Review of “Ahare Mon” – A celebration of companionship.
Director – Pratim D Gupta
Cast – Anjan Dutt, Mamata Shankar, Adil Hussain, Ritwick Chakraborty, Paoli Dam, Parno Mittra, Chitrangada Chakraborty.
Overall Rating – 3.5/5
Director Pratim D Gupta’s latest movie Ahare Mon had been promoted as a love story. But it’s not a conventional love story what we see on screen mostly. More than a love story it is about companionship. It is about bonding of two people who may not be like minded in every aspect but feels at ease with each other.
There are four separate stories going on parallel without any connection. As expected towards the end, the stories are linked with a twist. In the begining one may try to find what may be the link between the stories but once we settle down with the characters, we do not bother if the stories will be connected or not. Because each story is complete in itself. One story is about the two inmates of an old age home, a widower Barun Babu (Anjan Dutt) who is there for few years after his daughter abandoned him and Charulata (Mamata Shankar) who is a new entrant there, after her husband’s death. They develop a friendly bonding very soon and then Charulata shares some of her secrets from her past to Barun. This secret encourages Barun to elope from the old age home with Charulata in search of a true love. The second story is of a immigration officer Purnendu Pahari (Adil Hussain), a middle aged unmarried man doing a monotonous job for years. But he never find his job boring as he takes it as an opportunity to interact with passengers who have visited places around the world. Talking with them about their tour experiences, Pahari gets the feel of visiting abroad. One day he meets a flyer Ramona (Paoli Dam), an independent working lady who flies frequently for personal and professional purpose. Purnendu developes feeling for her after some back to back meetings at immigration desk. The third story is of two thieves or better called hustlers, Micheal Tendulkar (Ritwick Chakraborty) and Suzie Q (Parno Mittra). They meet with each other in an abandoned bungalow where both are trespassers but with different motives. Micheal is a professional thief with a good enough work experience in this field where Suzie is a rich spoilt girl who is trying to learn the art of con just for adventure. They are from very different background but something clicked between them and they start working as partners or better called as mentor protegee where Micheal helps Suzie to learn this art. As expected this business partnership turns into friendship and later a bonding more than just friendship. The fourth story is of a young girl Titli (Chitrangada Chakraborty) who is a cancer patient from a middle class family. Her parents are not capable enough to arrange the money for her treatment. But she is not into all these tensions, rather she is more focused about her star crush Dev. She calls herself much more than just a fan, she loves Dev.
All these stories are in different time zone and have their own different pace, but all are not equally good. The stories that stands out taller are the one about the old couple and the story of the lonely immigration officer. Titli’s story also have some materials to grab attention but the other story of the two thieves is the weakest one. Their track is supposed to add some funny moments but it fails as the content is not so funny. The con acts they try at different shops looks silly and unconvincing. In fact the film could have been done without their story, it was not required at all. There are some short comings in Titli’s story too. First of all the truth us, there is no Superstar in Bengali film industry in current generation, so when we see the madness of Titlii for Dev it does not look too much believable. Of course Dev is a popular star and he has lots of fans but they belong to small cities mostly. He is not a favorite among urban young girls. Here we are not given much information about the background of Titli. Also her character never looks too filmy who is supposed to be crazy for Dev from head to toe. In her talks we never see much mention of Dev’s movies, dialogues or songs. Throughout the film there is only mention of just one film that is Chaamp. Looks like the makers don’t want to spend money on copyrights for Dev’s movie clipping or songs. Another reason is director and script writer Pratim D Gupta himself is not much aware of the kind movies in which Dev has worked, so he could not incorporate moments from Dev’s movies in Titli’s personality. To make space for all these four stories, all stories have been shrunk to limited scenes only. One really wish if Pratim would have made a separate film on some of the good stories. Like the cute aged companions Barun and Charulata they deserve their own full length film. If we talk about the two twists towards the end which joins the stories in pair, one twist is really good and tough to guess (unless you have keenly followed the social media promotions of the film) but the other twist was already disclosed much before to market the film. There is cameo of Dev it was already circulated in media before the release of the film. So when he actually appears in the film it does not give that deserved surprise. In fact only his shadow in the trailers had given more surprise than his actual presence in the film.
But it does not mean the script do not have good moments. Of course it has some wonderful moments which will make you revisit the film again and again. The scenes between Barun and Charulata is too good specially the one where they spends a night in a hotel in a single room. That is a smartly written scene.There is enough good moments in Pahari’s story too. One cant forget the scene where Ramona meets Pahari to confess something. In Titli’s story, her scenes with her co-patients are quite good. And the first meeting of Micheal and Suzie is also deserves special mention as a wonderfully written and performed comic scene. Also don’t miss the end credits as it takes the stories forward. Its not as innovative as the end credits of the director’s last film Maachher Jhol but still much better than ending the film with just a promotional song.
As a director Pratim D Gupta has always shown the courage to walk in a different unconventional path and that is the best thing about him and his scripts. He knows to tell a story in a crisp way for smart audience without wasting time in spoon feeding everything in detail. Another good thing is he has a good control over budget without compromising with the story and its emotions which is very much needed in Bengali film industry. One must praise his vision for casting also. He has done very experimental casting specially for the leading men, to imagine Anjan Dutt or Ritwick Chakraborty or even Adil Hussain in those characters is not a conventional choice. But Pratim has the viosn to see that these actors will suit in those characters. That is a good sign for a director. He has been effectively supported by his talented technical team. One must mention the contribution of editor Subhajit Singha who has joined all the four stories together wonderfully. Cinematographer Soumik Halder has also worked well to give different feel and texture to each story with his lens.
In almost all of his interviews, director Pratim D Gupta mentions that he had worked with non actors in his debut film and he will not repeat that ever. He has taken that lesson very seriously and now he takes only good seasoned actors even for an one scene appearance. Same is true for Ahare Mon also, each and every actor is in terrific form in this film. The big surprise is of course Adil Hussain. Technically it’s his second Bengali film but he had played a Bengali character for the first time and his Bengali pronunciation is pitch perfect. His expressions are priceless. He has already proved his acting abilities in many Hindi movies but this is surely one of his career best performance. Anjan Dutt has played a character which is very different from the characters he had played in recent times. He has played it beautifully. Mamata Shankar has carried her character with required grace and dignity. She is perfect with every emotion. Both Anjan Dutt and Mamata Shankar has shared an awesome chemistry. Paoli Dam has limited screen time but she shines in each scene. Not only the character of Pahari but each and everyone in audience will surely loose his heart to this charismatic lady. There is nothing new to tell about Ritwick Chakraborty as an actor. With every film, Pratim D Gupta is continuously experimenting with Ritwick’s on screen image by presenting him in a never before imagined avatars and every time he excels through it effortlessly. He has been ably supported by Parno Mittra who has manged to impress with her beauty as well as acting prowess. In some of the scenes she is supposed to do overacting and she has manged to make it look like an intentional overacting which is not an easy job. And of course, Ritwick and Parno shares an adorable chemistry. Chitrangada Chakraborty had been selected through auditions as for this character a new face was strictly required. A known actor never look convincing as the fan of her contemporary actor. We are thankful to the selection team for hunting such a talented actress, hope to see her more in Bengali movies. In Ahare Mon she has played a much younger character than her real age and she has manged it very well.
There is not much scope of songs in the film, two songs Monta Ahare and Ahare Mon has been used in background. Both the songs have been composed brilliantly by Neel Dutt and one cant stop praising Sriijit Mukherji for such a wonderful lyrics in the song Monta Ahare. But the songs in the movie are just used as any random background song, not much in sync with the activities going on screen.Still it sounds nice to listen these songs in the film. Only lip sync song is the Rabindra Sangeet, Ogo Bideshini in the voice of Anjan Dutt and it comes twice in the film in parts, both time one will be mesmerized with both the voice and screen presence of Mr Dutt.
On a whole Ahare Mon is a good concept from an innovative director and writer Pratim D Gupta. There are some short comings in some stories but that can be overlooked with some superbly created moments and the magnificent acting by the whole cast. It is one collage of emotional feelings that one shares with someone special, not necessarily a lover only, it can be anyone with whom one can feel comfortable to open his heart. After watching the film your Mon will surely go Ahare for that special person.