Kolkata, 12 Feb 2018 19:02 IST
Witty dialogues, slapstick humour and excellent performances make this comedy-cum-critique a ride worth the time.
Satrajit Sen’s debut film Michael is an entertaining comedy with some brilliant performances. The film essentially rides on slapstick situations and witty dialogues written by Padmanava Dasgupta that evoke laughter while criticizing the present film scenario without getting too preachy.
The story revolves around Michael Khan Sen (Mir Afsar Ali), an amateur theatre director and office clerk who dreams of becoming a famous filmmaker. He is regularly scorned by his wife Shinjini (Swastika Mukherjee) for his daydreaming. One day he loses his job for lying to his boss about Shinjini’s pregnancy to get early leave to rehearse for his play, Romeo Juliet.
A Facebook post leads him to producer Anir Dutta (Arijit Dutta) and Michael convinces him of his ability to direct a film. Incidentally, at the same time police inspector Tina (Arunima Ghosh), who often locks up Michael for being a lookalike of Mir Afsar Ali, introduces him to veteran actor Mayurbahon Chatterjee (Soumitra Chatterjee).
From here on, the film focuses on Michael’s efforts to make the dream film in spite of losing producers repeatedly and the incessant trouble of directing the aged yet charismatic Mayurbahon Chatterjee.
On his journey, Michael loses some of his closest relations but also makes friends who are ready to make sacrifices to achieve a dream together.
Michael, the film, establishes that director Satrajit Sen not only wants to tell the story of an ambitious man but also wants to ensure that the audience is thoroughly entertained. While the first half is replete with comic scenes, it does get monotonous at times. However, the intensity of the plot in the second half brings the film back on its feet.
Sen has intentionally added shades to the characters of Michael, Mayurbahon, Meher Khanna (Tonushree Chakraborty), Bhaja Da (Kanchan Mallick) and Michael’s assistant Rani (Sayani Dutta) to make them appear comic. While Michael’s attempt to justify his carelessness towards his wife by drawing up references of legends from the film industry creates hilarious moments of slapstick comedy, there are also elements of characterization and punch lines that are subtly adult in content.
The hilarity and absurdity of the films that Michael Khan Sen attempts to make with all his focus and might critiques the present trend of making pseudo-intellectual films. It also throws light on the politics that often brings such films to the limelight but makes sure not to underestimate the power of the audience as well.
Soumitra Chatterjee delivers an outstanding performance as the aged yet charismatic Mayurbahon who believes in living life to the brim. His portrayal retains the grace of the character who is always ready to have a good time with young ladies or a chat over drinks, if not pass out on drugs. Chatterjee successfully etches out an adorable image that surpasses his on-screen image and reflects on the off-screen person that he is.
Mir Afsar Ali, known for his hilarious and witty anchoring in both television and radio shows, excels in bringing out the various shades in Michael Khan Sen. He is natural in the comic moments and dramatic in the others. He creates laugh-out-loud and emotionally charged moments with equal ease.
Arunima Ghosh dramatically brings out the tenderness in the 'bold cop' act with a sense of warmth. Both Swastika Mukherjee as Michael’s realistic and dejected wife and Tonushree Chakraborty as his supportive and generous girlfriend deliver winning performances. Kanchan Mallick is naturally hilarious as Bhaja Da and Sayani Dutta exploits her potential well.
Though the background score does not add much to the drama of the film, Indrajit Dey’s compositions and the renditions of Rekha Bhardwaj, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Timir Biswas, Madhubanti Bagchi and Robica Chaudhuri definitely elevate the plot at certain points.
Michael is an honest film on dreams, good intentions and human relationships. In this comedy caper the protagonist from a lower social background emerges victorious with his humour and tactics, and initiates a revolution. Here, the attempt to bring a change through the fulfilment of a dream is achieved with a collective effort, with the protagonist Michael at the centre.