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(Rated on the basis of watching in theatre in second week of release)
Plot: The son of a rich businessman, Rahul undertakes a bike-journey across the rural-belt of West Bengal in search of his lost love, Nandini. On the way, he is joined by a bike-thief, Shibu who has an eye on Rahul's Japanese two-wheeler. Will they succeed in their endeavours?
Review: The genre of road-movies has been well explored in Hollywood classics like "Easy Rider"(1969) and "Motorcycle Diaries"(2004). Inspired from them, Radhakrishna Jagarlamudi directed his Telugu hit, "Gamyam"(2008). Yet, the concept of road-movies had been non- existent in Bengali cinema. That was until one of the industry's most popular directors, Raj Chakraborty made "Dui Prithibi"(2010); which was an official remake of "Gamyam".
The title, meaning two worlds, carries multiple significances. The obvious one, as depicted in the film, is the status-conflict between Rahul and Nandini. While Rahul feels suffocated in Nandini's underprivileged surroundings; Nandini can't accept the immorality of Rahul's elite friend-circle. Next reasoning could be the contrasting natures of the two male leads. While Rahul is a calm, quiet and thinking person; Shibu is a carefree and talkative soul. But the biggest significance, is the bringing together of the very distinct worlds of parallel and mainstream Bengali cinema. As a result, one neither sees melodrama or larger-than-life gimmicks, nor boring conversations or complicated narratives. Instead, it's cinema that's entertaining as well as thought-provoking.
Making a road-movie is expensive but prospects of recovery are less; because the masses can find the script monotonous and boring. But N.K.Salil negates that threat with his never-ending flow of cracking, hilarious dialogues that keep the viewers thoroughly entertained. Some emotional ones, like Shibu's message to the Maoist-leader, also strike a chord. And this one's special: "Bhalobasa bhalobase sudhui take/ Bhalobese bhalobasai bedhe je rakhe". Somak Mukherjee's camera presents Kolkata and the countryside in an unprecedentedly attractive avatar. The production-values, including the Kawasaki Ninja, are at par with Bollywood. Raj employs a realistic treatment to the film. This reviewer would have preferred a more commercialized approach (increasing the Maoist-angle and the Shibu- Parul romance; and a crisper second half); but the makers were consciously targeting the urban audience which is commendable.
The film boasts a dream star-cast comprising matinée-idols Dev, Jeet, and Koel. But despite their mass-following, none of them were revered for their acting; with the former being labeled a 'non-actor'! Yet all of them delivered their best performances till then, as if they were on a joint-mission to answer their critics! Jeet pulls off a virtual double-role of the arrogant, disregarding Rahul of flashbacks and the quiet, repenting Rahul of present with tremendous conviction. Koel, playing her age for a change, puts in a surprisingly matured, graceful and restrained performance besides looking her most beautiful. Her chemistry with Jeet is sweet and as usual crackling; appearing to be made-for-each-other. Dev delivers his best act till date, nicely blending into the character of a bike-thief. His antiques, mannerisms and dialogues, like "I'm here; No fear!" bring a smile on the face. His talkative, restless nature complements Jeet's quiet and calm avatar. They share a solid buddy-chemistry like Jai-Veeru and hook the audience's attention whenever they come together on screen, especially in the fight-scene with the Maoists. Bolly-import Barkha Sengupta is convincing in her single scene and so are the support-cast. But Kharaj Mukherjee and Master Bittu are a SCREAM! Credit goes to Raj for extracting the best from his cast, like in all his previous films. Only time he loses his grip is during the fair fight-scene where Shibu's dialogues are quite cliché and his fights unnecessarily comic, back-dated and unconvincing. Unexpected and disappointing!
The title track and 'Bol Na Aar' composed by Jeet Gannguli are quite good with the former having some thoughtful lyrics by Prosen. It's tragic version, intended to be like the one in "Prem Aamar"(2009), falls short of that haunting score and could have been better. Barkha's item- number 'Pyarelal', superbly composed by Samidh-Rishi and choreographed by D.Shankaraiyyah recreates the magic of 'Kajra Re' and 'Beedi Jalaile'. The other songs, shot at the picturesque locales of Venice, are captured well by Sirsha Ray with the Jeet-Koel chemistry in full flight on a gondola. 'Khuda Jane' from "Bachna Ae Haseeno"(2008) was also shot there; which testifies how Tollywood is matching upto Bollywood. But overall the music is disappointing compared to Raj's previous films where all the songs were good, as 'Yaara Ve' is pretty average and the only good thing about it is its picturisation with all the four leads together. The background music by Indradeep Dasgupta is unimpressive except for the comic refrain used for Shibu and the passionate melody during the confrontation scene with the Maoist-leader.
This film has had a tremendous impact on this reviewer. From the moment I stepped out of the theatre, my outlook towards the underprivileged sections transformed. Watching Shibu, a representative of the lower strata, sacrifice his life for people with whom he had barely few day's acquaintance; evoked sympathy for the nearby tea-vendors, street- dwellers, etc. I felt like doing something for them! This was the biggest impact a film had on me in my entire big-screen-movie-viewing- experience.
"Dui Prithibi" promised a lot and delivered even more. It's recommended for the 'dui prithibi' of viewers who love their entertainers with big star-casts and intellectuals who appreciate social-messages. And of- course, it will hold a special corner in my heart forever!
Box-Office Verdict: The film had a record-breaking first week; but then the collections fell due to various reasons. It couldn't attract the desired urban turnout due to clash with "Autograph"; the script wasn't entertaining enough for the rural masses and most significantly, Dev's fans couldn't accept his on-screen demise. Yet, it was declared a 'hit' by almost all newspapers. According to a report published by FICCI and Deloitte, the film earned a revenue of INR 6.5 crores; thus becoming the highest grosser of 2010.
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