Review of “Brombhodoityo” – Good attempt to reinvent the ghosts stories from Bengali folklore
Director – Abhirup Ghosh
Cast – Saayoni Ghosh, Rudranil Ghosh, Souman Bose, Soumalya Dutta
There is a huge collection of ghost stories in Bengali folklore but sadly today’s younger generation are less aware of it. Its not like that the current generation is not superstitious enough to believe these stories, they are very much connected with the stories of Vampires, Draculas, Zombies and all other form of supernatural elements from foreign countries but they hardly know the Bengali counterparts like Brombhodoityo, Shakchunni, Mamdo, Gechho and others. Just like the other forms of literature, these ghost stories are also an important part of our tradition and these stories must be preserved and carried forward from one generation to another. Writer director Abhirup Ghosh has taken a good initiative towards that direction with his latest movie Brombhodoityo which has been directly released on OTT platform Hoichoi. Within its limited time span the film might not present all the information about the ghosts from Bengali folklore but it will definitely make people curious enough to know more about these almost extinct entities.
The film is about a girl named Sayantika (Saayoni Ghosh) who is going through a bad phase in both her personal and professional life. One day she suddenly comes across an online shopping portal named Buyaghost.com where one can buy supernatural commodities that too in a discounted price. Out of curiosity she orders an ancient Brombhodoityo and to her surprise it gets delivered too in the very next day. What happens in her life after that and how she tackles the situation that forms the rest of story.
The basic template of the film is quite similar with Abhirup Ghosh’s earlier work Shakuni which itself was inspired by Anurag Kashyap’s No Smoking. All these movies have tried to combine traditional supernatural stories with modern day technologies where we can see people dealing with these practices are not Tantriks or witch hunters but they corporate employees from modern business organizations. But the similarity between these films ends with these basic concept only the rest of the story is very much original and well written. There are some really good scary moments and the good thing is that not all of those are horror movie cliches. Abhirup Ghosh has written a balanced screenplay that neither underestimate nor overestimate the intelligence of the audience. The audio tape voice-over has been used smartly as a tool that guides both the protagonist as well as the audience to understand the characteristics of the Brombhodoityo. Besides being a horror story the film also focuses on the adverse effects of bullying in childhood. But unlike Abhirup’s last film Zombiesthaan here the undertone message never over shadows the horror factor. There are scenes where we can see one character getting bullied in childhood which looks irrelevant to the plot in the beginning but the climax helps to connect the dots without giving an over explanation.
Despite being a good attempt to rediscover the stories of our home grown ghosts there are few areas in the film that could have been handled in a better way. Like the overall appearance of the Brombhodoityo, that has been played by Soumalya Dutta. As per the popular beliefs he must be the ghost of a Brahmin who died centuries ago but his costume does not look authentic to that period. Also the face paint done on his face looks very much out of sync. His overall look combined with his Zombie type expressions never looks rooted to our own local folklore. It is true that there are hardly any reference available for the appearance for such a character but the make up and costume team could have come out with some creative and original idea which would have looked more convincing rather than borrowed from foreign language movies. One of the basic rule of horror stories is that the primary source of fear should not be over exposed. That rule has been followed here in beginning which works very well to build the spooky environment but in the second half there are too many face to face confrontation between the ghost and the human beings. The more we see the ghost in a physical shape the less we start getting scared of him. There is a 4-5 minute long prologue featuring Anindya Chatterjee which have been used to set an eerie tone from the beginning but it looks completely unnecessary. The fact that once you buy a ghost there is no escape from it that has been told in the film at least two three times so there was no need to give that extra warning through that prologue. Also Anindya Chatterjee’s mediocre acting does not add anything much to that scene.
The lead cast is in solid form though. Saayoni Ghosh has done a very good job. The way she has carried off the transition of her character that is impressive. Souman Bose who has impressed everyone in Rohoshyo Romancho Series, session 1 is in a good form. He has nothing much to do here as he in not the central character but still he has managed to grab attention specially in his opening scene. Rudranil Ghosh who is now a regular with the director has done a good work in an extended cameo. Sourav Saha has done a remarkable job with his fine comic timing in a one scene appearance. He has been also credited as the casting director for the film. It feels good to see a Bengali movie giving much deserved credit to a casting director. Soumalya Dutta has played the title role but sadly he has not been utilized properly. Wish the director would have shown more faith in his expression rather than covering it up with artificial teeth and face paint.
For a horror movie the technical team plays a key role to set the right mood for the film. Abhirup Ghosh has repeated most of his core technical team and they are efficient enough to be repeated on every project. Annkit Sengupta’s cinematography, Jishnu Sen’s editing, Megh Banerjee’s music and background score and sound design by Amit Das and Binoy Das has helped to create the desired scary ambiance for the film that too in a limited budget without being more dependent on costly visual effects. There is a scene between the maid and the ghost in a confined space inside a small bathroom. It has been shot and edited really well.
There is no lack of horror thriller enthusiasts in Bengal but unfortunately all of their favorite horror thrillers are foreign language films because in Bengali cinema it is the least explored genre. Because of the poor box office performance of Bengali horror movies even the production houses hesitates to encourage such content. In such a situation one must praise director Abhirup Ghosh for pursuing his passion for this genre continuously. Thanks to the growing popularity of OTT platforms his movies has started getting a good exposure. Hope this will surely help him to get better budget and encouragement to explore more in this genre. Looking forward to see more of his works in both big and small screens.
Overall Brombhodoityo is an well made horror thriller with some note worthy performances by the efficient cast and crew. It is highly recommended for the people who love to be scared watching horror movies. There are enough jump scary moments to send a chill down your spine.