Vol. 5 Num 429 Wed. August 10, 2005  

Tagore's short story on celluloid
Shubha premiered at Balaka

Shubha, directed by Chashi Nazrul Islam, premiered on August 8 at a packed Balaka theatre. This is the 2nd Bangladeshi film that is based on a short story by Tagore. The previous one, Shasti was also directed by Chashi. Shubha is produced by Impress Telefilm Ltd and presented by Aktel.

On the occasion, Chashi expressed his gratitude to the artistes and the crew of the movie. Lead actress of yesteryears Sujata who has made a comeback through the movie after a hiatus of a decade, was also at the event. Asked to share her feelings, Sujata said, "I couldn't turn Chashi Bhai down. Besides, I felt that the movie based on Tagore's remarkable work is a commendable effort." Faridur Reza Shagor, on behalf of Impress Telefilm, was also present at the programme.

A synopsis of the movie: Chandipur is a village in the then East Bengal. A river named Madhumati runs by it. Banikantha is an affluent member of the community who lives with his wife and two daughters -- Shuhashini and Shubhashini. His eldest daughter Shukeshini is married and lives in Kolkata. Although the youngest daughter is named Shubhashini, meaning articulate, she is deaf and mute as her mother Rashmoni was not aware of her child's disabilities right after she was born. Shubhashini is known as 'Shubha' to her near and dear ones, such as Pratap. He is the son of the heartless money-lender Govinda Goswami. The love between Shubha and Pratap is mutual and Banikantha approves of this relationship as well.

Fate intervenes in the form of Govinda who disapproves of the relationship. He also verbally humiliates Banikantha when he approaches Govinda to talk about Shubha and Pratap's marriage. Shubha's headstrong mother and her sisters take Shubha to Kolkata and marry her off to Nibaron, shrewdly hiding the fact that Shubha can neither hear nor speak. After Nibaron finds out that he has been deceived, he vents all his frustration and disappointment on Shubha. A dejected and crushed Shubha leaves home, wandering in the darkness of night in a strange city.

Purnima does a magnificant job as Shubha, just as she did in Shasti. Her silent expressions and histrionics are heart wrenching. Too bad the same cannot be said about Shakib Khan, playing Pratap. Shakib cannot seem to get out of the 'loud' and 'overacting' mode of a stereotypical mainstream movie actor. Sujata and Saleh Ahmed as Shubha's parents are credible and Tushar Khan's comic approach to the character Govinda is just right.

The movie however, has some weak points. It lacks continuity in some sequences. For example, right before the song Chhander hashir baandh, Pratap is seen fishing in broad daylight and right away just by some miracle he is seen rendering the song to Shubha at night. Pratap is seen in daylight again, returning home with fish. His mother asks, "Where have you been all day?" It is understood that the feature film is based on a short story but does that mean that the movie should become excruciatingly slow at some points? One of the characters says Ami ebar bhashabishishto bou anbo." The word ...bhashabishishto" is not a known word to Bangla speaking people.

Imon Shaha does a fair job with the music direction and the songs rendered by renowned artistes Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, Sadi Muhammad, Mita Haque and Bappa Majumdar are definitely easy on the ear. Some of the songs are misplaced and seem to be in the movie just for the heck of it. For the most part due to some technical difficulty, the projection on the screen was shaky.

The world premier of the movie will be on Channel i at 3pm on August 12 and it will be released on the same day.

(L-R) Faridur Reza Shagor, Sujata and Chashi Nazrul Islam holding the poster of the film at the premier. PHOTO: STAR