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Manobjomin

Manobjomin Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Manobjomin Movie Review : The first big Bengali release of the year disappoints

It’d be unfair to demand ‘poetic’ cinema from a newbie director simply because he happens to be a poet. But it’s not unrealistic to ask for it to be better than Manobjomin. It’s entirely possible that Srijato would get better at filmmaking in the coming years. And if last year wasn’t such a turning point for Tollywood, his debut film Manobjomin would probably be graded on a curve.
But as things go, the film fails to deliver on some key basics despite a near-perfect cast. If you do plan on watching it, it’d help if you skip the review — there are spoilers ahead and enough reasons to go see a different movie.
Sanket, a banker and Kuhu, an NGO owner, want to build a school in a rural area. But they fail to get a grant and Sanket’s loan application gets rejected. However, it’s hard to grasp that a banker and a social activist can think of no other means of drumming up money to open a school besides manipulating (and eventually scamming) an ageing but wealthy jethu. Baren (Paran Bandopadhyay) is not exactly a ‘Scrooge’ but refuses to dole out a lump sum seven-figure for a school that he has no knowledge about.
And that’s where the film loses its audiences; it’s impossible to root for Prambrata’s Sanket and Priyanka’s Kuhu, especially in the last twenty minutes where — and this is true — they canoodle in a field where their school was supposed to be built, making an ailing Baren wait, on his way back from the hospital after a major medical emergency!
Baren babu is visited by two scam artists who claim they’re selling plots in heaven; ‘surreal estate’ they call it. Baren, despite being a pious man, finds the idea incredulous. But after an even more incredulous seance sequence, agrees to spend money on a piece of land for the afterlife. And then predictably discovers that something rather sketchy is afoot.
It’s films like these where world-building becomes quite key especially when the screenplay appears maimed with overly long monologues, bad jokes and a privileged gaze. The viewers know very little about the girls who’d suffer if the school wasn’t built or if they would actually be saved from bad marriages if the school does get built. The film didn’t really need so many songs or the many aerial shots of the city or even the two-hour-plus runtime but it did need to offer more insight about what is at stake.
Parambrata has the sensitive and woke city boy role down pat, Paran and Kharaj, who’ve been part of almost every winter outing this season are far too seasoned to disappoint audiences at this point. Music is a big part of the film and a few tracks have done well so far, especially Arijit Singh’s rendition of the Ramprasadi, Mon re Krisikaj, and Shreya Ghoshal’s Toka Dile. There’s some poetry of course, including verses by Srijato himself and the late Shankho Ghosh. Supriyo Dutta’s camera work is engaging from the start and is also one of the few aspects which make a big screen experience worth it for the film.

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