In Bangladesh, watching a movie till the end is somewhat of a chore. Well, to be brutally honest, it’s simply torture to sit through an entire film due to the inconsistencies, buffoonery, disjointed plots, absurd twists….the list goes on and on.
If you ask me, how I felt about this film which is going house-full, I must say, well, you will watch it till the end; it has that power to keep you glued to the seat.
Most movies hardly depict real life and some fantasies can be accepted – if you go with this attitude, then you are in for a real treat.
Ayanabaji has some flaws, which I will underline in the end, but overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable yarn, though sometimes a bit far-fetched.
Oh well, why do we go to the cinema? To escape from reality, right? Let’s look at it from that perspective. After all, when a solid work has been done, praise should come first, because for the maker, an advert guru, this is reportedly the first celluloid venture.
I am sure, he will do far better in the next!
Ayna, played by Chanchal Chowdhury, is just another guy living in the visually stunning Old part of Dhaka City. Choosing this section has worked wonders for cinematography because the rest of our city is modern, mundane and messy.
A somewhat cathartic feel is transferred to the audience sitting in the cinema halls and, at one point, I started craving for that window filled room of the protagonist.
Inconspicuous yet totally sublime!
Ayna is someone who blends in with the masses though he is not like the others.
This fellow is an actor, playing a role almost every step of the way, in the bazaar, to convince the fish seller to give him a fish for a lower price and, in more serious avatars, characters of men who he impersonates inside the jail.
He takes the place of someone who has to go to jail for some offence for a fee with the subterfuge often done in collusion with the law.
Ayna has no scruples in engaging in this charade: he is obsessed with masquerading others, this act of deception is his lifeblood.
Hence, when he is given the opportunity to become an uncouth business man facing rape allegations, he is least bothered about the ethical side of things.
An actor has a role to play, he is not here to judge.
A mistake here is the presence of the rape victim in a public court; in such cases, the woman in question is given the chance to keep herself behind the scene to avoid exposure and further mental trauma.
Partha Barua plays the role of a journalist who is not convinced by the black and white existence of Ayna, instinctively feeling there is another side of the moon, kept under wraps.
This role is played almost to perfection – Partha is not only a top singer but also a powerful actor. Just an idea: Amitabh Reza Chowdhury may toy with the concept of reprising the character of Saber, a scarred, tormented and cynical journalist for other films.
Partha will shine, I am certain!
Anyway, Ayna gets the acting apotheosis when he is requested at gun point to take up the position of a noted politician, facing charges for what seems to be an accidental killing.
He accepts and unlike the previous times when the court usually acquitted the accused, this time the politician, played by Ayna inside prison, is found guilty and handed the death sentence.
Again, a little flaw here: one killing does not result in the death sentence because such cases can be prolonged for ages, with the aid of legal loopholes.
However, for the sake of the movie, we accepted it.
Won’t give you the plot – that would be a spoiler but the ending stretches credibility.
Not that we don’t like it; in fact, we love it but, it’s a bit incredulous.
However, the biggest treat is that it gripped the audience till the end. And, there are some fascinating bits – especially shots of the Sadarghat Terminal.
Every movie creates a mood – either of anxiety, exuberance or of irritation. This creates a sense of delicious anticipation – that is the film’s greatest achievement.
The romance bits, though a bit naïve, aren’t bad either. Nabila sparkles!
There is triumph of ideals over corruption, with a young police officer taking on the vile political monster – something that is our inner hope but almost a chimera in the real world.
In between all this, there is a line within the movie: in this society everything is possible when one has power and money.
Despite the victory of the right, somehow, it’s that line which kept on coming back.
Refreshed from the celluloid fantasy of Ayna, I stepped into the real word, that one sentence hammering in my head.
Call me cynical, term me an unromantic but all around us, in this grand game of acting in life, what else can be more true?