Review of “Guptodhoner Sondhane” – Treasures hidden in heritage.
Director – Dhrubo Banerjee
Cast – Abir Chatterjee, Arjun Chakrabarty, Ishaa Saha, Rajatava Datta, Kamaleshwar Mukherjee
Overall Rating – 3.5/5
What we mean by treasure hunt , a series of clues that leads to a hidden treasure and Guptodhoner Sondhane follows these rule to a tee. But what makes it more exciting is inclusion of Bengal’s almost forgotten history in the story. Here the makers has insisted on the fact that Bengal’s heritage is not lesser than any treasure.
The story begins in a village of Bengal named Manikantapur, where the last descendant of King Nrisingha Narayan Singha Roy’s family, Harinarayan Singha Roy (Gautam Ghosh) dies in mysterious situations. After his death the only legal heir of the whole property is his sister’s son Abir (Arjun Chakraborty). Abir is a law student who lives in Kolkata with his parents and not much interested about the ancestral property in Manikantapur. But his foreign return uncle Subarna Sen aka Sona Da(Abir Chatterjee) is not as indifferent like him about it. Sona Da is a history professor in Oxford and he is too keen to visit the old mansion of Singha Roy family which is almost 350 year old. So he goes for a trip to Manikantapur along with nephew Abir. After reaching there they found that before his death Harinarayan Singha had written a letter for Abir. That letter has some riddles which is actually the clue to a hidden treasure possessed by Shah Suja, son of Moghul emperor Shah Jahan. Both Sona Da and Abir are excited to solve the riddles to get the treasure. They are joined by Abir’s childhood friend and love interest Jhinuk (Ishaa Saha). She is the daughter of Abir’s maternal uncle’s friend Akhilesh Babu (Kamaleshwar Mukherjee). But there is a local goon Dashanan Da (Rajatava Datta) who is also eyeing on the mansion and the hidden treasure. He wants possession of the property using his powers. So Sona Da and company has two tasks, one is to find the treasure solving the series of puzzles and second is to save it from the claws of Dashanan Da. No prizes for guessing that they will succeed in doing both by the end.
In one scene in the film Professor Subarana Sen says when a writer or a film maker creates something related to history they do not just rewrite historical facts, rather they tell their own story mixing references from the historical facts from that era. The same is true for the screenplay of Guptodhoner Sondhane which has been written jointly by Shubhendu Dashmunsi and director Dhrubo Banerjee. They have wonderfully infused the historical facts about Bengal’s connection with Moghuls within a treasure hunt story. It also talks about the communal harmony in Bengal during that period when a Hindu Zamindar was the favorite fellow of a Muslim emperor. Besides that it pays tribute to the brilliant sculpture artists of Bengal whose works are still available in old temples and palaces. These are one big treasure of Bengal which is mostly neglected now. Also there are multiple references of bangaliyana here and there from Bengal’s delicious cuisines to literature.The writers are praise worthy for highlighting these good things about our glorious past of Bengal but at the same time their are some minus points too in the script. Being a thriller the pace in first half is too slow. More time has been spend in Abir and Jhinuk’s love story. There is an effort to add supernatural elements which could have been avoided as most of the audience are well aware that it’s not a ghost story. In first half there is a Rabindra Sangeet which pops up all of a sudden that too not in background but on Jhinuk’s lip. That song is very much unwanted and out of sync. It also works as a speed breaker adding extra 5 minutes.
Director Dhrubo Banerjee has made a confident debut. His command over story telling is commendable. He knows exactly what he wants to tell and for which section of audience. The story never tries to be too complicated as it is mostly targeting the young kids. His technical team has given excellent support to visualize his concept perfectly on screen. Production design is too good, the real locations of old temples and palaces has been selected wisely. Soumik Haldar has created magic with his camera. He has captured the night shots wonderfully. Plus the scenic beauty of the village is visible in every frame. Bickram Ghosh’s background score is refreshing and adds required thrill. The graphics work for the animated section in title credits is also good.
Although Abir Chatterjee’s character Sona Da is not a detective but his sharp observation sills and sound knowledge makes him quite similar to modern day version of Feluda. He has played the character well but nothing much new to do from his side. Looks like he is doing a Feluda or Byomkesh just in a contemporary look. Arjun Chakrabarty’s Abir is modeled combining the curiously of Topshe and fun element of Jatayu. He has provided good comic relief. He is one fine actor who is mostly wasted in cameos in movies but here he has a full length role with a good enough scope. He has utilized this opportunity wonderfully. It’s surprising to see Ishaa Saha choosing this film as her second outing after making a tremendous debut last year. Here she has absolutely nothing to do. Maybe she just wanted to be a part of a secured successful franchise and also be a part of the biggest production house in the industry. She has managed well in her limited scope. Kamaleshwar Mukherjee is natural. Rajatava Datta’s character is too cliche and his villainous act is louder than required.
Overall Guptodhoner Sondhane is a well made treasure hunt thriller with a solid dose of bangaliyana and Bengal’s history. It has all possibilities to become a successful franchise.