Review of the movie “Switzerland” – An interesting story idea dragged by a cliché writing
Director – Sauvik Kundu
Cast – Abir Chatterjee, Rukmini Maitra, Ambarish Bhattacharya, Arun Mukhopadhyay
Switzerland directed by debutante director Sauvik Kundu talks about the day to day struggles of middle class families to fulfill their aspirations. The concept is very engaging and relatable but the cliché writing has failed to match the potential of the story idea. Despite of a capable lead cast and some really engaging moments the final outcome remains an average entertainer only.
The story is about a happily married couple with two kids, Shibu (Abir Chatterjee) and Rumi (Rukmini Maitra). Shibu is a car salesman and Rumi is a school teacher. Rumi had married Shibu going against her family members. They were not ready to approve Shibu as her husband because of his poor financial condition. Rumi’s parents accepted the relationship later, but her aunt and cousin brother never skip any chance to taunt Shibu and Rumi about their financial condition whenever they meet. During one such family get together to counter the mean comments of the relatives, Shibu announces that they are going to Switzerland for a holiday trip next year. Although he said this in the heat of the moment but later he realized it is not possible to back out from the plan otherwise they will lose their face in the family. A holiday tour to Switzerland is too costly for a middle class couple like Shibu and Rumi, how they will arrange the huge amount of money to fulfill this dream that forms the rest of the story.
The story is quite similar with 2010 Hindi movie Do Dooni Chaar which was also about a middle class family’s struggle to achieve a dream to save their family prestige. But the execution is very different in both the films. Do Dooni Chaar was too close to reality in its presentation on the other hand Switzerland is too melodramatic in most of the part. The lead protagonists and their situation in the film are very familiar with every middle class family so the film had a good potential to build a strong connection with the audiences. It succeeds to make that connection in the beginning but the bond starts getting weaker as the story progresses. The first half is promising but it derails completely in the second half, mostly because of the over the top melodrama and too predicable plot twists. The unnecessary sub plots and characters worsens the situation even more. For example there was no need for a backstory of Rumi’s aunt as it adds nothing to the plot other than running time. Same can be said about the subplot involving Rumi’s brother and his foreigner girlfriend. No one knows the purpose of their existence in the film. The Jagadhatri Puja song featuring Jeet in a cameo is totally misplaced it could have worked better in the end credit titles just as a promotional song.
Abir Chatterjee has blended himself very well with the character. He has looked convincing for most of the part except for the loud expressions in the action sequence, although it is not his fault as an actor rather it is an issue with direction. Rukmini Maitra is a good actress and she has shined in some scenes. But just like Abir, her performance has also suffered because of bad direction for most of the part. Watch out her in the scene where she is having a fight with Abir over some misunderstanding between them, she is too loud in that scene that one can feel pity for her, how this talented actress has been wasted by the director. Among the supporting cast Ambarish Bhattacharya and Arun Mukhopadhyay has done decent work. The two child actors are too caricaturist and the rest of the cast looks like they have came straight from the sets of a TV serial.
Sauvik Kundu who has made his directorial debut with the film looks heavily inspired by the style of Shiboprosad-Nandita duo. It is good for a budding filmmaker to learn from his seniors but he should have his own distinct style to make his own identity. He has failed to create the required impact in many of the emotional moments because of the over the top melodrama. There is an abrupt tonal shift in his narrative style some scenes are handled with so maturity like the scene where Shibu meets his old friend to get his money back on the other hand the scene at a police station before the climax can give tough competition to any TV serial for melodrama. Savvy’s songs are good although the Dhak Baaja song is badly placed in the film. His background score is also effective. Art director Ananda Adhya has done a good job to give Shibu and Rumi’s house an authentic look.
Overall Switzerland is a film with relatable story and characters that will appeal to the family audiences. It has some engaging moments and good lead pair but it could have been a much better film with a better written screenplay.