Prem Tame Is A (Mostly) Lame College Romance, With An Inspired Final Act  

When you’re critiquing a brand new movie, you’re not simply critiquing a movie. You might be critiquing a filmmaking tradition, the tendencies and the aesthetics that tradition imposes on each movie that’s made as part of the equipment. I discover this very true for up to date Bengali cinema—possibly as a result of I cowl it— the place the fault traces are fairly apparent. I’ve misplaced rely on the variety of occasions I’ve reasoned that X movie didn’t work as a result of, though it had some fascinating concepts, the execution failed them. Or, for example, there appears to be one thing synthetic about the way in which the actors say their traces. Or the over reliance on background rating to sail the viewers by way of a scene. Most of those are true for Anindya Chattopadhyay’s Prem Tame—the final two to be precise. You might be tempted to say that the movie should’ve sounded good on paper, it’s the execution….however that’s not true.


The extra you consider it, the extra it looks like a failure on, what we name, the writing degree. Sure, the fresh-faced leads aren’t terribly spectacular—Susmita Chatterjee’s Raaji is a spunky free spirit with a placed on Bangla accent and a streetwise twang, and there needs to be higher rationalization as to why Soumya Mukherjee’s Pablo is such a university stud, moreover hanging posters of Dylan, Nabarun and Lennon in his room; and you might be grateful when Sweta’s Arshi, a surprisingly annoying creature, is shipped off to her uncle’s place in one other metropolis, following a scandal, after Pablo and she or he are caught kissing within the class.

But it surely’s the characterisation, you realise, that’s accountable, greater than the actors; it’s the dialogue, that lacks the form of glowing wit that make rom-coms work, and that features this line: ’Ami shei joker je kaandleo loke hashe’ (I’m that clown who, even when he’s crying, makes folks snicker); or the actions that advance the plot, that are baffling, absurd, and appear unbelievable for these characters to have acted out that approach: like Raaji arriving at Soumya’s place, to live-in with him, together with a canine, with out his mom’s foreknowledge; or when, later, his mom groups up with Arshi, who she sends to verify on her son, after she leaves for her brother’s place. (She would’ve nonetheless tolerated the woman, however she will’t stand canines). 

The canine—a pariah, named Khokon—is the fourth entrant within the equation on this love triangle (faculty romance/coming of age/no matter you need to name it). And he practically saves the movie within the ultimate twenty minutes. Because of some efficient manipulation and an impressed thought, you are feeling a twinge. Prem Tame turns into a special film, shifting towards an unconventional ending—a lesson on unconditional love. The movie’s Serampore-Chandernagore setting, with its multicultural historical past, comes alive: a Sufi ascetic sings in a ruinous temple as a person appears to be like for his canine on a moonlit night time. It’s a nice-looking movie, with Shubhankar Bhar’s camerawork doing a lot of the heavy lifting, however these ultimate stretches work significantly better additionally as a result of they’re practically wordless (which once more factors at shortcomings coming from the writing). 

Having stated that, the ending just isn’t practically sufficient to cowl up for all of the drivel it places you thru. I didn’t point out all of the lofty concepts the movie tries to hawk, like kiss as a type of protest, weaving in a headlines of an incident in West Bengal the place a younger couple was harassed by a mob after a public show of affection—its past the movie’s means to have the ability to do justice in driving residence such a robust thought. That is one other downside in up to date Bengali cinema—Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti, that launched across the similar time final yr, calls to thoughts: they appear to advocate progressive values, and the conflict with conventional, conservative attitudes; however in the case of telling an arresting story, they’re a complete bore. 

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