Direction : Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha
Story , dialogue and screenplay : Padmanava Dasgupta
Cast: Parambrato Chatterjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Sumit Samaddar, Paoli Dam, Biswajit Chakraborty, Dwijen Bandopadhyay and others
By Shoma A. Chatterji
Hercules’s great possibilities are left untouched because the script fell back on an oft-repeated gimmick. Young Horokoilash refuses to surrender the dilapidated home he has inherited to the mafia goons of the moneyed promoter. The goons have nicknamed him Hercules, a bad joke on his timidity. He is scared even when a dog barks at him and says ‘thank you’ to the goons led by Mosh (Saswata Chatterjee) who block his way to his own home and force him to crawl under their carrom board table. They walk in and out as and when they wish to intimidate him, scare him and bash him up. yet he sticks to his stand.
Suddenly one day, the terribly fearful Horokoilash becomes a true-grit Hercules, bashing up whoever dares to cross his path. Those who know him are shocked but Paoli Dam, who runs a telephone booth opposite his home and likes him a lot, is thrilled to see this man rising up to any challenge with the strength of his fists and his suddenly sprouted military moustache. The moustache is Cinderella’s magic pumpkin-turned-chariot as that remains the only token to Horokoilash’s magical transformation.
In the famous Tom and Jerry cartoon, a sudden guest encroached into Tom and Jerry’s domain. It was Tom’s cousin whose looks were identical. But he was very timid. Jerry, who thought it was Tom, was surprised with the change in the aggressive friend. Without giving the clichéd twist-in-the-tale away, suffice to say that Parambrata, in a double-layered performance, does brilliantly. Saswata, as Mosh, goes over the board and has clearly done better in other films. But the posters and the billboards, given his popularity, have his image dominating the marginalised image of Parambrata as Horokoilash-Hercules. Paoli, as the stern, trying-to-be-principled-in-adverse-circumstances dignified girl, underplays her character with conviction. The background melody of the Tagore number Sankochero Bihwalata is repeated like a metaphor in the film and orchestrated by Raja Narayan Deb enhances the theme of the story. Neel Dutt’s song scores are equally good specially there are no lip-syncing songs.
The film focusses on the narrow bylanes in and around Kalighat in Kolkata and the art direction, especially of the dilapidated house of Horokoilash, the telephone booth, the narrow bylanes where the shady people disappear into are aesthetically designed. Supriyo Dutta’s cinematography captures the right moods of the volatile script. Given Horokoilash’s panic attacks, the violence by the goons is overdone. Hats off to Parambrata Chatterjee for a stupendous performance but considering Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha’s track record, Hercules disappoints.