Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guerrilla – A good scream for recognition

I first heard about the Bangladeshi movie Guerrilla after it won the best Asian film award at the 17th Kolkata Film Festival (KFF). Admitted, I don’t take special effort to be in tuned with the visual arts produced in my home country, primarily because vast majority simply fails to impress me at very basic level. Still, every now and then I get very enthusiastic and go out of my way to find movies and dramas that the experts recommend and watch until I am disappointed enough to slide back into my regular (but vastly unrelated) Hollywood productions.
Anyway, awards are a great attention catcher, especially for people like me. A devoted movie lover all it needs to pull me into a movie is some sort of promise of a reasonably well made movie – crap story? No worries. Unknown actors? Who cares? Descent making? Hats up. I am in. Monpura was okay. I liked it. Nothing since then. I might have missed some, unlikely but possible considering the experts I am fortunate to be acquainted with.   

Let’s see, how Guerrilla held ground.

After kids went to bed, Mili and I settled on a sofa in my reading room, cozily, and started the on line movie. The print was exceptionally good. On a 22 inch monitor things might have looked slightly smaller than usual but not to the level of annoyance. Neither of us knew what to expect. An award does set a movie apart from others but KFF is not known to be a movie competition (this was the first time the category Best Asian Film was introduced and 12 movies competed). Nevertheless, we were hopeful, eagerly and desperately wanted it to be great.

For the people who haven’t watched this movie yet, it tells the story of one Bilkis, a young wife of a journalist who disappears as the war breaks out in 1971 between suppressed East Pakistan and the dominant West Pakistan. Bilkis eventually joins the freedom movement and actively collaborates with the freedom fighters. A movie of length 140 minutes, it was able to sustain a good pace and continued to pull our attention to the end. On a high level, we both enjoyed it. It was well made, well acted, the sincere effort to ensure credibility of the events and location was laudable and noticeable. The best part was, the story followed Bilkis and not necessarily the independence of Bangladesh (previously East Pakistan) making it a character driven visual gala instead of a theme driven one.
On a more detail level, not everything worked with equal aptitude. Here are my sincere observations:

Story: Works. In some areas it looked little disintegrated but overall is tied together in a way that does not disturb the continuity of the events as the viewer follows Bilkis to the end.

Acting: Most did a reasonably descent job with a few notable ones:
             Joya Ahsan as Bilkis is credible, natural, however there was some room for improvement.  
             Shatabdi Wadud as Captain Shamsad / Major Sarfaraj is definitely gives an above average effort in portraying a difficult set of characters (especially knowing that he was just pretending to be the enemy). Truly enjoyed his acting.
             The freedom fighters do not stand out in the acting category; the chemistry between the team was not very strong either. Pijush Bandyopaddhay looked quite ordinary, A.T.M Shamsuzzaman barely fits, Shampa Reza unimpressive.

Few points to note:

  • Liked: Story
  • Liked: Joya Ahsan and Shatabdi Wadud for their acting
  • Liked: Details of the location and events
  • Disliked: Mixing normal spoken Bengali with local dialect within the same dialogue. It is almost painful. Either stick to the normal spoken Bengali or pick an appropriate local dialect that fits the characters.
  • Disliked: Most of the songs. They are great songs in their own merit but feels imposing within the movie.

Final comment: My favorite Bangladeshi movie after Surjo Dighol Bari (1980’s).

Directed by Nasir Uddin Yousuff
Produced by Esha Yousuff
Written by Syed Shamsul Huq
Starring Joya Ahsan , Ferdous Ahmed, Shampa Reza, Ahmed Rubel, A.T.M. Shamsuzzaman
Music by Shimul Yousuf
Release date(s) April 14, 2011
Running time 140 min.
Country Bangladesh
Language Bengali
Budget 30 Million Tk (Bangladeshi taka)
Written By Sayed Shamsul Haque ( Nishiddho Loban)
Produced by Impress Telefilm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great review. I liked the movie very much as well. Please write about other movies too.