Kolkata, 14 Oct 2018 6:00 IST
Though the director delivers a simple storyline, he manages to delineate the journey of almost all the characters and keeps surprising the audience now and then.
It is apparent that the entire cast of Anindya Chattopadhyay’s Manojder Adbhut Bari had a blast while shooting for the film.
Inspired by veteran author Shirshendu Mukherjee’s story with the same title, the film primarily aims at invoking laughter more than delivering a very dramatic plot. The director does not really seem to have cared for a logical plot progression either.
The film is sometimes intentionally absurd and descriptive, replete with comic references. All the characters have certain characteristic features that are bound to come across as funny.
Though the director delivers a simple storyline, he manages to delineate the journey of almost all the characters and keeps surprising the audience now and then. At some points, the audience might even start thinking it has had enough of the laughs, but it continues to get entertained till the climax, which is quite unexpected.
The film begins with the central character Manoj (Soham Maitra) asking the author himself about a fairy tale. Then it shifts to the mansion of the erstwhile raja of a small town, the aged Gobinda Narayan Choudhuri (Soumitra Chatterjee), who is seen introducing his son Kandarpa Narayan to all his ancestors’ portraits and showing him the secret path to his hidden treasure.
However, Kandarpa soon goes missing and a search for him is launched. Also, a photo of Kadu (as Kandarpa is fondly called) vanishes from the family album, which is surprisingly found by Manoj.
Manoj is the youngest son of a crazy joint family. He firmly believes the photo is of the missing prince of their town. He also feels that he can get his hands on him soon.
On the outskirts of the town resides a gang of dreaded dacoits. They often entrap people. Though the head of the gang (Silajit Majumder) expresses his wish to sacrifice all the captured men, they are never shown to be doing so. The gang loves to terrify people in hilarious ways, often making them sing on the verge of death. Though the film is filled with twists, it primarily narrates the quest for finding the lost prince and how Manoj and the detective Borodachoron’s mission brings all the characters into it.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the way the writer has sketched all his characters. Leaving Manoj and his brother Shoroj, he has made everyone else quirky and weird. Gobinda Narayan is a miser and his family, now comprising his wife (Sandhya Roy), lives off the cowdung that is used as fuel.
Manoj’s father boasts of his memory but forgets in which class he is. One of his uncles is a mad scientist who spends his days on strange experiments in his obscure laboratory. Another uncle slaps himself hard when he misses a tune while practising music. Another funny character outside the family is Borodachoron (Bratya Basu), who is mostly entrusted with the task of finding missing cattle.
The funny dialogues, one after the other, remind one of the funny lyrics of the songs by Anindya Chattopadhyay’s band Chandrabindu. Not all of them are witty but the actors, who are mostly known for their comic timing, manage to deliver them in the funniest way.
The film creates utter chaos, following one of the patterns of a comedy film. These sequences of confusion sometimes appear to be going out of the way while the continuous punch lines at times turn some of the sequences to that of stand-up comedy shows. There are also a few sequences brought in for the sake of laughter but quite redundant in terms of the storyline.
However, while the climax appears to be extremely predictable, it turns out to be unexpectedly funny and thus the director has made sure that the audience laughs till the end despite causing a bit of irritation in the middle.
On the other hand, there are a few sequences that do not have any logical explanation; for example, the sudden collaboration of the dacoits with Manoj’s uncle.
Starting from the veteran Soumitra Chatterjee’s cynical comic behaviour to Borodachoron’s stammering confidant’s dialogue delivery, all the performances are endearing. Soham Maitra is quite natural as the only sane character in the film. Rajatabha Dutta, Bratya Basu, Sohag Sen, Silajit Majumder prove their comic timing again and again. Only Abir Chatterjee seems a little too sophisticated for his role as the lost prince and the rugged dacoit. He doesn’t match up to the level of the other cast members’ ability to invoke laughter as well.
Silajit Majumder’s background score is never overpowering; rather it enhances the entertainment quotient of the film. The background score for the appearance of Bhajahari (Rajatabha Dutta) is hilarious and different. The damaged record that keeps repeating the same line in Gobinda Narayan’s house proves the director and the music director have paid sincere attention to each department of the film.
Editor Arghyakamal Mitra and cinematographer Supriyo Dutta have done a commendable job of capturing the nuances of the expressions of each of the characters and retaining the essence of most of the scenes. The addition of animated sequences also works to render more shades to the film.
The songs 'Kaak' by Chandril Bhattacharya and 'Nuchi' by Khyada are entertaining. Aparajita Adhya fits the role of the adorable courtesan and her image goes well with the theme of the song.
Some twists in the film keep the audience glued to its seat while some are boring. Overall, the film establishes how the director has invested his energies in making a funny film and enjoyed himself in the process. Despite the fairy-tale inspiration, Chattopadhyay has also incorporated subjects like demonetization in an appropriate sequence.
Manojder Adbhut Bari is a feel-good film, worth watching once.
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