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     Volume 7 Issue 50 | December 26, 2008 |

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aesthetically rich presentation of an unconventional plot

Ershad Kamol

It is a common allegation against Bangladeshi filmdom that these days not many aesthetically rich movies are released targetting the masses. Only a very few filmmakers are coming up with new ideas and rich presentations as well. Young filmmaker Murad Parvez's debut feature film Chandragrohon is one such production worth watching. After two weeks of remarkable success at Star Cineplex, the movie is now being screened at the theatres outside Dhaka City.

Chandragrohon, adapted from narratives titled Ranighater Brittanto by Syed Mustafa Siraj, is different from the stereotypical storyline of Bangladeshi commercial movies. It deals with the people living at the kheyaghat (a common place beside a river where people go for boats to cross the river). For business purposes, people from different corners of the country live in such areas, even the ghats are infamous places for criminal activities. However, Murad Parvez's intention is not to feature extra-judicial activities following the traditional Dhaliwood based movies.

In the big canvas of the screenplay of Chandragrohon, Parvez has depicted diversified characters of downtrodden people. Through these characters he takes the viewers to a crisis that strikes our rationality. And the story is not absurd nor supra natural, but very practical: will anybody allow his or her son to marry an illegitimate girl? May be in the conventional Dhaliwood movies the son ignoring his parents makes it happen, but in Chandragrohon Kashu (Riaz) cannot do that which drives the lovely Phalani (Sohana Saba) to insanity.

Phalani's mother Shokhina Pagli, a mentally disordered woman, became pregnant. But, who could be the father? Everybody suspects each other. Subsequently a girl was born and named as Phalani which means 'discarded'. Everybody at the locality collectively takes responsibility of the newborn baby, but when the girl was only three years old her mother died and the locals handed over the responsibility of the girl to an elderly woman named Moyra Mashi (Dilara Zaman).

Phalani's character and the ghat develop parallelly in the movie. In advancement of time a bridge is built on the river, which changes the socio-economic structure of the ghat. Many locals become jobless and subsequently decide to migrate.

Meanwhile Phalani becomes a nice looking teenager having a romantic relationship with Kashu, a driver by profession of the same locality. When their romance becomes known, the elders of the locality who treat orphan Phalani as their child, decide to arrange their marriage before migration.

This parallel development of the plot has been handled quite efficiently by Murad Parvez. From the very first scene, in a rainy dark night a few people are wandering around, has aptly created the suspense. And the director has maintained the tempo through his remarkable directorial compositions, handling of montage and shot distribution. His use of symbols using natural elements to portray human psyche deserves plaudits. In fact, it would not be exaggeration saying a real rustic life has portrayed in the movie. Doing that he has used all the leading technical hands and actors of the country.

But, the movie loses the tempo when the love affair develops between Phalani and Kashu. The director could have avoided many scenes such as Kashu's imagination of Phalani dancing like a 'princess' at the Jatra scene. More than that many scenes have abruptly appeared. And the weakest part of the movie is that the climax (when Kashu's father Abul with his ill motive for stopping the marriage of his son with claims of himself being the father of Phalani) has not been presented effectively.

However, the most powerful feature of the movie is bold acting by the cast members. Dilara Zaman as Moyra Mashi, Azam Faruk as a Marwari ghat owner Chowbeji, KS Feroz as Abul, Shahiduzzaman Selim as Ismail Driver, Kohinur as Madan and Gazi Rakayat as Shambhu presented their respective characters efficiently. As the protagonist's character Sohana Saba-- who has already performed the central character in many feature films made by independent filmmakers -- is impressive in the sequences that feature happiness. But there are signs of struggle in her portrayal of pathos and crisis. Popular film actor Riaz's performance, at best, can be described as average. Similarly, popular film actor Champa has not managed well her challenging character of a mentally disordered beggar. Her gestures appear exaggerated.

Mahfuzur Rahman's cinematography Taufiq Hossain Chowdhury' editing deserve plaudits. Eminent art dirctor Uttam Guho has successfully created a ghat area of 1960s. Music composers Imon Shaha and Habib also deserve kudos for their melodious scores.

.Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2008