Sando da: Year One (2013): Short Film Movie Review; An interesting Charminar Cigarette Scandal makes up the plot

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Sando Da 2013

This year in the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival 2013, few very strong short films were premiered. One of those, which made a mark, was Director Abhirup Ghosh’s ‘Sando da: Year One’. This 42 minutes short film had an immensely distinct look & feel in all avenues of film production. ‘Sando da- Year One’ carried the mark of class and elegance all over. This film earlier has got awarded in a film festival at Bangalore and has touched an untouched genre of Bengali cinema. Following the long lineage of popular Bengali ‘dada’s like Felu da, Teni da, Ghana da, etc., a new Dada is here … SANDO DA, who is a self proclaimed super intelligent detective out to solve the different mysteries of life and is supported by his loyal cousin brother/sidekick Chotku. Sando da: Year One’ follows Sando da the ‘antel’ Bong wannabe detective in his quest against a gang that markets fake Charminar cigarettes. In the journey, he meets Tarzaan da, Kolkata’s not so friendly neighborhood macho man. The Charminar case, officially Sando da’s first attempt at ‘detective-giri’, also leads him to finally meet his nemesis, ‘Babumoshai.’

The film’s screenplay & dialogue and also the editing have been handled by the director himself. However, it was strongly felt that the screenplay of this film somewhat demanded more sleekness & maturity. The adventure part of ‘Sando da: Year One’ was quite a vibrant story-plot in itself and it was observed that the initial part of the film was a bit lengthy and does not really synchronizes with the adventurous part of the film. Moreover it was also observed that Sando da: Year One would have been an excellent family entertainer, if some of the beginning parts were chopped off mercilessly from the script itself. The overall editing of the film has been excellent but that’s just the technical part. The real editing should have started from the scripting itself. But it’s never too late, the core-creative committee can consider a re-packaging of this film in the long run, if they opt for more public viewings of this movie or wish to officially forward Sando da: Year One to the film festivals abroad.

Arnab Bhattacharya as the lead protagonist ‘Sando da’ was simply mind-blowing and totally has fitted to the graphic novel characterization of Sando da, as was conceived & illustrated by the gifted artist cum story teller Shamik Dasgupta for Level 10 Comics, under the title ‘Old School’ . Arnab’s sleek comic timings accompanied with some excellent dialogue deliveries did lift the character of Sando da up to the optimum level. Arnab seemed quite a promising actor and let’s hope that this film will provide him suitable opportunities to showcase his acting skills in bigger platforms.

Youngster Joy Dey was at his smoothest best as Sando Da’s cousin brother cum assistant Chotku. Joy’s funny antiques and innocent charm has given the character of Chotku a new dimension. Prantik Chatterjee was exceedingly hilarious as the ‘Lungi Gunda’, especially when he pretended to be a deaf and dumb shopkeeper. Ankkit Sengupta’s sweet cameo as the ‘Scriptwriter Gunda’ was up-to the mark. The biggest let down in the acting department was Raj Bardhan as the body building champion cum Gym owner + instructor ‘Tarzan da’. Though Raj looked extremely hilarious in his funny wig, his acting expressions have miserably failed to extract that required funniness, which an author backed character like ‘Tarzan da’ demanded from an actor. Director Abhirup Ghosh should seriously consider replacing Raj Bardhan with an able actor for his ‘Sando da: Year Two’ as an allergenic fish can spoil an entire pond. Apart from Raj the other actor, who has failed to portray her character was Payel Chatterjee as Sando da’s ex girlfriend ‘Paramita’. She neither looked sexy nor was she able to hold on to her expressions for long.

Seasoned Short Film actor Sourav Saha (three short films, in which he has acted, were screened in the 19th KIFF) seemed to be an exceptionally entertaining performer as the main antagonist, who is called ‘Babumashai’ –the cigarette smuggler. Sourav has implemented an extent of personalized stylization to this reel character & has improvised ‘Babumashai’ in such a fashion that at times, the antagonist has overshadowed the protagonist too.

Director of Photography Sudipta Majumder (who has earlier operated the 2nd Camera for the Star Jalsha Mega Serial ‘Maa’) has done an excellent job behind the camera. Every shot-angle seemed very cinematic and cut thought. Especially the action sequences at the climax of the film were shot very skillfully by Sudipta Majumder. The usage of VFX technology by Subhrojyoti Mukherjee during the post production was also worth mentioning.

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