Durgeshgorer Guptodhon movie review: Dhrubo Banerjee delivers another enjoyable adventure thriller
Durgeshgorer Guptodhon is not a film that will take your breath away, but it’s consistently watchable and is bound to leave you satisfied.
After giving us the surprisingly delicious Guptodhoner Sandhane last year, director Dhrubo Banerjee returns with a sequel to his popular debut film with another adventure titled Durgeshgorer Guptodhon. Like his previous film, this one too tells the adventurous story of the trio, who has by now captured the imagination of Bengali audiences, both young and old. Flavoured in a dizzying marinade of history and lore, and garnished with ample doses of puzzles, riddles, ciphers and hidden codes, it is one of the more intelligent Bengali films in recent times. The puzzles seem neither fake nor forced, the clues are in fact quite exciting to decode, and the overall breezy nature of the storytelling ensures that even the strictest of critics have a jolly good time. I know I did.
As with the previous film, this one too begins with the narration of a bloody chapter of the history of Bengal – the murder of Jagat Seth, one of the richest businessmen and money lenders in the country, by the troops of Mir Qasim, when the latter chanced upon some suspicious correspondence between Seth and Robert Clive. Fearing that he would be next in line to be persecuted, Seth’s close friend Raja Krishna Chandra Ray took all the treasure that Jagat Seth had entrusted him with before his death and hid it in an undisclosed location. Cut to more than 200 years later, when a silver dagger is stolen from an erstwhile nobleman’s household in rural Bengal, and the dagger somehow finds its way to the city of Kolkata, where our very own Sona-da (or Professor Subarna Sen– a professor of History at Oxford University) gets entangled in the case by sheer chance. Accompanied by Abir and Jhinuk, he travels to the village from where the dagger had been stolen, and soon realises that the dagger – quite literally – might be the key to the vast treasure of Jagat Seth.
To everyone who has grown up on a staple diet of treasure hunting stories, Dhrubo Banerjee’s film will come across as a welcome change from the regular cinema that we usually get to watch in this industry. The popularity of this genre is quite evident from the slew of treasure hunt films that already have or are about to hit the silver screen soon. And not without good reason, I might add. Who can deny the thrill of inching closer and closer to an unimaginably vast treasure from a lost era of history by cracking one puzzle after another by way of clues? Or to deal with the innumerable and perilous obstacles on the way? Durgeshgorer Guptodhon offers all these, and more. And it does so in a style that does not tacky at all. There’s a Dan Brown feel to it all, and there are bits and pieces of Feluda and Indiana Jones thrown in too. Banerjee must have been brought up on a steady diet of stories on all three of these fictional characters.
But despite such shades and inspirations, not for one moment does his film stand out as a copycat. With all its flaws, it is easy to see that the heart of the film in the right place, and that its intentions are sincerer. The hard work – and even the imagination – behind it all is clearly evident. Of course, one can’t entirely ignore the fact that the film is not coherent enough, or that it ought to have been scripted and executed better. But even then, it deserves full marks for two things – effort and creativity.
The performances are quite decent. Abir Chatterjee may not have been accepted well as Feluda by Bengali audiences, but he is absolutely on bulls-eye for Sona-da. He oozes enough intelligence for us to accept him as our hero. The only bone I want to pick with is his good-natured bantering with his nephew Abir. It does come across as a bit frivolous at times, and doesn’t quite go well with his usually reserved character. Having said that, there are certain scenes in the film – ones in which certain members of a family hosting him are being rude to him – in which he steals the show with his acting. Arjun Chakraborty and Ishaa Saha play Abir and Jhinuk respectively, and they are both exceptionally talented actors. I had liked Arjun a bit more in the first film but that could perhaps be because I was pleasantly surprised with his wit. In this film, I was expecting him to be brilliant, and he just about got there. Still, a commendable effort. Ishaa did quite well herself and was more than just a pretty face tagging along. Honestly though, I wish Banerjee would put her in the centre of the story in his next film – she is a very talented actress.
The rest of the cast – including the ever-smiling Lily Chakraborty, the grumbling Kaushik Sen, the jolly Kharaj Mukhopadhyay and even young Aryan Bhowmik all play their roles beautifully. The music by Bickram Ghosh will bring back fond memories of the Bengal countryside and the lyrics have special relevance to the story of the film. By now, we have seen such mind-boggling visual effects in films that the ones in this one pale out by comparison, but one must remember that this is a local industry with small budgets and what they have pulled off within the bounds of limited means is actually quite commendable.
Overall, I had a good time watching Dhrubo Banerjee’s Durgeshgorer Guptodhon. It’s not a film that will take your breath away, but it’s consistently watchable and is bound to leave you satisfied.
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