Kolkata, 01 Apr 2018 9:00 IST
Is looking down upon the culture of Mumbai and of NRIs the right way to enhance Bengaliness?
Ghare And Baire is Mainak Bhowmick’s first rom-com and it fails miserably to live up to expectations.
The urban Bengali songs and fresh look of the trailer with ample colours in it had made audiences eager for a feel-good film that would slake their thirst for romance.
Instead, the lack of twists and intensity in the plot allow the audience to take hardly anything away when exiting the theatre.
Granted that the director wanted to pay tribute to his favourite romantic comedies such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), it is still hard to justify the predictability of the plot, with the exception of one revelation in the climax. Actually, for large parts of its runtime, the film appears to be following no storyline at all.
Since the trailer promised a happy ending, the director should have at least thought of a few unexpected changes to keep the audience glued to the seats. Except for a few comic moments, owned by Biswanath Basu, the film is filled with sequences lacking sense and originality.
Ghare And Baire is the story of childhood best friends Labanya (Koel Mallick) and Amit (Jisshu Sengupta). As they grow up, their love for music prompts them to form a band, which they name Ghare And Baire. However, for some inexplicable reason, Amit leaves the city. Three years later, he returns to finalize a project and attend the wedding of a common friend (Aparajita Adhya).
Upon reaching Kolkata, Amit learns that Labanya, too, is engaged to a rich NRI (Joy Sengupta). On the insistence of another common friend Montu (Basu), he decides to tell Labanya he loves her.
Amit is actually quite scared of Labanya and fails repeatedly at proposing to her. The rest of the plot is about the journey to their union.
Bhowmick spoke about the emphasis on Bengaliness and music as a bond between the protagonists in the film. Is looking down upon the culture of Mumbai and of NRIs a proper way to enhance Bengaliness? The director could have avoided that stance. Instead, he could have taken ample references from Bengali literature and films and applied them to his storyline to associate with the nostalgia of the protagonists’ friendship.
Apart from the songs and a few flashbacks of discussions about the band and writing songs, music does not really play any role in adding to the chemistry between Labanya and Amit. Rather than incorporating mindless buffoonery, Bhowmick should have paid more attention to fulfilling his promise to highlight the role of music in building up the plot.
The look of the film and of the characters is presented as quite modern, yet the content of the film is not. Too much thrust on the idea of getting married and Labanya’s mother’s exaggerated eagerness to arrange her tomboyish daughter’s marriage to an unknown NRI at any cost only makes the film lose relevance.
Though Labanya is a music therapist, while conducting her sessions, she only delivers lectures about the importance of music therapy. Her efforts at fulfilling her mother’s dreams against her heart’s will are acceptable; however, covering up never-ending lies told by her mother just for the sake of the script does not seem quite apt.
Koel Mallick is good when her character is snubbing Amit or being stubborn, not when she needs to disclose her more tender self.
According to the script, Amit is timid and struggles to express himself. His funny side is both enjoyable and nonsensical. Some of his decisions are too childish and unrealistic for a man his age. Jisshu Sengupta mostly gets into his character of a simpleton but overdoes it at times.
Biswanath Basu is consistent as a chap who does not care for the world and speaks to his heart’s content. In the entire film, his character is the only one that seems to be complete in itself.
The depiction of Labanya’s NRI fiancé is cliched and comical only in some moments. The actress who plays her mother delivers a decent performance as an insecure and materialistic housewife.
The appointment of detectives to secure information about both the marriage parties could have been made more dramatic. The dialogues in the film are flawed and the camera work is not very remarkable. The songs, though not really essential in various sequences, stand out on their own.
A little originality in establishing the climax does not save the film from turning into an arduous journey. The history of the band Ghare And Baire is not clear and till the end we never learn why Amit suddenly left. Neither is the chemistry between him and Labanya established; till the end, they appear mere friends. The animated beginning of the film actually seems rather amateurish.
What a pity that a filmmaker like Bhowmick, who has delivered so many entertaining films, could not get a better plot that would have brought out the complexities of modern urban life and, at the same time, the gradual progress of a romantic comedy.