Doob: No Bed of Roses movie review — This Bengali film starring Irrfan Khan is a must watch

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Nov,20 2017 12:21 37 IST

4/5

In recent times, the number of films that have managed to handle the tricky subject of love outside marriage with due sensitivity can be counted on one’s fingertips. Mostafa Sarwar Farooki’s Bangla film Doob: No Bed of Roses does exactly that, and goes beyond to tackle several other subjects – of loneliness, separation and the aftermath of the death of an estranged one – all with remarkable flair.

An Indo-Bangladesh joint production, Farooki’s film is said to be based on a scandal that rocked the whole of Bangladesh.

The film’s story follows several timelines, but chief among them is the one in which a renowned film director named Javed Hasan (Irrfan Khan, in one of the best performances of his film career) finds himself embroiled in a controversy when a young and upcoming heroine working in his film admits to the media that she has developed a special friendship with him. To make matters worse, the girl in question is Hasan’s own daughter’s best friend.

Hasan tries to protect himself and his family from the resulting avalanche of media attention and national condemnation, but as his family implodes from within, he leaves his wife, daughter and son to find solace and solitude. In her most Lolita-esque turn, the actress in question sees this as an opportunity to come closer to him, and the plan works. An extremely sensitive and emotional human being by nature, Javed Hasan finds himself drawn to the young girl, and over time, ends up marrying her.

A still from Irrfan's Bengali film Doob: No Bed of Roses

While Hasan’s wife has moved on in life, his daughter has not been able to come to terms with her father’s shocking infidelity, and struggles to find her peace.

Fiercely independent and protective of both her mother and her naïve younger brother, she refuses to see her father year after year, even as he makes a point to bring her gifts. She does make peace with her repenting father, though, but it is too late by then, because Hasan has passed away. It is his death that brings his daughter back to his grave, and in a poignant scene in the climax of the film, she forgives him for what he had done to his family.

The director’s matured handling of the flow of the story is what makes Doob a beautiful watch. A lot is left to the viewer’s imagination – and therefore, interpretation.

Farooqi never quite ventures to spoon-feed us with an explanation of exactly why and how Javed Hasan reached the tipping point of leaving his family and marrying the girl who had broken his home. The human mind, with all its complexities, is simply left to itself here, the viewer encouraged to make his or her own interpretation with ample hints that could mean more things than one.

The visuals of the film are like an ever-changing landscape on a canvas – from the vast expanse of the sea, to the green fields in the suburbs where Hasan’s daughter Saberi takes her mother to celebrate her birthday, to the city of Dhaka itself, with its many colours adding to the said canvas. Every single shot is taken with great care, and one can feel the love behind the shots as the camera lingers on to let the viewers relish the aftertaste.

But the greatest feat that the film pulls is in the performances. Every single character is played brilliantly, to say the least. Nusrat Imrose Tisha plays Saberi – Javed Hasan’s estranged daughter – with a sense of angst and frustration that seems to scar her from within. In a beautiful scene, when her father looks for a glass of water in the house, Saberi refuses to come out of her room and offer it to him, but does so moments later, when her father leaves the house without finding it. It’s a simple scene, with a simple message, but it beautifully exhibits how torn she is between her love for her father and her hatred for what the man had done.

Rokeya Prachi is Maya, the director’s estranged wife – a lady who clearly known how to pick up the pieces almost as soon as they fall on the ground. She finds a job in a coaching centre and manages her own family, away from the shadow of the scandal that has destroyed her home. As Nitu, the home-breaker of the story, Parno Mitra does very little, but is commendably effective. She is clearly the villain of the piece, and she doesn’t try to cover her base emotions in the garb of superficial explanations.

Irrfan Khan is the real star of the film, though. He injects stories into every single frame that he appears in – even if he does nothing but to stare into the void with those deeply expressive eyes of his. Not since his performance in the 2013 drama The Lunchbox has he portrayed a character so beautifully. The mind of an artist – torn between the family he left behind, and the girl who is now his wife – literally opens up in front of us, as we watch him emote. The slight quiver in his voice, his impeccable diction, the uncertainty in his gait as he sees both his life and his nest slipping out of his hands – everything is a treat to watch.

Watching him on screen, one gets the distinct feeling that no one else would have been able to do justice to the role of Javed Hasan in the manner that Irrfan Khan has. In the end, it is he who makes Doob a must-watch.