Ke Tumi Nandini movie review: Pathikrit Basu's film is an illogical mess with no redeeming quality
If Fidaa was watchable, for nothing else but the fact that it was unintentionally funny, Ke Tumi Nandini is just not worth your time
castRupsha Mukherjee, Bonny Sengupta, Aparajita Auddy, Shankar Chakraborty, Sayantani Guhathakurta, Sourav Das, Saayoni Ghosh
After directing the singularly ridiculous romantic drama, incongruously titled Fidaa last year, filmmaker Pathikrit Basu returns with an equally atrocious, highly illogical and deliberately loud sacrilege of a film that has more loopholes in its plot than minutes in its running time. This one is titled Ke Tumi Nandini – for no apparent reason at all, other than the fact that the protagonist of the film is a young girl named Nandini. If Fidaa was watchable, for nothing else but the fact that it was unintentionally funny, Ke Tumi Nandini is just not worth your time because it almost seems like someone put a tape on loop and forgot all about it.
The film opens on a dark night in a suburban hospital of Kolkata, where Nandi is born, but thanks to a ridiculously explained error, is considered a male baby at first. Once the mistake is discovered, her father – a physician working in the same town – is told that he has, in fact, had a daughter, and not a son, clearly eclipsing his joy in the process. And this is supposed to be funny, mind you. The film begins with a sexist joke, in its first two minutes. If you manage to get over that, there’s more. Nandini grows up to become a ‘tomboy’ – which, according to the film, means a girl who likes watching and playing cricket, whistling and sitting without her knees touching each other. Anyway, this tomboy track is ditched before you can bat an eyelid. It’s just gone, like the pencil in the Joker’s magic trick.
When the teenaged Nandini first experiences the magical feeling of being in love for the first time, she falls for a good-looking boy in her school named Rahul, who promptly disappears, never to appear again in the rest of the film. Nandini then falls for another local Robinhood named Abir, who is a social worker, gymnasium owner and vigilante feminist, all rolled into one. Trouble is, he doesn’t seem to have any feelings for Nandini at all. Believe it or not, Nandini then promises herself (under a quilt, no less) that she would propose to Abir once she turns 18. When she does, she decides to become a doctor instead and moves to Kolkata to study medicine, where she promptly falls for one of her professors. Before you can ask what on earth is going on, one day, just as this professor is advancing towards her in slow motion through the enlightened corridors of that great institute, with the objective of proposing to her (there is a lot of proposing in the film, by the way), out steps Abir and stands between them. That’s it! That’s all that is needed, really. Lo and behold, Nandini immediately falls (back) in love with Abir!
You may accuse me of giving away too much of what actually happens in the film, and I am guilty as charged. I am helpless though, because I usually confine myself to write only about the plot on the assumption that there is one. Let me reiterate this, so that there is no confusion whatsoever. There is NO plot in Pathikrit Basu’s Ke Tumi Nandini Even if an entity bearing artificial intelligence were to write a story involving a teenaged girl who is confused in love, we would have a better story than the one in Ke Tumi Nandini Because although artificial, there would be some intelligence behind it. Here, sadly, there is none. Zip, zilch, nada. Characters do things for no rhyme or reason at all. There are no motivations, no character arcs, no crisis, there is nothing at all. The only thing there is in the film is a seemingly unending series of fake situations, intentionally created to force Nandini to raise the all-important question – will Abir ever be hers? Not that this doubt is debilitating though, because, hell, she is a free-thinking, independent woman, remember? So, when the answer to said question is ‘no’, she happily hooks up with someone else, quickly dropping the other guy from her scheme of things when Abir returns to her life. Even Rummi from Manmarziyan must be going – "that’s just wrong."
Throughout the movie, you will spot crass humour about a ‘fat girl who eats three pots of rice in a day’, a short guy with average looks who Nandini looks at with disgust and a clear look of disdain on her face, a buffoon of a comedy relief who has started an internet café business so that young lovebirds can peck away happily at each other behind closed curtains – you get the drift. There is not an ounce of wit or intelligence in the entire film. And it takes a special kind of directorial talent and wizardry to take two of Bengali cinema's finest actors – Aparajita Auddy and Rudranil Ghosh – and make them look like complete fools against each other. The other actors, with the exception of Shankar Chakraborty, are literally unmentionable. Chakraborty brings some relief from this onslaught of lunacy in the name of cinema and is quite good in parts as the lovingly nutty town doctor who is genuinely protective of his daughter.
Ke Tumi Nandini is the kind of cinema which doesn’t think twice before insulting its viewers. It assumes that all paying members of its audience – without exception – lack both emotional and intellectual quotient. I can understand if a filmmaker makes a bad film because he does not have the requisite resources. That is certainly not the case with this film. This is clearly an instance where the maker of the film just does not care.
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