
The newly married couple in the bus our duo boards is overdramatic and funny. The conversation between the old man, who recognizes Rajat, and the latter is hilarious as well. But the entry of Sandy Saha was unnecessary and his caricature as a gay man falling over men in the bus is quite regressive.
The bus is eventually captured by dacoit Bullet Singh (Anirban Bhattacharya), who stammers and talks in rhyme. His demands are weird and he treats all the captured passengers with lavish hospitality.
The rest of the plot shows how Rajat and Anupam trick Bullet Singh into not pressing them to reveal their identities and how they learn the real story that turned him into a robber.
Bullet Singh’s story is funny and his climax appears appropriate as well. However, Rajat and Anupam have a predictable and melodramatic ending to their journey and no resolution comes out of their reunion with their wives.
It is relatively easier to sit through till the interval of the film; however, the second half is tedious. It is quite tiring to just wait for lames jokes and caricatures in the second half as the storyline in itself is hardly engaging or dramatic.
Also, throughout the film, the sequences dedicated to the sponsors are simply hard to digest.
Ghosh undoubtedly manages to create some hilarious moments with his convincing expressions and dramatic reactions while Hazra is average. Faria seems to have enjoyed her act in the film and Sohini Sarkar does justice to her not-so-likeable character.
Anirban Bhattacharya is sometimes hilarious and absolutely insipid at certain moments. However, it is still a relief to watch him in a different avatar.
Priyanka Sarkar’s character is melodramatic and she has done full justice to it, heightening her emotions and expressions in her brief appearance.
The only laudable aspect of the film is its cinematic part. Both Subhankar Bhar and editor MD Kalam have done a commendable job in lending the film certain motifs essential for comedy films.
The dance number 'Michhrir Dana' is full of energy and rendered well by Shreya Ghoshal. The title track is also well composed, both cinematically and in terms of tune.
Bibaho Obhijaan is a problematic film. It might be watched by the not-so-educated section of society and the danger lies in the masses getting fed the wrong information on feminism, superstition and objectifcation of women.
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