What is the story about?
Shamsul Islam Chowdhury, a rich businessman in Dhaka, is busy organizing the wedding of his youngest daughter Rashna. His wife, Rasheda, decides to call all of Rashna’s siblings to come and help them in organizing the wedding. As all of them join the Chowdhury households, long-buried resentments come to the fore, until a sudden crisis forces the family to take stock of itself.
Honestly speaking, I was getting restless in the first ten minutes of this film. The family drama genre, thanks to Rituparno Ghosh, has become a part and parcel of Bengali cinema in India, and it was baffling why someone from Bangladesh would try it again. But the story, in spite of its predictable nature, settles down to a decent pace. Ashfaque Nipun is aware of his strengths and limitations as a writer and director, and he does not attempt to do something he does not fully realize. Each character in the Chowdhury household has their own resentment and crisis to deal with, and their stories are given the space to be explored, barring one or two characters.
This is also why the sudden ending rankles. After nearly 90 minutes, Nipun seems to realize he has to end the film, and he does it in a very hurried fashion that belies all the hard work put into the rest of the film. This is a film that would’ve worked better at a two-hour runtime, instead of 100 minutes. Having said that, it’s another reminder of just how much Bangladesh’s storytellers are ahead of the curve when it comes to narrating true-to-life stories.
The performances are all credible. Tariq Anam Khan and Saberi Alam are seasoned veterans, and they convey the weariness and experience of an earlier generation. Shamol Mawla does a tricky balancing job of being the Left-leaning rebel who still cares for his family, even though he tries to hide it. Runa Khan scores as the frustrated Rizwana, and she is terrific in that scene at the dining table where she breaks down about her failure as a wife while stuffing her face with cake. Yash Rohan is great as the youngest son Ridwan, who always thinks of himself as the outsider, and nearly becomes a terrorist himself. The only false notes in this drama come from Sayed Babu and Sabila Noor, who get saddled with the ill-written characters of Rizwan and Rashna.
Music & Other Departments
Tanveer Anzum’s cinematography is alright, for what is essentially a chamber drama. Romzan Ali’s editing is good. However, Arafat Mohsin Nidhi could have used a sparser background score. There are a number of scenes where his score takes away the punch from the proceedings because it feels out of place in those moments.
The scenes between Rayhan and Rashna, where both discuss the need to get away from the suffocating hold of their house, look very natural, and are well-enacted by Mawla and Noor.
The background score is the biggest drawback. For instance, there’s a particular scene at the dining table where the patriarch rebukes Rayhan for not being there for the family. After Rayhan gets up and leaves in a huff, there is an awkward pause, after which Rizwana starts talking about a particular episode involving dog meat. Rizwana’s monologue is supposed to be comic relief, but it would’ve been served better by the absence of a score.
The rushed ending is also a sore point. Just when you think the entire story is building up for a nice concluding arc, the entire film wraps up all its conflicts via voiceover and montages in 5-6 minutes. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Did I enjoy it?
It is enjoyable for the most part.
Do I recommend it?
This can always be watched with family once.