In a Quora post, somebody asked me that which film industry has degraded the most and the instant answer that came to my mind is the Bengali film industry. Being a Bengali, it is sad that I’ve to say this. I try to find the good things but the Bengali film industry has such a huge rift between commercial and art-house films, that the directors or producers have clearly lost all perspective. Commercial cinema makers don’t care so they just make movies for the lowest common denominator. Art-house movie-makers apparently have a social circle of their own. They pat their own backs about what they have made and they don’t care about the real flaws in their movies. It is a continuous loop which keeps repeating every year and nobody seems to bring any change to it.

DIRECTION – There is a single most fundamental flaw in Arindam Sil’s direction is over-stretching ever single scene. Arindam underestimates the audience very, very much due to which he has to extend every scene showcasing a certain character’s attributes. That reduces the suspense, and when the suspense from a detective movie is gone then you clearly lose interest. This has happened again and again starting from Buno Hansh to Har Har Byomkesh and now Ebar Shabor. There is no tension, is what I am trying to say. It’s a detective movie and everything feels like a drag. The audience is being dragged along with the character, the side-characters are being dragged by unnecessary scenes and the music is just poking you irritatingly. I have seen Indie movies and movies made by graduate students with more maturity in their movies. Everything was so rubbed in my face that I felt like screaming,” HEY! I get it”. There is even an interval without a cliff-hanger. Can you believe it? The purpose of the interval is that you’re interested that what is going to happen in the next half. It just comes to a halt without any rhyme or reason. Har Har Byomkesh managed to kept me interested because it has a story which was written by one of the most acclaimed writers. Here Arindam Sil tries to give a similar feel and that brings me to the screenplay.

SCREENPLAY – The screenplay was just too pretentious. The screenplay was so busy trying to glorify Shabor Dasgupta that there wasn’t any room for character development. Shabor doesn’t have any character arc. He begins a prick and ends a prick. The movie doesn’t take time to show us his perspective. Instead it takes time to show the daily life of every other character and even that doesn’t lead to anything, at all. Even a single joke that revolves around the educational background of Shabor’s assistant is used a total of 7 times.  Every single scene had so much in it. There is a sleazy character and there is no effort to support that with witty dialogue-writing. Instead, the whole scene is littered with pictures of naked women and magazines with naked women. There is a poor guy, he is the ex-lover of the victim. How do you show it? Make him smoke a lot of beedi which shows he has no money and make him blurt out expletives. You see what I am saying? There is no subtext or subtle story-telling. Everything is rammed down your throat. Hell, the opening scene had absolutely no significance at all. There was a long narration where something was mentioned that the man killed himself out of depression. That’s it. It began in such a way that I was convinced that had something to do with the story. I have no idea that if it was intentional or not but it kept bugging me until that narration began and I was frustrated to know that that opening scene had no significance. Now, when you have such a screenplay there is a mighty tool which can help it feel tight. That is editing. That brings me to the most disturbing aspect of the movie.

EDITING – Let me start with this. A guy is getting onto a bike. A man is getting off the seat so that the owner can sit on the bike. That’s it. That scene has 5 cuts. Before the interval, Shabor meets Mitali’s sister and that scene has 4 cuts. Just to establish the surprise. Reason? No reason. The chase scene is sometimes sped up and again slowed down because it has no substance. There are no consequences and in order to cover it up, bucketfuls of editing is done to make it look snappy. The music. What was going on with the music? It sounded like somebody just slammed his/her head on a keyboard and slapped it in the respective scenes. The music didn’t compliment the scene or convey the emotion. It was that random. Coming to the camera-work and I am putting it in this section because I don’t want to dedicate another section for that. The camera-work is horrendous which makes the editing even more difficult. Different types of camera are used to show one single scene, ranging from a cheap camera to a go-pro to a standard camera. Now when the camera shoots back to another part of the frame, the change in the type of camera becomes obvious and that just put me out of the seriousness of the scene every time.

ACTING – The only performance that is even worth mentioning is Ritwick Chakraborty. He brought out the character right from the get go. Others were just themselves. At this day and age we know what a detective looks like and Saswata’s Shabor doesn’t look anything like one. June, Debolina and Dipankar Dey are way over the top. Abir, Payel and Swastika were basically playing themselves and that’s that.

FINAL VERDICT – Another addition to the list of passable Bengali movies. My only advice to the director is to watch more movies from all over the world before patting your own back.

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