Director: Dhrubo Banerjee
Cast: Abir Chatterjee, Arjun Chakraborty, Isha Saha and Rajatabha Dutta
Release Date: 27th April 2018
Coffee Chronicles rates: 8.5/10
‘There cannot exist a bigger treasure than history itself’- The quote stands true for Guptodhoner Shondhane (Treasure Hunt). Dhrubo Banerjee in his directorial debut, starring- Abir Chatterjee, Arjun Chakraborty and Isha Saha (in the order of appearance) in lead roles, focuses on the untouched and unexplored side of Bengal’s ancient history. Set amidst a fictional land called- ‘Manikantapur’, the film serves as the ultimate treasure hunt for Bengal’s most significant treasure.
The film also gives us the possible successor of Feluda, a prominent face in Bengali mystery, through Sona da (Abir Chatterjee).
(The following parts contains spoilers required to exact a good review of the film)
Basic Plot Summary:
History states that, somewhere around 1576 and 1717, Bengal used to be ruled by the Mughals, mainly Shah Jahan. The film kick starts with a brief history lesson about Shah Jahan’s sons- Aurangzeb, Dara Sukhoh, Shah Shuja and Murad Baksh. During the Mughal reign, when Shah Jahan fell ill, a gruesome fight emerged between his four sons, leading Shah Shuja to claim the throne. In a thirst to conquer Aurangzeb’s share, Shah Shuja signed a treaty with Dara Sukhoh which gave him complete control over Bengal.
Shah Shuja, during his reign, was known to befriend Bengal’s zamindars. One such zamindar was ‘Nirshingorai’, the owner of ‘Shingobari’ (Lion’s house). It has been said that, before being killed by his brother, Shah Shuja left a part of his treasure to the Bengal zamindar at ‘Shingobari’, leading to the small village being named ‘Manikantapur’.
In the present day, the Shingobari is maintained by the current successor of ‘Nirshingorai’- ‘Harishingorai’ (Goutam Ghosh). As the film progresses, Harishingorai (Goutam Ghosh) is found dead under mysterious circumstances, as an air of tension surrounds the Shingobari.
The death of Harishingorai, brings forth the next successor of the Shingobari, Abir (Arjun Chakraborty) and his uncle Sona da (Abir Chatterjee) to Manikantapur. Upon their arrival, they meet Abir’s (Arjun Chakraborty) childhood friend Jhinuk (Isha Saha) as they set out to discover the old ruins of Manikantapur.
Abir and Sona da’s arrival at Manikantapur were not perceived as a positive omen, as mysterious events kept occurring around the Shingobari, including Abir receiving an unposted letter from Harishingorai (Goutam Ghosh), containing a riddle and the possible existence of a treasure in the Shingobari. However, like all detective movies, the lead trio faces the wrath of a local goon Dashanan Daw (Rajatabha Dutta) who seeks full control of ‘Shingobari to unearth the hidden treasure.
Our take on Guptodhoner Shondhane:
The overall progression of the movie is stable and maintains a steady storyline, as we find our lead trio uncovering the riddles that are supposed to lead them to a 350-year old treasure of Shah Shuja.
The film is a racy and an edge of the seat adventure, as you would find yourself lost in the series of puzzles as Sona da solves them (we found ourselves counting numbers, as well). It gives viewers the pleasure of being one with the epic treasure hunt, which in our opinion should be the true essence of any good film.
If we talk about the loopholes, Dhrubo Banerjee tried his best to make the otherwise weighty hunt light by the use of certain Bengali cliches such as -The Bengalis love for fishes and poetry. However, these cliches in our opinion were overused. A few of the action scenes were made with a humorous twist, but we did not find it contextual to the overall emotion being portrayed.
There were a few scene transitions that took place too fast for our likings, such as post lunch scenes and the sudden appearance of the villain at the exact location as the lead trio, without having proper knowledge of it.
The camera angles and location selection for a place that does not exist in reality left us in awe at how correctly in sync ‘Manikantapur’ was made to capture the whole historical essence of Bengal.
The film diverts away from the commercial Bengali movies and finds solace in a genre only a few enjoy. The clever use of mythology with history, without it seeming too confusing was the most significant achievement of the film.
We applaud Dhrubo Banjeree for putting up a never-before-seen history of Bengal in a way that is both nail-biting and knowledgeable.
Guptodhoner Shondhane is one of those edge of the seat experiences, that would leave you wanting more. It indeed gives viewers a brand new window to look at Bengal, and it is old heritage.
We believe, Guptodhoner Shondhane is not one to miss.
Featured Image by: FilmBeat