R E V I E W – S H O R T F I L M
Closeup “Kache Ashar Golpo” has become a household name since it gained massive popularity on its first airing in 2011. This anthology series of telefilms is marketed as a “collection of brave and unusual love stories”. What started out as a slightly sappy adaptation of true love stories has become a cringefest nine years later. The way the quality has been dropping, it has now become the Bangladeshi equivalent of cheesy hallmark Christmas movies. At one point, the franchise had some semblance of structure, all that remains now are stories that recycle cliche tropes from the 90s.
The first installation of the 2021 issue, অথবা প্রেমের গল্প, is easily the worst of the bunch, with no redeeming qualities. The audience might have a hard time deciding what is more forced — the dialogue or the acting. The plot is no better, using trauma as an element of surprise, using mental illness as a prop for plot twists is so insensitive yet so overdone, that this took misrepresentation of PTSD to another level.
The creator might have intended to have the audience sympathise with the protagonist, but the overtly cartoon-ish outbursts of the protagonist, paired with the complete lack of acting skills of the actress, rather make the attempts comical. The third telefilm had a slightly better representation of mental health issues in comparison.
Where the first one was a raging dumpster fire with rushed plotline and awkward dialogues, the second installment of this issue, একদিন বৃষ্টিতে বিকেলে, is equally hard to watch with its incoherent storyline and questionable storytelling choices.
Although it has a more competent actress as a female lead than that of the first telefilm, Mumtahina Toya’s acting skills couldn’t save this half-baked commentary on love across social class either. This is a repackaging of the most popular trope in our cinema industry, fused with awkward dialogues and awful voice-overs. The voice-overs of a narrator spewing random facts in the background were the literal embodiment of “telling rather than showing”. Storytelling choices like the obnoxious voice-overs were only a part of the reason it is not worth watching, since there seems to be no cohesive plot altogether in this one.
The third installment, শূন্য থেকে শুরু, was a breath of fresh air. It tells the story of a writer with social anxiety who has run away from the din and bustle of city life and retreated into the hill tracks far from the prying eyes. His quest to stay hidden gets interrupted by the determined female lead who wants to interview him. The plot progressed on a realistic time span, so the blossoming of the romance was subtler than the other ones in this series. Although the representation of social anxiety was blown out of proportion, at least it well acted.
While the other two telefilms didn’t have much of a desired effect with the background soundtracks, the third one had a musical piece voiced by the lead actor Tahsan himself that fit the montage quite perfectly. Sunehra Binte Kamal was a natural in the role of the female lead, who already made a name for herself by starring in the acclaimed film Nodorai. Tahsan also gave a good performance in the role of the grumpy writer, making its 30 minutes runtime worthwhile.
The first two telefilms set the bar so low that the third one automatically gets the place of the best one just by existing. If the 2021 issue is any indication, the series is long past the point of becoming just a cash grab and existing just for the sake of it. Recycling of cliches are a hurdle to growth in the entertainment industry, and franchises like these are part of the reasons why our entertainment industry is not progressing.
Tasmim spends all her time listening to true crime podcasts. Send her killer ideas at [email protected]