Review of the film “Shob Bhooturey”

Director – Birsa Dasgupta

Cast – Abir Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar, Ida Dasgupta, Supriyo Dutta

Overall Rating – 3.5/5

No matter we believe in the existence of ghosts or not but horror stories excites most of us. Many of us have some childhood memories about listening to ghosts stories from the elders in our family. Birsa Dasgupta’s “Shob Bhooturey” takes us to those childhood days, as it tells a horror story in a simple way but still makes one scared at some points, exactly the way our grandparents use to tell a horror story.

The story is about a haunted school in a village which is about to be closed because of some paranormal activities going on in the school campus. In an attempt to save the school, the Head master approaches a team who investigates paranormal activities and write those stories in their magazine “Shob Bhooturey”.
The current owner of the magazine is Aniket (Abir Chatterjee) who doesn’t believe in supernatural elements and wants to stop publishing the magazine. His late father was a paranormal investigator and he used to visit haunted places to do research on it, but Aniket is no more interested to continue that practice. In spite of that he agrees to investigate the haunted activities in the school just to save that school from being shut down. In this visit he is accompanied by the editor of the magazine (Supriyo Dutta) and a mysterious girl Nandini (Sohini Sarkar) who claims that she can contact with the ghosts. How together they solve the mystery that forms the rest of the story.

The film is neither a remake of any horror film nor an adaptation of any ghost story; it is completely an original story. The good thing about the story is, it has been told in a very simply way which makes it appealing to all age groups specially the kids. The screenplay written by Kallol Lahiri, does not depend on any visual effects to scare its audience rather it tries to create scary situations. Also unlike many horror movies it does not provide the scariest moments in a dream sequence which reduces the impact of the scene when one realises that it was just a dream sequence. Here there is only one such dream scene which is acceptable. Moreover the story does not want to scare you only rather it tries to tell an emotional story too involving some innocent kids and that part will definitely touch your heart.
But that does not mean that there are absolutely no faults in the script. In fact there are flaws .The weakest part of the film is its story itself which is not convincing enough. From the beginning it tries to make us believe that the school is haunted but apart from one unfortunate incident in the opening scene it never tells us any other such story about the school. Aniket and his team go to investigate the ghostly events but what is there approach to investigate is never clear, we can only see one member in the team holding a magnifying glass as if he can see ghosts through it.

But in spite of the short comings in the script, the film is not a bad watch because of the presentation. A ghost story becomes more appealing depending on how it has been narrated more than the content. Birsa Dasgupta and his young talented technical team should be given full marks for narrating the story by creating a perfect atmosphere which covers the loop holes of the story wonderfully. Gairik Sarkar’s cinematography is the best thing about the film. He has wonderfully created the ghostly ambience with his camera. Another two major elements are background score and sound design which should be done perfectly to create scary situations and the good news is in this movie, both these departments have done fine job. Also the two songs in the opening and end credit composed by Shubho Pramanik are very nice with haunting melody.

Abir Chatterjee has underplayed his character beautifully. He has once again proved that he can make his presence felt without shouting for attention. Sohini Sarkar is a wonderful actress but for most of the part her talent has been wasted by asking her do over acting continuously. In an attempt to make her character mysterious the character has not been written with proper explanation which has affected her performance. It has been never explained why her character always behaves and talks in a strange way. Also it has been shown she is able to see ghosts since her childhood still whenever she sees a dead person she surprises as if she is experiencing something paranormal for the first time. Supriyo Dutta is doing the same thing what he does in most of the films, a failed attempt to do comedy. His character has been added to bring some light moments. Unfortunately neither his character nor his acting succeeds to generate laughter. Ida Dasgupta has made a brilliant debut at a small age. She has acting in her genes as she is the daughter of director Birsa Dasgupta and actress Bidipta Chakraborty. She has no dialogues but her big expressive eyes are effective enough to scare us. One can see a glimpse of her mother Bidipta Chakraborty in her acting and expressions.
It feels nice to see a bunch of new faces in the supporting cast and all of them are okay though none of them stands out as something extraordinary.

On a whole it is a ghost story targeted for kids with their families. It succeeds to scare to some extent especially because of the wonderful technical team. If you like Bengali horror stories then you should watch it.

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