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Upperstall Review


Sathi Amar Bandhu Amar


Bengali, Drama, 2009, Color

A beautiful young girl, Doll (Shinjini Sengupta), the only child of a rich industrialist who is concerned about human values and not about money. Raj (Surya), an orphan, ekes out a living as a stuntman in films to pay for his college education. They study in the same college and obviously fall in love though they think it is friendship. So, before realizing that it is love, the two get separated both by circumstance and also by ignorance. Raj is bashed up by hooligans for trying to do a rescue act and lands in hospital. When Doll goes to inform his family, she finds he has a wife, not knowing that the girl is completely crazy. Raj comes out of hospital only to learn that Doll is married to a guy (Raja Chatterjee) chosen for her by her parents. A frustrated Raj discovers that his friends have also misunderstood him. He quits studies, quits his job a stuntman and begins working as a courier boy. Doll in the meantime, is tortured by her womanizing and alcoholic husband. She meets Raj by accident, misunderstandings are cleared and they mutually agree that it was not just friendship (bandhu) that they shared but a partnership for life (sathi.) They plan to run away and get married. But the devilish husband plans to bump off Raj before they can run away. Raj is killed and Doll kills herself.

After having worked successfully for the small screen with several hits in terms of mega-serials, serials and telefilms for 22 years, Anindya Sarkar chose to make his debut with Sathi Amar Bandhu Amar where, other than the character support, he has banked totally on untrained, unskilled and almost amateurish newcomers. But this is no exception. Every other Bangla film by up-and-coming filmmakers try to work on a shoe-string budget and compromise on their technical team and acting cast. The result is rarely successful like Chirodini Tumi Je Amaar that had a lavish budget. Most of these films fall by the wayside and vanish without leaving even a shadow.

Many of these newcomers, such as Surya Dutta who plays the struggling Raj, have promise. But without proper training, they fail to strike even a small impression. Shinjini Sengupta as Doll, looks glamorous but cannot act, yet, anyway. Raj Chatterjee as her wife-bashing husband is his usual self, trying to look suave and suiting his expressions with the change in the characterisation. Rita Koyral as Dollís mother hams as much as she possibly can, marring what could have turned out a good character with comic shades. Sabyasachi Chakraborty as the girlís father is natural and good as usual.

The script has two interesting character twists. One is the character of a crazy girl who lives in the slums where Raj stays and thinks he is her husband. It could have been treated better but the director goes a bit overboard. The twist when she is miraculously cured with a hit on the head is interesting. The other is a small-time con-man who suddenly appears from nowhere and weaves his way into Rajís home, work and life. His dialogue is punched interestingly with the vocabulary of the cell phone. ďI have never heard a ring tone like this one,Ē he says when caught in the act once. The college friends have been picked up at random and do nothing but wander about aimlessly or watch Raj being bashed up by wayside goons. One does not see a single classroom in the entire college except the building and the garden! The logic of Rajís moral policing on Dollís skimpy way of dressing is not sustained when later, she continues to wear her skimpy dresses later and Raj says nothing. Strange!

The music is okay but the song picturisations and choreography leave much room for improvement. The production design, especially of the slum neighbourhood and Rajís poor room, is convincing. The stunt Raj performs for his college friends, walking along a narrow precipice, is too amateurishly picturised for a contemporary film. Shinjiniís brilliant dancing talent is not utilized at all by the director. The editing is jerky to some extent but it does not matter in this kind of film. The camera hardly bothers to take care about the lighting changes adapted to the time of day or the place.

Yet, the film had a lot of promise. It does not bore you for one because it is full of action, never mind the quality. It runs at a smooth pace and does not drag till the very end. With more professional treatment and better actors, and of course, a more audience-friendly closure, Sathi Amar Bandhu Amar, would have been a better film.

Upperstall review by: Shoma A Chatterji

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