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Debibaran (1988)

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Cast

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Ranjit Mallick
Dipankar Dey
Anup Kumar
Kali Bannerjee
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29 July 1988 (India)  »

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Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth!
28 October 2014 | by (India) – See all my reviews

I am an unapologetic aficionado of 80's Bengali cinema. The look-&-feel, star-cast, music and potboiler entertainment of that period mesmerises me no end. But here was a film that had all the ingredients of delivering an overwhelming experience;... but alas, it eventually falls far short of that.

The film has almost all the necessary ingredients that make an ideal potboiler: an ensemble star-cast, good picture quality, impressive production-values, sleek action-sequences and memorable music. But the only thing that the film lacks is a well-bound script! This is especially disappointing as it was the genius Anjan Chowdhury who had helmed this department. Having churned out solid action-dramas like 'Shatru' (1984), 'Aakrosh' (1989), 'Nabab' (1991), 'Indrajit' (1993), 'Protibaad' (2001), 'Tulkalam' (2007), etc one certainly expected better things from him; especially as the plot had serious potential.

The film is a flawed multi-starrer. The 1st 1 hour is good where Ranjit Mullick alone stands up against the wrong-doings of the baddie 'Yudhisthir' played by Dipankar Dey. But as Soumitra Chatterjee and Prosenjit step into the picture, the film begins to loose pace. The 3 of them move about together trying to cast the net around Yudhisthir. Till 1 point it's a treat to watch these 3 superstars moving shoulder-to-shoulder in one frame; but after a point one realises that the story is going nowhere. Interspersed with some song-&-dance sequences, the film bounces back to life in the last half-an-hour with a particularly well-executed climax.

The cast has a plethora of stars; but none of them manage to shine through. Ranjit Mullick is his usual self in the 1st half but gets overshadowed after the entry of Soumitra, who given his age does a fair job as the gun-trotting Colonel. But it's Prosenjit who is the biggest disappointment as he hardly has anything to do, except for a couple of song-&-dance sequences and a well-directed fight sequence near the end. Even Anup Kumar is portrayed as a hero (with the only Kishore Kumar number in the film going to his credit) and also supposedly having a romantic track with Papiya Adhikary that is mysteriously left unexplored. In fact Papiya's character is also more of a 'hero' who tries to avenge her mother's death; but hardly gets any screen-time after the 1st 30 minutes! Debashree Roy and Sumitra Mukherjee also engage only occasionally. With all the heroes getting lost in the crowd, it's Dipankar Dey as the lone villain who makes the biggest impression. He gets the meatiest role in the film and virtually hogs the entire limelight. And he sure does full justice to his bad man act.

The music by Bappi Lahiri is certainly a highlight with all the 5 songs (including a full Hindi number) being quite hummable. 'Main Hoon Payra' and 'Sohoje Jayna Chena' stand out among the lot. The background music is littered with the regular pulsating numbers; but they are so good that it never bothers anytime.

2nd-time director Shrikanta Guhathakurata does an admirable job; and so do the producers in not compromising on the budget. But it seems to be a case of casting the big names before and then forcefully fitting them into the script, as the story didn't need so many heroes. It would have been ideal if the characters of Prosenjit & Anup Kumar and Debashree Roy & Papiya Adhikary got merged. It would have opened up more space for their romantic track to blossom and also create room for another villain to make the battle (and the 2nd half) more intriguing!

But all in all, the film has a rich 80's flavour which kept me going even when the pace had dropped. Combining with the huge star-cast and enjoyable music, the film is certainly worth a one-time watch. It might not make you urge for a 2nd helping; but it can sure satiate your appetite!


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