Review of “Konttho” – This sound deserves to be heard.
Director – Shiboprosad Mukherjee & Nandita Roy
Cast – Shiboprosad Mukherjee, Paoli Dam, Jaya Ahsan, Chitra Sen, Paran Bandopadhyay, Koneenica Banerjee
Overall Rating – 4.5/5
Konttho directed by Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy is a film about a very sensitive subject that is Laryngeal cancer where the organs related to voice gets affected and a person can lost his voice too. There is a generic convention that, if a film is dealing about a serious subject then it has to look and feel serious and it has to be limited to festival circuits only. But the good thing about Konttho is that the director duo has made a complete mainstream entertaining mass appealing movie remaining true to the seriousness of the subject. The makers of the film definitely deserves credit for creating awareness about an important topic through the film.
This is the story of a popular voice artist and a celebrity Radio jockey Arjun (Shiboprosad Mukherjee). He has a small happy family having his wife Pritha (Paoli Dam) who is also a voice artist and news anchor and his son. Everything was going good about his personal and professional life until he diagnosed with cancer of throat because of the bad habit of excessive smoking. Doctors saved his life doing laryngectomy surgery but he had to loose his biggest asset, his voice. This after effect of the surgery pushed him into deep depression and suffering. Most of the time his wife is at the receiving end of his anger and frustration as she is the closest one to him. In such a situation he meets speech therapist Romila (Jaya Ahsan) who can help him to speak again. She teaches him about the alternate ways of speaking like using artificial larynx a mechanical device that helps to generate voice or talking in esophageal voice, the process of speaking using food pipe. Romila not only helps her to get back his voice but also boosts his confidence to fight against the adverse situation.
Nandita Roy has written an excellent story taking inspiration from the real life incidents of laryngectomy patients. Despite of being predictable, the screenplay is engaging throughout as it progresses in a very convincing path. We all know finally Arjun will overcome the obligations and get back his voice but the way it has been shown through step by step progress that has kept us rooted in support of the character. In spite of talking about such a serious disease the film never becomes too depressive rather it keeps offering some humor in between without making fun of anyone’s disability. Just because a person has lost his voice that does not mean that he has lost his sense of humour also and that has been presented very well with the character played by Paran Bandopadhyay who is also a laryngectomy patient and helps Arjun with his experiences. There are some very well written scenes like the introduction scene of Arjun where he saves a girl from committing suicide by motivating her through his radio show. At first it looks like a regular introduction scene of a leading man but later we see it serves a big purpose in the story. In another instance, a lot has been told about the personal problems that Romila is going through because of her broken marriage just through a small one sided telephonic conversation. Also the scene in a cafe where Romila starts teaching Arjun about how to talk in esophageal voice that scene works really well. One may complain for the over simplified narrative where everything has been explained again and again but that simplicity is the signature style of the director duo and it works well with their audience. Only significant problem in the script is its over stretched climax that is very much emotionally manipulative. It could have been little more subdued.
Besides being a capable director, Shiboprosad Mukherjee is an excellent actor too. He has proved it again and again. So far we have mostly seen him doing comedies but in Konttho he has shown a completely different side of his acting talent. His performance is very much consistent throughout the transformation of his character from a happy successful person to a man in depression to a man who is struggling hard to make a comeback to finally emerging as a winner. This character demands a wide range of emotions at different stages and he has emoted perfectly in every situation. Playing this character is even more challenging as the dialogues are in esophageal voice for a major part of the film. It must have been challenging for him while dubbing for those lines. It can be easily said, it is his career best performance so far. As a supporting wife, Paoli Dam has nothing much to do. Her character is very much one note. As expected she is natural in her performance but one wish her character would have been given more scope to perform. She has compensated for that to some extent with her mesmerizing expressions in the song Shawbai Chup. She has shared a lovely chemistry with her co-star Shiboprosad Mukherjee. One can not take off their eyes from this lovely couple in that song sequence. Jaya Ahsaan has already proved herself as a great talent but still she has surprised everyone in this film with her amazing performance. Here she has played a completely different character from her regular on screen image. She has played an emotionally stable, mature, independent working woman who has a vibrant personality. She has added the much needed energy required for this character. Koneenica Banerjee and Paran Bandopadhyay are impressive in their cameos. Popular RJ Jimmy Tangree is there in few scenes along with some other popular RJs playing colleagues of Arjun. It is a good opportunity for their fans to see their favorite RJs acting in a movie.
The technical team is in sync with the simplicity of the narrative, no one has tried to over do anything. Shubhankar Bhar’s cinematography is eye soothing like always. He deserves special mention for shooting the song Shawbai Chup so beautifully. Also credit goes to the sound recording department for capturing the mechanical voice of artificial larynx and esophageal voice in an authentic way.
Another best thing about the film is its music composed by Anindya Chatterjee, Prasen and Anupam Roy. We rarely get such a variety of songs in one film album where all the songs are so much engrossing as well as situational. One must praise the makers for using music as such a smart device to take the story forward. For example how beautifully the song Shawbai Chup has summed up the story of Pritha and Arjun’s courtship days. The song Bornoporichoy has wonderfully captured Arjun’s improvement in learning the new technique of speaking at the same time it shows the growing bonding between Arjun and Romila. Abak Jawle and Alote Alote Dhaka are two amazing songs that has depicted the contrasting life of Arjun before and after the surgery.
Director duo Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy hardly fails to feel the pulse of the audiences and with Konttho they have continued that trend. Besides being a good entertainer the film has created awareness about the ill effects of smoking. It has also talked about the lesser known facts about Laryngeal cancer which might be helpful for many people in the audience. This is one inspirational story of a man who fights back against all the odds and come out as a winner. This motivational story must reach to more and more people. This is one film that should not be avoided.