Kolkata, 01 Jun 2018 15:38 IST
The collective effort to fulfil a dying girl’s wish by overcoming petty religious sentiments and self-interest in the film, restore one's faith in humanity.
Evan Leversage from St George in southern Ontario, Canada was diagnosed with a terminal disease and was not destined to pass away before the month of December.
To fulfil his wish of experiencing Christmas, the community of St George recreated Christmas in the month of March. Evan received Christmas gifts not only from Canada, but also from around the world. The story of this extraordinary gesture of humanity was recounted in various newspapers as ‘The boy who moved Christmas’.
Like everyone, Srijit Mukherji too was moved by the news and decided to tell the story by adapting it in his own culture. The film is titled Uma.
Uma (played by Sara Sengupta) has been brought up by her father, Himadri (Jisshu Sengupta), in Switzerland. His mother Menoka (Sayantika Banerjee) left them when she was only two. Since childhood Uma has been listening to the stories of Durga puja back in Kolkata from her father, but could not attended the festival so far as she suffers from a rare, fatal disease.
Over the years, her longing to witness the festival only grows. When Himadri seeks the doctor's (Marcello Scopazzzini) permission to take Uma to Kolkata during the Durga puja festival, he is informed of Uma's depreciating condition. Uma, he is told, will not live for more than three months. Himadri, therefor, has only three months to fulfil Uma's wish.
However, it is not a simple task to recreate the grand festival. The entire city is decorated, hundreds of idols are erected and immersed with thousands of locals participating. How will Himadri organise all that?
Mukherji here turns into the master-storyteller and turns Himadri’s dreams into reality. He cleverly brings in Brahmananda Chakraborty (Anjan Dutt), a filmmaker director with a failed career. Brahamnanda is a loner as his wife (Gargi Roy Chowdhury) parted ways with him long back for his lack of attention towards her and their son.
Brahamnanda lends vision to Himadri’s dreams with his desperate wish to create one masterpiece, an alternative reality, in his life. He tries to redeem himself of destroying all his son’s dreams by fulfilling Uma’s last wish.
Needless to say, Uma is thoroughly an emotional film.
The director taken the basic story and successfully layered it with Brahmananda’s journey and the culture of Kolkata. Also, Mukherji hasn’t let go of the opportunity to connect the mission with the mythical story of Goddess Durga, who is a symbol of auspicious energy, by choosing the characters' names wisely.
At the same time, the film is predictably melodramatic, too. Along the course of the film, when Brahmananda and his entire team face challenges, the audience already knows they will soon come out of the obstacles. It is also quite apparent throughout the film that all the evil forces will eventually submit to the positive energy that is behind the massive, unprecendented project.
The sequences of a dying veteran filmmaker advising Brahmananda on the importance of telling stories and Brahmananda’s sudden discovery of Kash Phool (wild sugar cane plants that grow just before Durga puja in Bengal) are memorable cinematic moments.
Brahmananda’s clever tactics to arrange an apparently wholesome experience of Durga puja for Uma is quite novel and convincing. However, the sudden altercation between Himadri and Indra (Srijit Mukherji) before Uma lands in Kolkata seems to be quite unnecessary.
Sara Sengupta as Uma is natural throughout the film. She indeed becomes the embodiment of her dreams, innocence and subtle maturity. Jisshu Sengupta, Sara's real life father too, pours out his soul into his performance as a desperate and doting father. Srabanti Chatterjee is dramatic in her brief act and Sayantika Banerjee tries her best to stand out.
The actor who truly becomes the spirit of the film is Anjan Dutt. He is brilliant in moments of despair, frustration and determination, churning the emotions to the fullest. Dutta is definitely the backbone of Himadri’s mission, and of the film.
Rudranil Ghosh, Sujan Mukhopadhyay’s acts add to the drama of the film. Anirban Bhattacharya appears to be rather stiff as the religious fanatic villain.
Soumik Haldar’s thoughtful camerawork captures even the most subtle expressions of the characters and does full justice to the gorgeous locations of Switzerland. Editor Pronoy Dasgupta has made sure that the audiences do not miss a single heartfelt moment of the film.
While the songs 'Ure Jaak', 'Jago Uma', 'Hariye Jawar Gaan' sung and composed by Anupam Roy enhance different moods; Surangana Bandyopadhyay’s rendition of 'Alosyo' truly lifts the emotional moments in the climax. Composer Neel Dutta’s background score is not overpowering rather quite synchronous throughout the film.
Despite the melodramatic punch and a few unnecessary additions, Uma leaves the audience with a heavy heart. The collective effort to fulfil a dying girl’s wish by overcoming petty religious sentiments and self-interest in the film, restore one's faith in humanity.
Watch the films trailer below:
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