No Dorai: Dare to Surf

KSR Saeed | Published: 00:00, Dec 29,2019


A movie set in the picturesque Cox’s Bazar telling the story of a female surfer who struggles to maintain social expectations and pursuing her dream. Directed by Taneem Rahman Angshu, No Dorai – Dare to Surf (2019) is the tale of a strong young woman who is about to emancipate her from social restrains. KSR Saeed reviews the film

TANEEM Rahman Angshu directed No Doari – dare to Surf is released on November 29 in the theatres. Different multiplexes are currently running shows of the movie.

As Cox’s Bazar is an international tourists’ destination, a lot of local youth are interested in surfing by watching foreigners indulging in this sports. The protagonist of the film, Ayesha, is one such young female surfer.

Even though, Ayesha has a fantastic opportunity to change her economic condition, her family became an obstacle on the path of her dream — this is how the story proceeds.

Even movie has a reason behind it. Usually, the directors make movies keeping behind in mind two very specific reasons. The first, if the director feels the urge to express him/herself on a specific issue. The second is that if a producer feels the necessity to finance a movie. That necessity can be business, publicity or simply wish to invest in artistic endeavours.  

No Dorai falls under the second category. This is simply a cinema project.

The plot of the movie is Cox’s Bazar surfing scenario and feminism. Surfing in Cox’s Bazar is still in its infancy level as a sport. This cinema does not depict surfing as a sport or goes in details to the skills required for the sport. No Dorai simply portrays surfing as a super-power of the characters; the type of super-power that protagonists possess in fictions.

The movie, time and again, tries to express one single message — women can take their own decision. This message is given through surfing.

Even though, the plot seems interesting at the first glance, however, the film fails to establish either of its agendas.

The movie is mostly shot in Chittagong dialect, though there were uses of English in some parts of the movie. There are subtitles during the English conversation however, most of the audience felt the necessity of Bangla subtitle during Chittagong dialect dialogues.

The portrayal of the Cox’s Bazar is very much fictional which becomes utterly evident during the screen time.

Screen play plays a major role to make a film enjoyable. For example, if a subject matter requires two sentences to express the essence then ten sentences to express the same subject becomes boring and redundant. The same happens here too.

The screen play of No Dorai by Shyamal Sengupta is extremely weak. The entire movie is very melodramatic. The unnecessary melodramatic scenes were irritating. There were clear lacks of impactful dialogues. The performers were deliberately killing time with unnecessary dialogues only for the sake of talking.

Three-act formula consisting of — setup, build, and payoff — is a universally accepted basic formula for film making. The movie could have used this very basic formula to make the film a bit more enjoyable to seasoned audience.

The director’s presence feels scattered across the movie. He seems like a director who does not know what he is making and why he is making this exact film. As a director, his performance is not up to the mark and he even seems underprepared to undertake a full length cinema. Otherwise, I do not see any reason of making the almost three hour long film.  

However, a director should not be judged on a single performance. I would love to see him learn from the mistakes of this film and be able to tell what he wants to say in his next films.

Visual plays the major role during the promotion of the movie that created quite hype among the urban movie lovers. Sumon Sarker, the cinematographer of the film has a strong sense of what he is doing. However, he fails to use the camera angels and compositions according to the emotions and situations of the scenes. As a result, the gap between the narrative and camera audience widens only. The images were beautiful in their own rights but an image without reason quickly bores the audience.

Uses of drone shots were at abundance, unnecessary at times. Lights and colours are deliberately used in cinemas to intensify the emotions but the film fails to do that too. However, Sumon has immense possibility and if he manages to learn from these mistakes, he will produce some meaningful works in the future.

The editing of the movie is also flawed — the editor has excellent technological expertise but lacks editing sense. S/he only joins shots after shots. S/he does not have a clear understanding of linear shots or jump cut editing.

The background music of any film is essential. The music helped the audience to connect with the story of the film. When audio and video of a film becomes synchronised, then the audience can relate more to the story, can come closer to the characters.

The background music of No Dorai fails in this department too. The music could not emotionally connect the audience with the situation of the movie. No Dorai’s background gives the feel of a random travel video in Youtube.

One of the music tracks of the movie ‘Jontrona’ gained popularity among music lovers in different social media platforms. However, the song does not have specific purpose in the story of the film.

When the script of a film is weak, the space of good acting shrinks. In such scenarios, talented actors manage to bring some good out of their acting however this is not the case with No Doari. The casting was poor. No characters other than Ayesha’s husband could do justice to their screen time. Most of the actors continued the trend of melodramatic loud acting.    

Sunerah Binte Kamal played the protagonist Ayesha’s role. The character has multiple layers with ample space for acting. Sunerah worked hard. She even tried harder, in some scenes, to make a connection with the audience but that too in vain. Her expressions lacked credibility above all.

Shariful Razz played by Sohel is the hero of the movie. His character is not that much important to the development of the story. He becomes important only because a heroine needs a hero. The character gets enough screen time with ample opportunity to act but did little justice to the chances. Apparently, he spends way more time in gym rather than rehearsing his character which is evident in his acting.

Amir plays the role Sayed Babu. The character is strong but the acting is weak. This character could have been the backbone of the movie and the story but nothing of this sort happened. Amir acted in a melodramatic way throughout the screen time. His acting tempo remains stagnant. His expressions are lacklustre and boring.  

Esther plays the Josefine Lindegaard role. The character is a documentary filmmaker. The acting of this character is better than other foreigners. 

Liyakat plays Wasim’s character. He understands that villain’s role demands loud actions, if he could tame his emotions a bit, the character could have been a powerful one.

Not every department of the film fails in their job. Works of costumes, art directions and make-up departments are praise worthy.

These kinds of project films are in trend these days. However, to make a decent movie, the project needs to recruit the right crews, right casting and most importantly the right script. The departments of the film could not give even their average performance.

Star Cineplex, the producer of the film, should learn from these mistakes and try to overcome these shortcomings in their future projects.

There were a lot of complexities surrounding this movie in the sensor board in accusation of hurting religious belief — which is truly sad. Demands to take down the movie from theatres on these grounds are baseless.

The movie, without putting much effort, manages to bore the audience to death. This was a complete waste of money and technology.  

KSR Saeed is a poet, film maker and critic.

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