R E V I E W – M O V I E
Hoichoi, the first Bangla OTT platform, has been providing premium content to its subscribers one after another. Following its recent wake of success, Ashfaque Nipun’s latest film Koshtoneer adds yet another feather to the cap. The film follows the Chowdhury family with five siblings and the parents. It’s a compelling take on the struggles of generation gap — portrayed through a family drama.
The film starts with a glimpse of each of the siblings before they all assemble at their family home to attend their youngest sister’s wedding. Each of the siblings fit a different stereotype prevalent in middle class families. We get to identify the daddy’s boy, the rebel, the gossip, the orthodox, and the quintessential youth.
Stereotypes are generally discouraged in media for either being too obvious or too misleading. However, in order to narrate a social commentary disguised as a family drama, enforcing stereotypes was a sound choice.
Rashna, the youngest sister (played by Sabila Noor) is the struggling young entrepreneur, whose marriage is used as the biggest plot device, bringing the whole family under one roof after ages. Despite Rashna constantly preaching women empowerment, we see another side of her character that reflects toxic feminism; the type that nurtures a superiority complex and looks down on other women who happen to have different hopes and dreams than their own. While having a verbal spat, she puts down her elder sister Rizwana for having no ambitions of her own. Rizwana (played by Runa Khan) being married off at sixteen, was a victim of patriarchy herself. Putting her down for not being ambitious enough is a vicious cycle of toxic feminism that needs to be overcome. This scene provides a commentary on how the members of the society keep running in these circles without looking at the bigger picture.
The rebel brother (played by Shamol Mawla), who is fuelled by his deep loathing of his father’s autocratic regime in the house, plays a large role in moving the story forward. It was established early in the movie that he has different political views from the majority, making him the pariah in the family. Inclusion of such subtle plot points is what sets the movie apart from other family dramas. The director provides a glimpse into how family represents the image of the state at multiple levels. When the family members are shown to disregard or disrespect his political views, it parallels how society treats those who have different opinions than the majority.
Throughout the whole movie, Tariq Anam khan plays the role of the gruff father perfectly. It is not too uncommon in today’s society to see fathers like him — who want to maintain strict ethical code in their families, despite being corrupted themselves. His children either fear him or loathe him. The portrayal of generation gap becomes prominent when he takes all the decisions of his children’s lives without even pausing to ask their opinions. He justifies his self-centred misconception with a century-old line: “Parents only want the best for their children.”
Can the children put an end to this oppression? Can the reunion turn into an occasion for a revelation? To know the answer, you have to watch the film.
Besides the well-executed plot points, some of the casts’ acting was commendable. Runa Khan and Shamol Mawla gave a brilliant performance, adding much more depth to their already complex characters. Runa khan’s execution of the role of a slightly awkward sister trying desperately to fit in — was spellbinding. Shamol Mawla was a natural in playing the role of the estranged rebel trying to win back the siblings’ grace. Tariq Anam, a Bangladesh National Film Award winner, lived up to his reputation in this film. Saberi Alam, playing the role of the docile mother, also did a great job. The stellar cast was definitely put to good use in this film.
Koshtoneer is not only a family drama, it’s also a family friendly film. That means it’s safe to watch with family — no trigger warnings needed. In fact, I would strongly recommend watching this with the whole family. Besides providing entertainment for 99 minutes, this might also teach them a thing or two about family.
Tasmim spends all her time listening to true crime podcasts. Send her killer ideas at [email protected]