There's only one question: How did Subhanjan Roy manage to draw housefull crowd on the opening day?
Question # 1: Why would a receptionist of a hotel in the middle of nowhere be dressed worse than an item girl of a C-grade movie?
Question # 2: If extreme close-ups were part of the director's scheme of things, why coat the actors' faces with greasepaint and not have proper ventilation around? Sweat mixed with gooey makeup dripping from their faces is not exactly a palatable idea during a matinee show, right after a hearty lunch.
Question # 3: Why does the government bombard film goers with warnings about the harmful effects of smoking on the lungs when the director of the movie is hell-bent on proving that smoking actually affects the liver?
These were the three of the many questions that arose in the reviewer's mind within the first 30 minutes into
, a whodunnit-cum-treasure-hunt saga by Subhanjan Roy. A 'Hotel California' in the middle of, not the dark desert highway but green hills of somewhere in North Bengal, we presume, hides a dirty secret and a crore beneath its murky depths. It's thus natural to jump to conclusions - arm-rest-clasping, knot-in-the-stomach, edge-of-the-seat, Hitchcock-esque suspense. Wishful thinking is welcome. Except, replace suspense with suspension of disbelief. Guests at Hotel California (we name the place thus not for want of a better name but since the director has decided to make do without one) can neither check out any time they like nor can they leave. Two murders in the premises and they are holed up, probably for good.
The characters are, predictably, flawed. A doctor who carries his paraphernalia in a laptop bag, a swimming champion who wears branded clothes but '
chhera, phata juto
', a robber-turned-aspiring singer... Their flaws, thus, make them usual and equal suspects in the case. Enter
Vikram, played by Arnab Banerjee, who, with his three-ounce brain, proves too feeble a force to solve such a complex crime. He turns to the
. Mama, played by Sumit Samaddar (yes, the Bangal from
), has a brain that works faster than IBM's 6-core processor. He can deduce a person's character from his handwriting, a person's hobby from his gait. He's a graphologist, a cryptologist (Robert Langdon's got competition), a parapsychologist and a pharmacist rolled into one. Teaming up with
daroga babu, Mama-bhagne
set out to solve this crime. Their motto? Close your eyes to see the real thing. And that's exactly what the reviewer did!
The movie springs surprises both good and bad. The good ones: The way Mama solves the mystery of the hand-written note found in victim # 1's pocket, the way each character comes undone, layer by layer, to reveal evil intentions, the deeply-engaging soundtrack and the lack of songs. The bad ones: An unnecessary lip-lock over a dead body bang in the beginning, extreme close shots that revealed even the plaque between the actors' teeth and corny dialogues. Sample these: "
Aami toh narai na....dorjar kora
" and "
Angul tule kotha bolbo na toh ki tule bolbo
Sumit Samaddar as the
Mama is good. Debaparna Chakraborty emotes appropriately at appropriate junctures. Mrinal Mukherjee, the elderly gentleman is, well, the way he's supposed to be, elderly, endearing and wise. There's only one question: How did Subhanjan Roy manage to draw housefull crowd on the opening day? The