Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose isn’t just a name, it’s an emotion which runs in the blood of all the Indians. It has been 72 years since Independence but we hardly know what actually happened to Netaji. It’s not only a shame for us, rather very disturbing. Srijit Mukherji’s ‘Gumnaami’ not only makes us feel proud about our greatest national hero but also asks pertinent questions. Don’t we have the rights to know what really happened to Netaji after his disappearance? Did he die in an airplane crash near Taiwan on 18th August 1945? Did he die in Russia or he lived as an ascetic named Gumnaami Baba in his later half of the years?
If he lived in disguise then what are the reasons behind it? Does a common man’s leader belong to only one family? Could we be able to pay him the real homage against his sacrifice and contribution for our country? Does his thoughts still remain alive in today’s times? Will it remain relevant on Tomorrow?
Well, Srijit Mukherji’s ‘Gumnaami’ tries to unmask all these mysteries, answers and reveals many truths which are surroundings on Netaji’s life. More importantly it makes you to think, feel and suffer the pain of its protagonist. The film is primarily based on the Mukherjee Commission hearings where the three possible theories on Netaji’s disappearance were discussed, debated and came to the final verdict. It also have the references of “India’s biggest cover up” by Anuj Dhar and “Conundrum: Subhas Bose’s Life After Death” by Chandrachur Ghosh and Anuj Dhar. Mukerji’s film is a wonderful documentation of one of the most important historical chapters of India.
I must say that it’s a very less utilized genre in Indian cinema and Srijit strikes gold with it. His Chandrachur Dhar although had his preconceived notions about ‘Netaji’ but with time his perception changed as long as he continues to research about him to solve this puzzle. Chandrachur never remains the same person after going through his detailed research about the forgotten hero of our country. The way he gets to see and speak with Subhasji turned Gumnaami Baba or Bhagwanji in the film, it reminds me of Munna Bhai who used to see and speak with Gandhiji in Rajkumar Hirani’s “Lage Raho Munna Bhai.”
Srijit is a master storyteller. His intelligent screenplay goes back and forth in two timelines. He should be applauded for choosing a subject which no one dares to touch before. This should be considered as his daring film till date in his filmography. An important chapter from the History which needs to be told. And How the storyteller triumphs against all the odds you have to watch it in theatre only. Special mention for his well written clap worthy power packed dialogues.
“Remember that you don’t remember” or “It’s a disgusting agreement”- such lines will stay with you even after leaving the theatre.
Anirban Bhattacharya gives a remarkable performance as ‘Chandrachur Dhar.’ The way he completely emerges himself into the character of ‘Chandrachur’ that It’s hard to believe he’s Anirban, rather he’s more of an unstable and unpredictable ‘Chandrachur.’
In fact it is very difficult to say who triumps over whom here! Prosenjit Chatterjee as “Netaji” and “Gumnaami Baba” or Anirban Bhattacharya as “Chandrachur Dhar!” According to me, both of them have given their finest performances of career. Chatterjee is believable and unforgettable, both at the same time as ‘Netaji’ whereas as ‘Gumnaami Baba’ or ‘Bhagwanji’ how amazingly he transforms himself into a monk in disguise! His body language, movement, way of talking all are treat to watch out for. Tanushree Chakraborty gives a good support in her extended cameo of ‘Ronita.’ Biplab Dasgupta is fantastic in his pivotal character.
Hats off to Somenath Kundu for his amazing prosthetic design. Look and feel wise his brilliant make up stand out. Kudos to Soumik Haldar for his stunning cinematography.
Indraadip Dasgupta’s soulful music and BGM . ‘Subhasji Subhasji’ is wonderfully sung by Sonu Nigam. His voice would surely melt your heart. Dwijendralal Roy’s Dhawno Dhanyo is beautifully recreated and ‘Kadam Kadam’ is brilliantly sung by Ishan Mitra.
On the flip side what I feel the death in Russia point isn’t explored much by the director. Although his story gives the three possibilities of Netaji’s disappearance but his primary focus stays with the two points death in plane crash and the Gumnaami Baba theory.
FINAL WORDS:- All said and done, Gumnaami is one of the finest landmark films of Indian Cinema. And undoubtedly the daring film of Srijit Mukherji till date. Don’t miss this experience at any cost.