Borunbabur Bondhu Review (4/5): A Multi-layered Socially Relevant Film For All Ages

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Anik Dutta’s ‘Borunbabur Bondhu’ speaks volumes for his credibility. It gives a tight slap on the faces of people who describe him as a ‘one film wonder man.’ At the same time the film gives a befitting reply to few directors who use slangs in their films to en-cash Box-office numbers. Well, to be honest after a long time I have watched a multi-layered Indian film which speaks on so many aspects of our lives like society, culture, tradition, inter-personal politics in relationships, opportunistic minds of the people, changing dynamics of relationship with times and so on. Above all it celebrates friendship of all ages whether it’s the friendship of school friends or friendship between a grandfather with his grandson. It throws light on you & me and becomes the mirror of our society. At times it makes you remember about Satyajit Ray’s ‘Shakha Proshakha.’ Inspite of bitter-sweet family drama there’s a sense of nostalgia which is one of the biggest highlights of this must watch film.

Soumitra Chatterjee and Ritwick Chakraborty in a still from the film.

STORY:- Borun Chakraborty is an octogenarian who isolates himself from the majority of his family members and the society. On another note, it’s the family members, relatives, neighbours and the society who neglect him for his stubborn nature and intellectual arrogance. His world revolves around his bedridden wife ‘Lolita’, his childhood friend ‘Sukumar’ and his loving grandson ‘Nemo’ as with them only he feels like himself. Borun’s rest of the family members don’t give him any importance as he doesn’t compromise with anything and seems to be an irritating person to them for his principles and values. But what happens next, this less important person turns out the most important person in the family, community and society when one of his childhood friend becomes one of the influential and respectable persons of our country yet he wishes to meet Borun at his place. All of a sudden Borun’s family members go gaga over him and he becomes the centre of attraction. They plan a grand celebration on Borun’s 81st birthday for their own benefits.
Does he pay them any favor at the end when he hardly take it from anyone for himself? Who is the special childhood friend of ‘Borun Babu?’ What’s the equation between these two characters? Do they really meet at the end of the film? How does this film become the mirror of the society? All these questions form the crux of this story.

Soumitra Chatterjee as ‘Borun Chakraborty’ in a still from the film.

POSITIVES:- Anik Dutta and Utsav Mukherjee wonderfully adopted ‘Ramapada Choudhury’s ‘Chhad’ while keeping the main essence intact in ‘Borunbabur Bondhu.’ Their taut screenplay brilliantly depicts a multi-layered storyline with ease. In fact there’s no typical melodrama in the film which we generally see in many formulaic family dramas these days. There’s death, there’re the moments of sadness, loneliness & emptiness yet it never for a moment makes you feel filmy. Loved this realistic approach and honesty towards film-making. The duo’s well written dialogues are quite effective and placed at the right times & right moments in the film. Out of all, some of the conversations between the grandfather and grandson would surely melt your heart. As a director, Anik Dutta outshines all of his previous films barring his cult film, “Bhooter Bhabishyat.”

A candid still from the film.

Performance wise Soumitra Chatterjee delivers a remarkable performance as ‘Borun Chakraborty.’ He lives this character like the captain of the ‘Chakraborty’ family. The versatile actor amazingly captures various emotions on his face. Sometimes silence speaks louder than actions for him. Whereas Madhabi Mukherjee as his ailing wife, ‘Lolita’ gives an earnest performance. Paran Bandopadhyay as ‘Borun’s childhood friend, Sukumar lends a good support. Child artist Samontak Dyuti Maitra as little ‘Nemo’ gives a brilliant performance. He adds innocence, freshness and purity in the film. Arpita Chatterjee as ‘Borunbabu’s younger son’s wife delivers a solid performance. The way Ritwick Chakraborty acts it doesn’t feel like acting, it’s behaving. Kaushik Sen as the elder son of ‘Borunbabu’ and Bidipta Chakraborty as his wife represent opportunistic society people quite convincingly. In fact they’re not alone as Barun Chanda, Sreelekha Mitra, Kausik Ghosh, Debolina Dutta, Anusha Viswanathan, Ritwick and others from the ensemble cast represent our opportunistic society people aptly in the film. Full credit goes to the captain of this ship as from the lead actor to the supporting cast of one scene – everyone fits in the narrative so well.

Arpita Chatterjee, Samontak Dyuti Maitra and Ritwick in the film.

Debajyoti Mishra’s background score reminds you about the music in ray’s films. The use of Tagore songs are so natural and spontaneous. Bidipta Chakraborty is a revelation here as a singer. Although 80-90% film is shot in the indoor yet the DOP, Avik Mukhopadhyay leaves his mark. Some of the frames are simply stunning. The use of light is pitch perfect. Arghyakamal Mitra editing is sharp and to the point. Colourist Debojyoti Ghosh deserves a special mention.

Kausik Ghosh, Anusha Viswanathan and Sreelekha Mitra in a still from the film.

NEGATIVES:- The film takes its time to establish the characters, premise in the first half. Hence a few people may find the pre-interval portion little bit slow and stretched. Next, Viewers who seek for typical masala entertainers, this film has hardly anything to offer for them.

FINAL WORDS:- All said and done, ‘Borunbabur Bondhu’ is a slice of life feel good film which should be watched with your entire family. DON’T MISS IT AT ANY COST.


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4 thoughts on “Borunbabur Bondhu Review (4/5): A Multi-layered Socially Relevant Film For All Ages

  1. BARUN BABUR BONDHU

    How important are our friends to us? Different people will have different answer and I think that is quite natural. The definition of friendship varies from person to person. Anik Dutta’s Barun Babur Bondhu showcases how differently our thought process works when we try to build a relationship. Each and everyone one of us has an unique attitude towards the various relationship we share in our life- be it a mother- son relationship , a father – son relationship , the bonding between friends etc. The movie essentially points out how our attitude towards relationship changes with the change of time and circumstances.
    In this world we come across two types of people – some are righteous and some are parasitic. In this movie Anik Dutta shows what happens when this two group lives in the same household. He tries to show how difficult it is for a righteous person to survive in this world where he is surrounded by parasites. There lies the challenge for a man to stay upright throughout his life. It may so happen that his /her own son becomes a parasite. Barun Babur Bondhu is an ode to friendship but Anik Dutta has very nicely told the tale of an upright, righteous man who fights all odds that tries to deviate him from his principles.
    Barun Babu ( Soumitra Chatterjee) is shown as a man who was very much orthodox about his principles in life. He knows his priorities well and always sticks to that. His friend Sukumar (Paran Bandhyopadhyay) informs him that their friend Punu ( the newly elected President of India ) would like to visit his place during his short visit to Kolkata. This news was a pleasant shock for Barun’s family members. Barun on the other hand was calm. Everyone swarms to Barun so that he can request the President of India to fulfil their wishes. The date of the President’s visit was fixed on 12th January which happens to be Barun’s birthday. Those who have not shown their faces for years came to greet him on that day. A grand arrangement was made by Barun’s sons. To see what happens next please go to your nearest theatre. The crux of the matter remains this – an eighty year old man, suffering from cataract all of a sudden gets all the limelight yet he pays no heed to it. The character that Soumitra Chaterjee portrays in the movie pricks our conscience throughout the movie and definitely teaches us how to stay upright amidst all odds. The letter that Barun writes to the president at the end of the movie will be etched in my heart.
    The move is an adaptation of Ramapada Chowdhury’s ‘Chhad’. Arghyakamal Mitra’s work as an editor needs a special mention. He has done a wonderful job. Alongside him the screenplay writer, Utsav Mukherhee has also contributed significantly .The film never really sounded didactic or preachy. These kind of films thrives on the dialogue and I would give full marks to Mukherjee in this regard. There was limited scope for Debajyoti Mishra in this movie to create any sort of magic in music. Tagore songs has been put to good effect in this movie.’ Purano shei diner kotha (memories of the days gone by) has been used as a refrain in this movie and it never sounded monotonous. When you search for a good bengali movie , these are your oases. I would give a 4.5 star.

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