Banner: Jalan International Films Pvt Ltd.
Story, screenplay, dialogues and direction: Aniket Chattopadhyay
Cast: Arjun Chakraborty, Amrita Chattopadhyay, Kharaj Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Shankar Chakraborty, Lama, Bhola Tamang, Biswanath Basu, Debranjan Naga Manasi Sinha
Upagupta (Arjun Chakraborty), a brilliant student whose parents want him to pursue medicine, runs away from home because he is determined to become a rock star. Mimi (Amrita Chattopadhyay) on the other hand, wishes to continue her studies with an Economics Honours at Presidency College, but her parents have already fixed a match for her. She runs away on her wedding night, and that explains the title of the film, ‘The Runaway Bride.’ Upagupta and Mimi who do not know each other, meet in a bus headed for a small town in North Bengal. Since she is carrying her bridal jewellery with her, a thief gets onto the bus and follows her, while Mimi’s shocked and terrified parents begin a chase in search of their daughter.
A comedy is defined as a film, characterized by its goofy, or satirical tone and its depiction of amusing people, or incidents in which the characters triumph over adversity. But Janla Diya Bou Palalo goes quite overboard with its angle and loses out on the satire, expected from a director like Aniket Chattopadhyay who has given us entertaining films like Bye Bye Bangkok and Godaye Gondogol in the past, which are both comical and the caustic.
Like any road movie, other characters step in, led by the local police constable (Kharaj Mukherjee) who throws the right punch lines Aniket is famous for. But sadly, Kharaj’s massive girth tends to spoil much of the fun because his size tends to drown them all. His digs at the current party in power are really funny, but they are wasted in the cacophony of incidents and characters juggling for some space in this character-crowded film. Savvy’s music is good and so is the art direction. The acting by the ensemble cast is okay for the most part, but as characterisation plays second fiddle to comedy, most of the actors are louder than needed.
Without doubt the prize goes to the romantic lead Arjun Chakraborty who plays Upamanyu with elan. Chattopadhyay has also tapped on the actor’s versatility and combines action with romance very well. Amrita in her debut film looks pretty, fresh and bubbly. She surprises Upamanyu with her skills by cycling, driving and the works while she is struck by the boy’s karate skills. Amrita has good screen presence and carries promise. The two fall in love and the small romantic episode that flashes across in a dream scene in a village setting is enriched by soft romantic background music and lovely acting. This is the highlight of the film, sadly, perhaps the only one. Aniket’s films have mostly been high on the rip-roaring element of comedy, where satire is intelligently interwoven with jocular antics, Janla Diye Bou Palalo, in comparison does not match his earlier works.