Music:Indraadip Dasgupta & Savvy
Cast: Dev, Mimi Chakraborty, Nigel Akkara, Rajatava Dutta, Kanchan Mullick, Supriyo Dutta, Nusrat Jahan (cameo) etc.
By Shoma A. Chatterji
Here’s the recipe that made Yoddha possible: Take a southern hit, relocate and adapt it in Bengali. Add to it the story of old love that gets thwarted only to be redeemed and fulfilled hundreds of years later, supported by costumes, lavish sets and props, song-and-dance routines in a topical scenario and action scenes, sword-fights, horse-riding wars. Pour all these exciting ingredients in a large mixer and whirl it around for two-and-a-half hours. As you embed the character into this costume-driven fantasy emerges Yoddha.
The Dish: Dev in his first-ever costume-drama spread over two generations distanced by 1200 years has tried to present an avatar different from Chander Pahar and Buno Haansh.
Abir (Dev), a professional fighter, finds out by accident just by touching a young girl that he owes himself a revenge drama that dates back to a remote past. He was then a warrior Rudra (Dev) in Sundargarh where Ranvir (Nigel Akkara) was the commander-in-chief of the army and was determined to win the love of the beautiful princess Durga (Mimi) reborn as Nandini, who is now in love with Abir, but he cannot meet her because she is fiercely guarded by Ranvir reborn as Raghab. Ranvir is unsuccessful in winning Durga’s heart because she was already deeply in love with Rudra. In this life, a tantrik advises Raghab that unless he destroys Abir, Nandini will never be his. How Abir and Nandini overcome all roadblocks to their union and live happily ever after is what Yoddha is all about.
If you find this story too confusing, just imagine how confusing this can become in cinema stretched for two and half hours. Nigel has worked hard to make his character credible, but sadly his face remains inexpressive and dull though he has a good screen personality. Dev’s commitment is credible, but the script and the two characters fail him because reincarnation stories set against fictionalised history do not work in Bengali cinema. Indradeep Dasgupta’s music is good.
Dev is a historical and costumed version of Superman who performs incredible feats without as much as a single scratch on his body or face. Mimi has performed much better in her earlier films. Costume dramas do not work with Bengali audiences, especially when the arc villain throws punches and uses javelins in 2014! In the long-drawn climax, the lovers ride out of a mansion in North Bengal on a two-wheeler and find themselves in the Himalayas a few minutes later! One can give this film a miss unless one wishes to catch up on forty winks inside an AC auditorium!