Kathbirali: the love story of rural Bangladesh

Rahat Karim | Published: 00:00, Feb 02,2020


The first directorial attempt of Niamul Mukta results in Kathbirali (2020) which tells the story of a Bangladeshi couple in a rural setting. The innocence of lovers, brilliant portrayal of the beauty of rural Bangladesh, exploitation of local powerful people and a love turning into betrayal are some of the major themes of the movie, reviews Rahat Karim  

KATHBIRALI is the first Bangla film to be released in this year, on January 17, 2020. The film is directed by Niamul Mukta. It is also his debut film. Kathbirali is the story of a couple and their struggle to keep the love alive.

This is a simple romantic story set in the rural Bangladesh. The film has been distributed by Jazz Multimedia. Kathbirali has a typical approach to Bangla film but it is worth watching.

The film starts with an outdoor shot in silhouette, during night a man blowing whistle and a man trying to peep through a kitchen and trying to contact a girl, Kajal. 

She gets scared and title of the movie pops up. Its builds tension among the audience and creates suspension. Kajal is played by Orchita Sporshia. It’s her third appearance on big screen.

As the film continues, there is a woman crying beside a dead body. There are crowd around her and rumour around the village that she committed suicide. The police came and started to investigate. Here the audience will be introduced to the major characters of the film.

Hashu is a young and simple man from the village. He was swimming in the pond when his friend Anis called him to get to the crime scene. Here we first time meet our protagonist, Hashu, played by Asaduzzaman Abir.

Anis is portrayed by Sayed Zaman Shawon. In this scene, Anis seems very tensed; he tells Hashu that police are asking for him. He suggested him not to talk about yesterday night. 

As they approach the police, an officer inspects him. Hablu is a simple man of the village and tells the police about the truth. But the truth is troublesome. It connects the son of the chairman of the village. The son wanted to marry the girl but there were some trouble.

Here we see some old school police bribery. They keep investigating but in the end the truth turns out to be more sinister.

Hashu moves forward and sees Kajal. They have an eye contact and a song starts. Kajal lives with her mother and goes to school. As the film progresses, the audience will see the chairman’s son has ainterest for Kajal. He starts to pressurise Kajal’s mother to not let her go to the school.

Hashu lives alone and is unemployed; his uncle tricks him to sell his father’s land for a very minimal amount of money. Here the audience will see the childish part of Hashu. He spends the money to buy a football and plays with the children, instead of buying something for him.

The director did an excellent job showing the love of Hashu and Kajal. A close-up shot of Hashu putting a bindi on Kajal’s forehead during one night, under a bridge, pretending that place to be their future home is a fantastic scene. Such little moments of their love will leave the audience astonished.

Hashu and Anis go to watch a cinema where the audience see Hashu desires to get married and Anis’s pain of being married. Anis lives with her differently-abled wife and his only source of income is the money allocated by his father in law. His wife has all the love in the world for him but Anis is barely there for her. As it turns out Anis likes to walk at night and has other affairs too.

As the story moves on to the local election and the chairman wants to get his boy to Saudi Arabia because of the ‘rumour’ about his involvement in crime. But the boy wants to marry Kajal.

Kajal and he had a fight where we see the abuse of power. The boy threats her by saying he will do anything to get her. But, in the end, for the sake of his father’s election campaign, he goes abroad.

Hashu, on the other hand, is having a serious relationship with Kajal. He tries to impress her mother with all the little things he has. Kajal and Hasu get married, it was wonderful to see how accurate the marriage ceremony is, it portrays the style of village marriage and they leave on a paddle-van after getting married.

The climax starts after the marriage. Here the audience will see the struggle of keeping the love alive. Hashu is having hard time to keep the family together. As an unemployed man, he finically struggles and his uncle intensifies the situation.

Hashu is also having a hard time making love to his wife and it frustrates Kajal eventually. Later it turns out that Kajal has an extra-marital affair with one of Hashu’s nearest friend. Hashu gets a job at a brickfield and leaves the village.

The narrative of the film is very surreal and the director does a good job keeping the story together. As it moves forward Hashu is working far from the village and Kajal is having an affair. Meanwhile, the chairman’s son returns to the village and forces Kajal’s mother to get them married.

Anis is having an affair with other woman from the village. A love story is ending with betrayal. The murder of two people, a misleading investigation from the police and arresting someone else for a crime and the genuine criminal getting away — all these give the story a twist. 

Acting of the major characters are fantastic, especially Abir does excellent in the protagonist’s role. This is also his first appearance in a film. He does excellent in portraying the character and keeping the suspense till the end.

Dialogues of the film are charming and to some extent cute.

The cinematography of the story, done by Aditto Monir is beautiful because it portrays the beauty of rural Bangladesh and the daily life of average villagers. It has some long shot building the ambience perfectly for the story. There are some shot of drone which is wonderfully taken.

During the night scenes, lack of lighting makes it extremely hard for the audience to understand what is happening on the screen.

Usually, sound tracks of Bangla movies are not worth listening after the first round however this has not been the case with this film. The music of the film is excellent. It builds the atmosphere of the story and keeps it that way. The sound track is done by Emon Chowdhury.

Niamul Mukta has done an excellent job in his debut film. He does well in building up the story and ending it with the same tone. It is a good film and worth watching.

If Bangla films coming out in the future are following this track, then, Bangla movie might have its golden days restored. ●

Rahat Karim is a student of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.

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