ASUR REVIEW (4/5): A Well-Crafted Film That Combines Art With Culture, Facts With Fiction

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Have we ever thought where will God sit? Where do we place Allah? Actually, we have given shape to all our thoughts through our imagination. As every stone tells us an untold story. Every sculpture reminds us about an unsung genius and every genius is a way ahead of his times. When we get in touch with such people we often term them as ‘lunatic’ but their thoughts, their craziness and their creations create wonders for the mankind. Although Pavel’s ‘Asur’ is dedicated to one of the genius sculpture artists, Ramkinkar Baij yet it pays a fitting tribute to all those unsung artists who make us feel amazed with their exceptional creations, unique puja pandals and stunning idols. Jeet plays one such artist Kigan Mandi in the film with aplomb. How Aptly Kigan Says, “Socho agar murat ki surat nahi hoti toh kaisa hota!”

Jeet as ‘Kigan Mandi’ in ‘ASUR’

‘Asur’ deep dives into the world of a genius mind who never compromises with his creations at any cost. The way he paints within a bathroom of the train or creates Maa Durga with nets and paints the wall within a jail custody- such scenes are good enough to prove his artistic sense. Kigan proudly said that he belongs to the demon family where yes means yes and no means no. Whereas in the other side, there’s Bodhi (wonderfully played by Abir Chatterjee) who used to be a very good friend of Kigan from their college days, but turned into an enemy of Kigan for certain obvious reasons. Bodhi is an intelligent business tycoon who tackles his partners and rivals with care and cleverness. He sponsors approx 56 Durga Pujas in all over Kolkata with pride and honour. However, his personal life turns upside down with his struggling marriage. Bodhi is a complete grey character with blood & flesh. Although he’s selfish, jealous, opportunist and greedy yet he’s a caring father, a responsible husband and a genuine lover. And in between Kigan and Bodhi, there is Aditi (aptly acted by Nusrat Jahan) who’s tormented between her love interest and social responsibility. The dynamics amongst these three characters make the film really interesting.

An official poster of the film featuring Abir Chatterjee, Jeet and Nusrat Jahan.

Pavel’s ‘Asur’ brilliantly combines facts with fiction. He takes up a real life incident which took place at Deshapriya Park’s World’s largest Durga Puja (88 feet idol) pandal where The Police stopped pandal hopping for public due to certain reasons in 2015. Now he recreates the similar incident while adding fiction with facts. ‘Asur’ not only brings back the horrendous memory of that night, but also asks pertinent questions to the viewers. The obvious question which may come into your mind that how come an artist who can go to any extent to save his magical creation, is termed as ‘Asur!’ So you may think that there might be anyone else in the film who’s ‘Asur.’
Well, to be honest the demon resides within everyone of us and at the same time God also stays within us. Now its upto you to decide who’s the real ‘Asur’ in the film. Pavel’s ‘Asur’ is an embodiment of all the positive energy. It worships your inner God in its truest sense.

Jeet and Abir Chatterjee in a still from the film

POSITIVES:- ‘Asur’ is a complete turn around from Pavel’s earlier directed films whether its ‘Babar Naam Gandhiji’ Or ‘Rosogolla.’ It’s better to say that its a middle of the road cinema where art meets commerce, fact goes with fiction and culture meets with heritage. Novel concept, engrossing storyline, taut screenplay, clap worthy dialogues and skillful direction make it a must watch for both the masses and classes. The language of mainstream commercial Bengali film is changing and ‘Asur’ is the perfect example of that. It offers all the elements of an out an out commercial film yet it carries its own volumes with a difference.
Actor Jeet outshines the superstar with his brilliant performance in ‘Asur.’ His disheveled avatar with long uneven Hair, will be remembered for years. This is one of the finest performances of his career till date. Nusrat Jahan as ‘Aditi’, delivers her career best performance here. She does full justice to her powerful character with grey shades. Abir Chatterjee is the biggest surprise of this film. His ‘Bodhi’ is a layered character with a lot of different shades. Chatterjee excels with his superlative performance in the film. Special mention for the character that Rajnandini Paul plays in the film. Her presence works as a huge source of Inspiration in Kigan’s life. Paul leaves a mark in her beautiful inspiring avatar. Biplab Chatterjee is sincere as ‘Aditi’s fater in the film whereas Kushal Chakraborty is impressive in his brief role of ‘Biva Da.’

A Still from the film featuring the three lead characters.

Music is one of the key highlights of this film where both the composers Bickram Ghosh and Amit Mitra shine with their beautiful compositions.’Ami Radhar moton kalanka je chai’ is the best song from the album. Iman Chakraborty’s amazing voice, Sugato Guha’s heartfelt lines and Bickram Ghosh’s magical tunes create a memorable number. ‘Tor hoye jete chai’ is a yet another heart-melting song which deserves a mention. Wonderfully written by Dipankar and composed by Amit Mitra. Md Irfan And Sayani Palit’s voice sound so touching to the ears! Art director Ananda Adya and his team does a fantastic work in the film. Their hard work is exemplary. DOP Joydip Bose superbly captures the film with his amazing yet different types of shot in the film.

NEGATIVES:- At times Kigan’s character becomes slightly melodramatic and over the top. How could a professor of a fine arts college support an alcoholic teacher? Why there’s no police found when Kigan reaches at the Deshabandhu Park towards the climax of the film? The editing could have been more tighter and crisper, specially
in the first half.

FINAL WORDS:- All said and done, Pavel’s ‘Asur’ is a trendsetter in many ways. It deserves repeat viewing. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!


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