Many consider the 1980's to be the decade of decline of Bengali cinema. But for someone like me, who has never been a 'fan' of Bengali movies made before that period, 80's was the time when Bengali films became really entertaining! I agree that the scenario turned really bad in the 90's (particularly due to the advent of a certain Swapan Saha); but the 80's was truly the era of quality entertainers, studded with gems like 'Shatru', 'Gurudakshina', 'Amar Sangee',... and obviously 'Aakrosh'!
As if to reserve the best for the last, this action-drama released at the fag end of the decade in mid-1989. And what a treat it turned out to be! This is a film that has everything: a solid compact script, great music, good action (a rarity in those days!) and above all a huge star-cast, delivering some solid performances, which will leave you in a daze by the time the show is over.
Anjan Chowdhury is perhaps the single-most reason why the 80's is such a favourite of mine. According to me, he is undeniably the best script- writer of all-time in Bengali cinema, with perhaps only Prabhat Roy coming close. Chowdhury is simply at his best in 'Aakrosh'. He spins a heady cock-tail with a plot, which appears to be modeled on the Karna- Arjuna rivalry, packs a solid punch with adequate doses of romance, emotion, comedy and action, which will keep the viewers glued for around two and half hours. It's a shame that the current film-makers have to resort to South Indian remakes nowadays, as we have simply failed to produce another script-writer like him!
The cast is simply superb. It's one of the rare films featuring Victor Bannerjee and Prosenjit in their prime; and they simply create fireworks together on-screen in what appeared to be the modern-day Karna and Arjuna respectively. Victor as 'Samrat' puts up a stellar performance; and it's simply a pity that a hero of his caliber remained mostly under-utilised in the Tollywood scene. Prosenjit is as-usual as the tough-cop; but quite impressive as the younger brother who struggles to come to terms with his mother's tainted past. Ranjit Mullick appears in one of his earliest roles as a father (something he would go onto portray several times later on) and comes into his own in the later half of the film. Everyone else of this huge ensemble cast featuring Subhendu Chatterjee, Shakuntala Barua, Debashree Roy, Ruma Guhathakurata, Haradhan Bannerjee, Nirmal Kumar and Geeta Dey succeed in creating an impact; with only the newcomer heroine appearing somewhat unconvincing. But the man who clearly stole the show was none other than the great Utpal Dutta, who simply grabs your attention in each and every scene in a comical-villain act.
This is easily the best film of Sujit Guha. Balancing such a huge star- cast with such a dynamic script is no easy job; and he performs this task with aplomb. In fact, this was his 4th film of the year along with 'Asha O Bhalobasa', 'Amar Prem' and 'Bandini'. Considering that all of them were good films which became big hits, makes his achievement even greater! How come this man went onto make films like 'Kulangar', 'Nayok' and 'Mon Mane Naa' later on, is completely beyond me!
No review would be complete without a mention of the music, composed by the unquestionable genius R.D.Burman. This was supposedly a phase where he was struggling in Bollywood, something which is hard to believe if one hears the sound-track of this film. All the 5 songs are rich in melody with 'Baje Dhol Tak-Dhi-Na-Dhin' and 'Monete Swapno' being remembered till even today. The songs act as welcome reliefs amidst the high-drama that unfolds at a break-neck speed all through.
The film is a big-budget one for its time. From its star-cast to the Bollywood fight-masters, it's quite evident all-through. The only blot appears to be the artificial set created for the 'Kali-Temple', where a lot of the action unfolds. But by then, one gets so much engrossed in the film, that it hardly creates a bother.
Overall, this should rank as one of the best film of the 1980's, providing wholesome entertainment for all age-groups. The best part is that the charm remains intact even after several repeat viewings... a good reason for me to keep visiting this film again and again!
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