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Bhooter Bhabishyat Bengali Comedy


Movie Review: Bhooter Bhabishyat- The Future of the Ghost (Bangla)


Bhooter Bhabishyat does not have eerie special effects or horrific visuals and sinister sounds to create synthetic fear among the audience. It throws up the fun-filled world of ghosts who struggle for a roof above their heads constantly threatened by real-estate sharks and blood-sucking promoters. The ghosts live in the abandoned mansion of zamindar Darpanarayan Choudhury killed by dacoits. The ghosts span the history, politics and sociography of Bengal beginning with the battle of Plassey where a cook in Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s kitchen was killed in the battle when forced into the army. The common link among them is that they all died unnatural deaths.

The skinny Muslim cook hates the British officer Ramsay, killed by mistake in a bomb blast when the target was someone else. Kadalibala, a famous singing star of 1940s black-and-white films, is decked up in zardozi saris and jewellery and sings her old film numbers in Kanan Devi’s nasal drawl. She had committed suicide when her paramour married someone else. Koel is a modern-day girl who jumped off the tenth floor when her father refused to let her marry her boyfriend. A young member of the Bangle Band died of a drug overdose but annoys the ‘period’ ghosts who do not care for his music. A military officer who died in the Kargil war of 1999 bores everyone with his tall tales of bravery. The rickshaw-puller who was mowed down by a speeding car keeps lamenting about his poverty. A Bangladeshi Hindu refugee could not stay up on a tree because of his gout after he was shot in communal killings in his country.

A Naxalite leader killed in police firing while trying to escape narrates the entire story of a first time filmmaker who has chosen the mansion for the setting of his film. The ghosts surf their very own social networking site SpookBook to hire Hathkata Kartik (the armless Kartik) the dead contract killer to scare away the real estate promoter who wants to turn the mansion into a shopping mall. There is an ‘item number’ with the lyrics drawn from the item girl-ghost’s personal tragedy of having been burned by her husband. The ghosts also go on a picnic. The costumes the ghosts wear are in keeping with their social status and the time they belonged to when they were alive. The zamindarhas no idea what a ‘shopping malls’ is while the actress is aghast that there is so much hoo-haa about a new bazaar while she was labeled a bazaar woman in her time.

The dialogue, music, lyrics and acting by the ensemble actors make Bhooter…one of the most intelligent and satiric comedies one has seen in a long time, heralding the entry of Anik Dutta who has written the pun-laced dialogue, plus the scripts and the lyrics. Indraneel Ghosh’s art direction takes care of the antique furnishings of the mansion. Avik Mukherjee’s cinematography effectively plays around with the dark shades of intrigue while Arghya Kamal Mitra’s editing caresses the time-loops, curves and cuts and wipes between the interactions of the living and the dead.


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