Review of “Byomkesh Gowtro” – Face off between Satyanweshi & Satyakam
Director – Arindam Sil
Cast – Abir Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar, Rahul Banerjee, Arjun Chakraborty, Anjan Dutt, Priyanka Sarkar, Suprobhat Das, Harsh Chhaya
Overall Rating – 3.5/5
Byomkesh movies directed by Arindam Sil is not just a regular whodunnit thriller or a line by line adaptation of Sharadindu Bandopadhyay stories, it is always much more than that. It focuses more on the equations between the trio of Byomkesh , Satyabati and Ajit, it gives a glimpse of the romance between Byomkesh and Satyabati, it enriches our knowledge with regular references of literature and mythology, also it works as a travelogue as director Sil never confines his Byomkesh in Kolkata only. All these factors makes his Byomkesh movies more special even for the people who are already aware of the story. The latest offering on this series, Byomkesh Gowtro is also not an exception.
Byomkesh Gowtro is based on the story Rakter Daag which is crime thriller related with dark complex human relationships. Director Arindam Sil has made minor changes with the place and time, the story has been shifted to Mussoorie of 1952 in stead of Calcutta of 1956. This is one of those rare stories where Byomkesh was appointed to investigate a murder mystery much before the victim got killed and interestingly victim himself had appointed Byomkesh for this work. Satyakam Das (Arjun Chakrabarty) an alcoholic, womanizer from Mussoorie who describes himself as the most popular as well as the notorious man in town. He comes to Byomkesh with an offer to investigate his murder mystery when he will be killed as he is very much sure that someone is going to kill him. He is a 25 year old man with strange nature, he knows who want to murder him but he want to throw this challenge to to Byomkesh to find out the culprit. He do not takes any thing seriously in his life, he has relationship with many women but he is not ready to commit with any of them. In fact he don’t even share a good relationship with his parents Ushapoti (Anjan Dutt) and Suchitra (Baishakhi Marjit). He has relationship with many women but the film mainly focuses on three such girls, Emily (Priyanka Sarkar), a dancer and singer in a local bar; Chumki (Sauraseni Maitra), a refugee from East Pakistan who is also the niece of Ushapoti and Meera (Bibriti Chatterjee) the daughter of Inspector Purander Pandey (Harsh Chhaya) who is also a friend of Byomkesh. Interestingly these three girls are more or less aware of each other’s presence in Satyakam’s life but still they love him and want to settle with him in their future. There is one more character related with Satyakam and he is Shitangshu (Suprobhat Das) who is the lover of Emily and brother of Chumki. Satyakam has more enemies than friends in his life because of his rude behavior and pervert nature. So when he actually gets murdered the list of probable suspects is quite long as many people have strong motives to murder him. But who is the actual murderer? obviously Byomkesh will answer that in the climax.
The screenplay written by Padmanabha Dasgupta and Arindam Sil, is engaging from the beginning. Specially the first is half is more interesting as it is dominated by the colorful character of Satyakam. Although it has few shortcomings too,there is a big revelation before the climax which does not provide the required impact, it could have been handled in a better way. Also there are two unnecessary fight sequences involving hand to hand battle which does not look realistic enough to match with the rest of the film. These sequences could have been avoided or could have been designed in a more realistic way.
As a director Arindam Sil has done a good job. He knows how to extract best performance from his cast and crew. The perfect detailing for recreation of that particular period shows his good observation for detailing. Undoubtedly his technical team specially the production design and costume department has worked hard to give the film an authentic look and feel. Bickram Ghosh’s background is always refreshing and the songs composed by him is also good. Subhankar Bhar has brilliantly captured the scenic beauty of Mussoorie.
After playing the character of Satyanweshi Byomkesh in so many films, Abir Chatterjee is now very much comfortable in this character. He looks the perfect blend of intelligence and smartness combined with bangaliyana. Sohini Sarkar is in very good form as Satyabati. Both Abir and Sohini shares an amazing chemistry. Rahul Banerjee looks convincing as Ajit in his first attempt (if we do not consider his brief appearance as Ajit in Bidaay Byomkesh). He has shown a good comic timing to provide some chuckles without being to loud to grab attention. Arjun Chakrabarty is a good actor who gets lesser opportunities to explore his talent. In Byomkesh Gowtro he has got a chance to play one of the most interesting antagonist of Byomkesh stories and he has done full justice with this character. Kudos to director Arindam Sil for believing in Arjun Chakrabarty to play a character which is exactly opposite of his on screen image of a good boy. For most of the part his acting is sincere, only towards the climax when Satyakam faces a big revelation at that point his acting is little over the top. Anjan Dutt and Baishakhi Marjit are perfect as Ushapoti and Suchitra. Baishakhi has also impressed with her singing skills in two of the raag based songs in the film. Priyanaka Sarkar looks very different as the catholic bar dancer. She is quite good with her performance in the song Bisher Dhowaye. Apart from that she has nothing much to do. Sauraseni Maitra has attempted a non glamorous character of a village girl for the first time and she is impressive in her character. Harsh Chhaya is effective as the inspector. Its good to see him back in Byomkesh movies after Har Har Byomkesh. Suprobhat Das has once again showcased his acting skills after Aami Ashbo Phirey. Now he deserves more significant characters in future.
Overall Byomkesh Gowtro is an engaging crime thriller with some sincere effort from a talented cast and crew. This Durga puja everyone should go for this trip to Mussoorie with the trio of Satyanweshi, Satyabati and Satyakam.