Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Bombaiyer Bombete" - A Late Review

Making a bad film is not necessarily an easy thing to do, especially from a popular piece of literature portraying a generational hero, unless the director (a) ignores the story and brings on his own, or (b) messes up with the casting, or (c) makes something of zero or no production value. Sandip Ray somehow managed to do all three - and much more - in this movie.

Agreed no top-notch criminal would use an airport pay-phone today, or anyone could be arrested in a long gone MISA (POTA, probably?). Heck, Tabasum's "Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan" was last telecast about two decades ago. In post-Satya age, it was a mockery of the hero to see Feluda 70-s style attacked by two funny-looking, skinny goons. Last I saw someone attacked like that and fight out so was Biswajeet in one of his eternal ending in speed-boat chase movies with Babita and Shetty! Also, why did Feluda not scan the address book from the mobile phone of the fallen goon? They were already being phone stalked before the attack ensued. Chances are he might have found more solid clue by just dialing the last 10 numbers or so!

The movie starts with a green ambassador - same as Lalmohanbabu owns - blown up. So, you cannot really be blamed for elevated expectations. In a few moments after the title though, the movie tries very hard to get the identity of a shaky, low-budget, made for TV film. "Satyajit Ray Presents" was actually a made for TV series too, and the difference between these two are just about the same as the difference between whatever little success Rohan Gavaskar has achieved today and whatever he could possibly have achieved had he not been a Gavaskar!

I generally love movies, and number of movies panned by me is perhaps less than the number of students flunked by your high school drawing teacher. Even by that scale, BB is so horrible that when the trio watch Pulakbabu's last movie "Tirandaaj" -- and award-winning snippets like Venkatesh fighting an evil woman inside a green airplane in turbulence, or Rambha shaking her ample behind are shown -- one may actually pray that the fantasy continues rather than the idiocy.

Some other questions -

(1) Why the hell was Feluda's and Lalmohanbabu's hotel rooms were raided? This did not plug in with the rest of the movie and was not mentioned ever again. This was a wasted sequence.

(2) Why Pulakbabu is senior to Jatayu? And what was with Pulakbabu's extremely irritating accent? If they were trying to ape north Calcutta (Gorpaar) accent - they just had to watch Mondar Bose in Sonar Kella. If they were trying to show how lame Bollywood directors are, they could have just watched any of Ramgopal Verma's movies instead - where he regularly copies likes of Johars and Chopras and Lahiris too!

(3) How come Jatayu never remembered the chit from Sanyal, but when Feluda asked for it -- he produced it in a jiffy? This actor should also remember that Jatayu is not at all about hand and neck movement - in opposite alternating directions - with every sentence. People comparing him with Santosh Dutta should just stop at the baldness gene and go no beyond.

(4) "The Life Divine" is a pretty thick book - with about 1000+ pages on hardcover. Jatayu's version of "Bombaiyer Bombete" is very much like Ray's - about 130 pages. Even for Jatayu it would have been hard to mix one package up with the other.

(5) Hopefully, the loud "shooting noise" in the climax train scene is planned - and not just because they ran out of cash before sound-editing that part. It did sound very distractive, dissipated any tension that may have built up near the end and perhaps one of the worst train scenes ever filmed after "Ramgarh Ke Sholay"!

I grew up in boarding school. One of my worst nightmares was using my roommate's toothbrush sleepy eyed. Worse than other dreaded teenage nightmares like feeling a bullet in your spine, or drowning in the fishpond as the fishes start eating you -- of course after de-boning carefully to get rid of the femur and likes; the tooth-brush bit used to wake me up with sweaty palms, dry throat and an immediate eekie-eewie current making my body shiver. Watching "Bombaiyer Bombete" just so nearly mimicked the experience of using someone else's toothbrush first thing in an otherwise fine morning. Satyajit's movie version was so noticeably distinguished that Sandip Ray should really have left Feluda alone.


Yenjvoy said...

Sandip Ray is probably the worst director ever in the history of cinema. I have seen porn with more flair and technical sense than Sandip Ray's work. His cinema explains why Manik Da always appeared so sour faced in every foto I have ever seen of him.

Indrayan said...

This review of a pretty mediocre movie I thought was a bit too harsh. I do agree that Sandip Ray is one of those very average movie makes who direct feel-good Bengali movies these days.
But there have been similar wasted sequences in Sonar Kella as well.
In Sonar Kella, how on earth could Feluda recognise Mondar Bose as 'Bhabananda's chala' in the train when he had never seen the Bhabananda or his chala. He had only heard about them from Sidhu Jatha before starting for Rajasthan.

As for Pulak Ghosal's accent I guess he went overboard but some people in North Kolkata do speak with that accent. I thought Pulak Ghosal was the only saving grace in this movie.
Bibhu Bhattacharya as Jatayu is just insult to Santosh Datta's Jatayu.

nilendu said...

@ yenjvoy -

I actually liked his "PhatikchanD" and "Target". Apparently, those were more his father's creation than his. So you do have a point!

@ indrayan -

Here you opened a whole new can of worms. If I have to contract a Bengali detective, I would probably hire Byomkesh Bakshi. Pradosh Mitter is indeed sharp and more updated, but I simply can never let go of the fact that Byomkesh never ever had to resort to violence.

Someone very well known to the victim coming back in disguise to steal / murder has been a recurring (and boring!) theme in Feluda novels. However, I guess our generation did not care as much, and continued reading for the lucid language and fantastic new locales in every novel.

Leaving apart the novels, do the two earlier Feluda films leave enough impression on their own? Perhaps not on the present scale of things. But considering till early 70s these came out, Bengali detective movies were pretty lame like "Hanabari" (Premendra Mitra) that obviated the need to think - watching early Feluda movies was like having spicy food first time after a long gastronomic illness. It tasted so good, and we were slow in cherishing it lest we suffer another bout of nausea.

In all the Feluda movies - except "Baksho Rohosyo" made by Jr Ray -- the conspiracy is all revealed from beginning. Viewers know who is the culprit. Not exactly watermark of great detective thrillers.

Despite that, I would remember "Sonar Kella" first viewed on a lazy summer vacation afternoon as I kept fantasizing about Killas in Rajasthan, checking in a "guesthouse", killing a deathly African Spider with moments left before it bites me, meeting interesting companions in a long, enjoyable train rides -- and also -- no maternal harangue even for an early teen boy who can freely roam around with his cousin brother to solve crime! I would remember "Joy Baba Felunath" as a second take on 'Kasi' (Varanasi) by Ray, another travel outside home with people I would like to travel with, meeting more interesting characters (like the bodybuilder roommate) and looking into a 10 year old's life that I had just passed a while ago.

I do not honestly even consider those early two movies as detective movies. After watching "Bombaiyer Bombete" I got a feeling that Junior Ray wanted to make just a good detective movie. Perhaps he should have tried the same with a Byomkesh novel, "Kella Rohosyo" comes to mind first.

shrenik said...

HI All. I am a big fan of Satyajit Ray. Can anyone please tell me that Satyajit Ray presets 1 Tv series(1986) was based on Feluda stories or other short stories by Satyajit ray? Can anyone tell me how can i get my hands on this mini Tv series? Thank you :-)


Prashant said...

what is the name of the bodybuilder roomate in Joy baba Feluda. he used to be a Yoga expert also

Prashant said...

what was the name of the bodybuilder roomate in Joy baba feluda. he used to be a Yoga expert in real life

Nilendu said...


His name was "Biswasree" Moloy Roy. He had a training facility near Deshapriya Park. Roy died a few years ago.

Arani said...

Moloy Roy is not dead his father Monotosh Roy has died