Direction : Aniruddha Roychoudhury
Music: Shantanu Moitra
Cast: Dev, Srabonti, Sohag Sen, Tanushree Chakraborty, Arindam Sil, Alokananda Roy, Anindya Banerjee, Shantilal Mukherjee, Gargi Roychoudhury and others
By Shoma A. Chatterji
Is there a benchmark for a very good film? A film is really good when (a) it captures your attention within the first 15 minutes, (b) the story haunts you after the film is over. You carry the film like an emotional baggage you do not want to let go. Does Buno Haansh qualify? It does and some more…
Aniruddha Roy Choudhury tackles a story filled with characters from the margins including underworld characters who are also ‘margins’. He opens up to a wider audience than he did before. Dev, as Amal, the younger son of a Bangladeshi immigrant family is the typical bhalo chhele (good boy) who works as security guard in a shopping mall. He lives in a low-middle-class ghetto and a close friend (Anindya Banerjee) tempts him to join an underworld ring as carrier.
The tightly-knit script mingles action with suspense and thrills where the screenplay is concerned with capturing audience attention with what is going to happen next – to Amal, to Sohag (Srabanti) the girl he loves but knows can never marry, to his shrewish friend Rijula (Tanushree), to his family, and to the mafia that is chasing him across cities and countries to fell him for ‘betraying’ their trust. Buno Haansh becomes an exciting psychological thriller. As the audience is sucked into the hot chase Amal is a victim of, we ask ourselves – will Amal get caught? Will he be able to clear himself? Will his family realise the danger he is in?
The internal and external dilemmas Amal constantly struggles against are brought out lucidly by the dancing-fighting-jumping-leaping matinee idol Dev in an outstanding, off-beat performance he will be remembered for forever. Amal is very quiet, diffident, shy, uncertain but affectionate. So, Dev has few lines to speak and that becomes his winning point. His body language spells out his character without needing to fall back on needless talk. The talking is done by the others – his friend (Anindya), the sexy ‘tour operator’ (Gargi), the mafia queen who speaks impeccable English and converses through a tab (Moon Moon Sen in a great cameo), her assistant (Shantilal Mukherjee), Amal’s nervous mother (Sohag Sen), his forthright and fearless sister-in-law (Sudipta Chakraborty), the wily and scheming Rijula, and the rest. Srabonti has few dialogues and is somewhat sidelined. All characters, big and small, stand out in brilliant cameo support and ranking would be unfair. Aniruddha has paid close attention to the sound design that adds another dimension of suspense. The scene where Amal and Rijula stand on the edge of a hill and throw the fake currency notes in the air is telling. Rijula’s eyes lighting up with greed in the mafia don’s chamber is another.
Aniruddha has taken great care not to romanticise Sohag’s terminal condition or melodramatise her family’s response to it though the twists in the story offered ample scope for both. The film weaves its way through alleys and bylanes, the lighting, the locations and the indoor shots enriched by Harendra Singh’s cinematography in his first Bengali film, a language he does not know. Shantanu Moitra’s musical score is lyrical, romantic and mesmerising at times specially in the songs, all on the soundtrack and the suspense moments towards the closure. The Sufi number married to a Bangladeshi folk song is especially good. The production design takes your breath away in its versatility, use of colours and pragmatism. The film has an open ending with Amal walking away after talking to his mother who asks him to come home. Does he? No one knows. Thank you, Aniruddha and team for a great film.
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