Koler Gaan movie review: Pronab Mukhopadhyay's new drama falters due to its soap opera-like treatment

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Jan 11, 2019 17:43:56 IST

1.5/5

A few weeks ago, in a review of Mainak Bhaumik’s film Generation Ami, I had mentioned how an age-old subject can still be relevant if it is given a new treatment. This is exactly the problem I found with filmmaker Pronab Mukhopadhyay’s new film Koler Gaan. While the subject of the film is an age-old one, the way it is presented before us is so archaic, that it doesn’t pass muster, especially in this day and age.

A still from Koler Gaan. Image via Twitter

A still from Koler Gaan. Image via Twitter

The film begins with the usual bickering of a daughter-in-law against her in-laws. The matter around which the trouble begins is an utterly trivial one, but the woman in question is adamant. After she has successfully created a fuss, her mother-in-law pulls her aside and in a true-blue ‘saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’ style, tells her how she herself used to be rude to her father-in-law many years ago, and how she regrets it now. The rest of the story is told in flashback. As it turns out, many years ago, when this lady (who is now the mother-in-law) was a young woman, she was rather fed up with an annoying habit of her father-in-law – the old man used to listen to music on his ancient gramophone all day, that too at high volumes. Egged on by her scheming mother, our lady hatches a plan to throw the old man out of the household. When the old man leaves and receives a hearty welcome at the residence of an old friend and his wife, our lady breathes a sigh of relief. But things take an unexpected turn when an antiques dealer pays her a visit. It seems the man has learnt that there is an ancient gramophone in the household and is willing to offer a large sum of money for it. The woman now regrets sending her father-in-law away, and convinces her husband to bring him back. The poor old man, who was having the time of his life with his friends, is now asked to forgive his son and daughter-in-law for their mistakes and come back, and the old man does so willy-nilly, only because he loves his grandson, and knowing fully well that there is some ulterior motive behind such a gracious request. Anyway, he returns home, and the lady then begins to hatch another plan to sell off the gramophone.

While the entire plot seems rather dated, I am sure the filmmaker was aware of this. I do not have a problem with that. What really irked me was the execution. The writing is quite juvenile, the performances overdone and deliberately amplified. Black has been called out as black, and white as white, leaving no room for grey. The entire film had a soap opera like treatment, that too the soaps of the years gone by. Even television does not make movies like these anymore. There are moments when you just begin to like a scene or a character, but your delight remains short-lived, as an unnecessary bit of writing, or a poorly shot scene ruins the love you were so carefully nurturing for the film.

Among the actors, Paran Bandopadhyay deserves a special mention as the aged patriarch, because he is constantly watchable and makes a genuine effort to save this poorly written script. But even his performance is so poorly edited that it will make you cringe. It is sad to see a veteran actor and a brilliant performer go down like this, for no fault of his – other than a wrong choice of script. Chaiti Ghoshal is good in parts as the devil disguised as the daughter-in-law, but is given very little to work with, and can be easily seen fumbling from a mile away. Her scenes with her mother do nothing but to induce unintended chuckles – they are downright silly and loaded with a generous dose of overacting. Bhaskar Bandopadhyay plays her husband, and for some odd reason, is barely visible in the film, let alone leaving a mark or an impression.

The only saving grace in the film are the moments when the gramophone plays the lovely songs from the days of yore. They induce a sweet longing for times when things were simpler and there was no mad rush all around us, when one could lay back and relish life, rather than having to scamper and gulp it down. Other than getting the opportunity to listen to some of these mellifluous melodies, I am afraid I have had very little to take away from Koler Gaan.

Rating: ★1⁄2

Updated Date: Jan 11, 2019 17:46:06 IST