Review of “Durgeshgorer Guptodhon” – Treasure hidden in Bengal’s glorious history
Director – Dhrubo Banerjee
Cast – Abir Chatterjee, Arjun Chakrabarty, Ishaa Saha, Koushik Sen, Kharaj Mukherjee, Aryann Bhowmik
Overall Rating – 4/5
What makes Dhrubo Banerjee’s Guptodhon franchise movies different from other treasure hunt movies ? The answer is, in addition to regular puzzle solving format of a treasure hunt, he includes Bengal’s culture, history and traditions into the story. He had done that in Guptodhoner Sondhane and he has continued that trend in his latest movie Durgeshgorer Guptodhon as well. Once again the writer duo Shubhendu Dasmunshi and Dhrubo Banerjee has proved that hidden treasure not only means precious gems and jewelries rather Bengal’s heritage itself is a treasure that needs to be discovered.
This time the story has been unfolded in the backdrop of a Durga Puja in a Zamindar family in a village named Bonpukuria. The family is the descendant of Durgagoti Debroy who was very close to Raja Krishnachandra Roy around 250 years ago. It is believed that Raja Krishna Chandra Roy had gifted a part of his wealth to Durgagoti Debroy and that treasure is still hidden somewhere in his old mansion named Durgeshgor. The youngest son of the current generation of Debroy family Damrupani aka Dumbel (Aryann Bhowmik) is the student of Professor Subarna Sen aka Sona Da (Abir Chatterjee) who is now settled in Kolkata. Dumbel invites professor to attend the festival of Durga puja at his ancestral home. Sona Da is already aware of the historical significance of Debroy family and he also has a doubt that some conspiracy is going on to get possession of the hidden treasure as an antique silver dagger has been stolen from the house recently, so he decides to go there to get a clearer picture. As usual he is joined by his partners in crime Abir (Arjun Chakrabarty) and Jhinuk (Ishaa Saha). In Bonpukuria how Sona da and company solve the riddles and discover the hidden treasures that forms the rest of the story.
Writer duo Dhrubo Banerjee and Shubhendu Dasmusnhi has wonderfully written a fictional story taking references from real historical facts. The screenplay is little bumpy in the beginning when we see few scenes featuring two thieves who are trying to steal an antique dagger. Those scenes creates some confusion as the main plot has not been revealed by that time. But once the main plot begins at Bonpukuria from that point the film holds its grip perfectly. The writer duo has done extensive research and it shows in their use of historical references in the screenplay. The good thing about their writing is that they know to balance historical knowledge with fiction. They have never tried to pour an overdose of historical data just to show off their research work rather they have smartly used their historical knowledge within the limits. One must praise the way the devotional songs and rituals have been doubled as clues for the treasure. Subhendu Dasmunshi has done a fine job as the lyricist also. On the surface level the songs sounds like any regular devotional song only but it has some hidden meaning also that can work as a clue to discover the treasure if decoded correctly. Besides telling the historical facts related with battle of Plassey in 1757 and its aftermath the film also tells about some lesser known facts related with the history of Bengali’s biggest festival Durga Puja. How Durga Puja started in Bengal, why it became more popular in autumn than spring, what is the significance of the idols formation all that has been explained beautifully. Even book lovers will love the piece of information given about annual Puja magazines which are referred as Puja Barshiki.
Although the screenplay is engaging for most of the part but it has its loopholes too. There are few scenes which ask for a better writing. For example the way the original dagger gets replaced from the custody of a policeman is an example of very amateurish writing. The twist in the climax is good but few things remains unexplained, for example an important scene between a member of Debroy family and the servant that creates enough confusion to audience remains unexplained till the end.
Dhrubo Banerjee had impressed everyone in his debut itself and with his second outing he has matured a lot with his craft. His simple story telling is very appropriate to connect with the audiences, even the young kids can grasp the story easily which is a plus point. Only he should resist his temptation to show hand to hand fight and chase sequences when his actors are not comfortable doing such scenes. Both the chase sequence in the beginning and the fight sequence before the climax looks very clumsy and unimpressive, although the background score well composed by Bickram Ghosh tries hard to add adrenaline rush to those sequences. Also director Dhrubo Banerjee should be careful about the use of visual effects. When the budget is not too big then its better to avoid unnecessary vfx than making it look incompetent. Like the scene that shows a bear, created by computer graphics, in a cave could have been better avoided. Also there was enough scope for improvement in the visual effects done in the underwater sequence in the pond.
Abir Chatterjee has looked and acted convincingly as Sona Da with required sharpness and intelligence. Arjun Chakrabarty is good with his comic timing but he was better in the earlier movie of the franchise. Ishaa Saha is good in her part but the character of Jhinuk does not justify her potential. Koushik Sen is commendable in a character with grey shades, Kharaj Mukherjee has provided good comic relief although he has over performed in some scenes. Lily Chakraborty has done a decent work as the ever smiling old aunt and the child actor who has played Kucho is adorable. Lama Halder shines in his brief appearance. Aryaan Bhowmik has nothing to do, Anindya Chatterjee has been wasted. June Maliah and Devjani Chatterjee are there just to pose with lots of jewelries for brand promotion.
The technical crew is in very good form. Soumik Halder’s cinematography is efficient in both indoor and outdoor locations. He has captured the rustic beauty of rural landscapes beautifully. Tanmay Chakraborty’s art direction is one of the biggest highlight of the film as a lot of the story was depending on the proper selection of the real locations and making it look authentic adding correct props with it. The team who has done the art work and animation for the title credits are praiseworthy for such a wonderful work. Bickram Ghosh is impressive with both the music and background score.
Overall, Durgeshgorer Guptodhon is a well made film that blends thrilling adventure with Bangaliyana. If you want to hunt the treasures hidden in Bengal’s glorious past then you must watch it. Also do not forget to take the kids along with you, it will help them to know about the almost forgotten historical events in an entertaining way.