Driven by solid performances, this is a terrific suspense thriller with shades of black comedy
Rony Patra -
What is the story about?
Shafiq Ansari, a poet-turned-drug dealer, and Samir, a drug addict who regularly buys from him, are caught in the crosshairs of a crooked cop one night. As he forces them to drive around Dhaka and plays mind games with them, he also refuses to hand them over to the police. What exactly does he want?
Anyone familiar with Bangladeshi content in the last few years would know that the Bangladeshi media industry has mastered the art of churning out quality natoks or telefilms which are then broadcast on television channels. The storylines are often compact and will remind Indian viewers of the erstwhile Star Bestsellersthat used to be broadcast on Star Plus. This approach to storytelling suits them in the age of OTT, as platforms are increasingly looking for content that is not too long but is engaging enough.
Director Abrar Athar, in collaboration with writer Ayman Asib Shadhin, crafts a twisty, knotted suspense thriller that constantly keeps you guessing about the end game. This is a script that is not afraid to flaunt its influences—from the Coen Brothers to Sriram Raghavan—and Athar adopts a number of stylistic flourishes, such as dividing the 50-minute runtime into various chapters, the breaking of the fourth wall by one of the protagonists and so on. There are terrific stretches of black comedy—the teen patti sequence is brilliantly done—and the performances are top-notch. A character sings Celine Dion's iconic track from Titanic, while another character recites a poem. There is so much colourful language strewn throughout the narrative, and yet they somehow add to the crazy charm of this suspense thriller. Overall, this is a terrific debut for ZEE5's Bangladesh team.
There are three performers in the film for the most part, and they pitch in with sharp, edgy performances. Afran Nisho is superb as the trigger-happy cop who keeps everyone guessing about his agenda. Shamol Mawla is dependable as the poet-turned-drug dealer Shafiq Ansari, and it is a hoot to watch him recite one of his own poems in front of the cop. But it is Sariful Razz, as Samir, the addict constantly in search of a fix, who ultimately steals the show.
Music & Other Departments
Arafat Mohsin's score lends a sense of dread to the proceedings, where you don’t know what is going to happen next. Tahsin Rahman's cinematography captures the sinister side of nocturnal Dhaka very well, while Anis Masud's editing is top-notch.
The twist at the end is very well-delivered and does not appear forced. It’s the perfect conclusion to the topsy-turvy night.
This is definitely not for family audiences. Also, the crooked cop's backstory is not explored at all.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes. I love the various turns the story takes.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. This is a solid little suspense thriller and a reminder that a good film can be made even in under an hour.