One can give the film a dekko for its fresh approach and some rib-tickling comedy
First-time director Utsav Mukherjee's Half Serious is a satire on contemporary society and deals with social evils like eve-teasing, female foeticide, domestic violence et al. It also raises questions about matriarchy as an alternative option and the need for women to take charge of their lives.
This multi-layered story sees many offshoots emerging out of the central plot. So, we meet an aspiring filmmaker Aniruddha (Silajit), who wants to make a 'realistic' film. The financier, though, wants him to add some entertainment angle or else the film won't sell. And thus begins his journey of writing a unique script that shuttles between heaven and earth. In his creative pursuit, he neglects his wife (Sudipta Chakraborty) and child. Someone who propagates equality for women actually ends up fighting with his wife. The director, who also doubles up as the writer, lays out the irony of the situation.
Part of the satire also lies in the director's introduction of a corporate enterprise run by Gods. The scene shifts to heaven, where we find Brahma (Paran Bandopadhyay) heading a popular satellite channel aided by his colleagues Indra (Abhijit Roy), Shiv (Kharaj Mukherjee), Vishnu (Shankar Chakraborty), Durga (Roopa Ganguly) and Kali (Daminee Basu). Debarshi Narad (Bishwanath Basu), who can't keep a secret, is assigned to gather news from earth and pass it on to the channel to be aired. It is during one of their editorial meetings that Narad tells Brahma and associates about the problems plaguing the Dutta household.
Arka (Shaheb Bhattacherjee) is in love with Tuli, but his money-minded dad Brajeshwar Dutta, wants him to get married to their neighbour's daughter Tania. Unable to adjust to his dad's dealings, Arka leaves home. Mallika (Manasi) — Arka and Gautam's mother and wife of the not-so-successful lawyer Brajeshwar — is sick and tired of her husband's dictatorship. Arka's sister-in-law, Priyanka (Ratri Ghatak), resigns to her husband Gautam's (Anindya Banerjee) rude behavior taking it to be her destiny.
Now, Brahma seeks Durga's help to resolve the problems. Durga comes up with an idea. But whether it works or not is for you to find out.
Performance-wise Paran, Shankar and Kharaj are brilliant — with their body language, mannerisms and the mock-serious way they interact with each other. Roopa too adds a certain amount of mystery and spice. Shaheb, Mumtaz and Ridhima are impressive. Silajit looks the part of an intellectual filmmaker, struggling to pen a 'saleable' script. Even his chemistry with Sudipta — his on-screen wife — is credible. But to be fair, both the actors go a little OTT at times. Biplab is interesting as Silajit's alter-ego.
The high point of the film is its dialogues — subtle, smart and funny. Sample this: Tania, after losing a round of catfight with Tuli over Arka, says, "With one
, winter doesn't go..." or when a terrified Arka pleads Tania to leave him alone, saying, she is just like his sister, Tania quips, "
In another scene, where Brajeshwar takes Gautam and his pregnant wife to the astrologer — to know the sex of the unborn — the astrologer asks him, "Kaar bachcha?," to which an irritated Brajeshwar comments, "Corporation
." But that doesn't deter the astrologer from saying, "
saap'er tel onek achhe
," — not exactly in those words.
The director could have kept the storyline simpler and less convoluted. He goes an extra mile to establish the premise of the subplots. The second-half could have been tighter. Knocking off a few peripheral characters like Paban, Barun, Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi, Saraswati or say Tania's mother wouldn't have harmed much. Well, it's unfair to underestimate the audience all the time.
However, one can give it a dekko for its fresh approach and some rib-tickling comedy