‘Aami Mantri Hobo’, a play based on a story by Sunil Chakraborty was staged in 1969 at Rangmahal which is a farcical-satirical play based on a contemporary relevance. It had become quite popular because of the plot. This play has now been remade into a film after 42 years starring known character actors and no known actors and actresses in the lead.
The film has a good storyline which would have been an ideal slapstick film but then when have you last seen a quality ‘slapstick ‘?This category is quite unknown to the Bengalis and hence as expected what has been churned out has turned out to be nonsensical fare and trashy in nature.
The plot is centralized on Jadu Dutta, a literally illiterate businessman who has a lot of black money who decides to run for the elections against Sudarshan Roychoudhury,an efficient worker an much loved man of the locality.Jadu decides to buy off his voters with cash and with gifting them bamboos which incidentally is his symbol. His wife is the main force behind this as she has a point or two to prove.
Dharma, the local moneylender decides to support Sudarshan because there is an old enmity between him and Jadu and he wants to settle scores.Jadu’s son and Dharma’s daughter who love each other also support Sudarshan.His two younger children take the side of Jadu but later on go against him.
On the day of the results, Jadu takes a lead initially but loses badly in the end to Sudarshan.He is completely destroyed and people start shunning him and creditors start lining up. The only silver lining-his eldest son returns home with his new wife.
The film had all the qualities of being an intelligent farcical satire but intelligent satires in Bengali? Most of turns out be ‘bharomo’ in crude Bengali and also crass at times. This will always be the problem when a play is being made into a film. Certain filmmakers will take liberties, make certain changes and introduce certain things or characters which are completely unnecessary and destroy the film.
When Kharaj Mukherjee and Manasi Sinha are the leads in a film on can quite understand what type of a film it will be. No disrespect to their acting abilities because generally both of them specially are excellent most of the film. Their style of speaking has been completely changed either to evoke laughter or make an impact, but one feels most will hate it. Also since it is quite over the top at times, it becomes bharamo along with the performances of the actors and actresses who plays Jadu Dutta’s brother-in-law, daughter and younger son.Dulal Lahiri who gets an extended role in this film does stand out with the two leads and Anamika Saha has a bit role. We are surprised to see Subhrajit Dutta playing the elder son of Jadu Dutta, but being a seasoned actor, he does his bit. The songs in such a film are of no relevance and turn up out of the blue.