My camaraderie with fictional characters dates back to the late 80’s and thankfully it’s not breathing its last yet. Like any other kid my age, I too had my share of a wonderful childhood amid a sea of handsome Dalimkumars, Beautiful Kanchalmalas, wicked Duyoranis, ghastly Rakkhoshs and friendly Brohmdotyos. Then I grew up a little more in the company of an army of young and old truth-seekers or satya-sondhanis such as Deepak Chatterjee, Prodosh Mitter, Byomkesh Bakshi, Kinkar Kishore Roychoudhury, Raja Roy Chowdhury etc. to name a few. These superbly crafted characters always left me so spellbound with their inimitable charisma and sense of humour that often, I would become a restless Topshe or a tranquil Awjit or even a shy Shontu in the middle of the boring homework and class work sessions!
So it’s no wonder that when Srijit Mukherjee’s MISHAWR ROHOSYO hit the theatres of Agartala this Durga Puja, I knew this was one film I could not afford to miss. Reasons? Well, yes there are at least three, the first being Kakababu, the man himself. If I had ever dreamt of becoming Feluda’s muse (read Premika), I’d always wished for an uncle like Kakababu, as handsome as Shobuj Dwiper Raja, who’d take me to Toubi Datta’s house or to Magician X’s show or at least to the New Market for a yet another adventure session. But unfortunately my dad was the only child of his family and the question of having a Kaka was like a distant dream! Secondly, I never had the chance to read Sunil Ganguly’s Mishwar Rohosyo before, and Egypt, the land of scheming silver sand and mystical mummies, Morumaya & Morichika, the curse of TutankhAmen and the fall of Professor Demetrius (RAY), has always enticed me. So what better way to have a rendezvous, sipping a cup of hot coffee, with the robust eligible bachelor of 40’s than to watch him on the big screen? Third, the deadly Srijeet Mukherji-Prosenjit Chatterjee combination! It’s their third film together after Autograph and Baishe Srabon, both of which had turned out to be huge hits of recent times and restored the viewers’ faith in Bengali thriller flicks once again.
The plot of MR is centred on the ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the story is set in a flashback. A renowned Egyptian businessman Al Mamun visits Kakababu at his Kolkata home and tells him about certain symbols drawn by Mufti Mohammed, an Egyptian rebel-leader turned Pir. Mufti is on the verge of death and Mamun requests Kakababu to visit Delhi and find out the meanings of those symbols that might lead him to an unexplored treasure. While returning from Kakababu’s place, Al Mamun is attacked at by some miscreants, who are supposedly sent by Hani Alkadi, another of Mufti Mohanmmad’s disciples at Egypt.
When Kakababu arrives at the JNU campus, he too has a narrow escape and lands up in a nursing home. Al Mamun is convinced that Hani Alkadi is behind all those attacks. In the meanwhile, Shontu and Narendra Verma join Kakababu and the trio goes to meet Mufti Mohammad. Mufti smiles at Kakababu and with the help of certain symbols and signals, tells him to verify something in Egypt. The old man finally closes his eyes. In spite of repeated warnings from Verma on the ongoing political tensions at Egypt, Kakababu and Shontu decide to leave for Egypt to fulfil the last wish of the Pir. They are welcomed by Siddhartha, Snigdha and Rini at the Cairo Airport. As soon as the duo checks into their hotel room, Kakababu is kidnapped by Hani Alkadi’s men and Shontu is left all alone. Kakababu is then taken to Hani Alkadi’s hideout. This is a turning point in the story and it unearths many unknown truths underneath the pyramid of Queen Hetepheres!
Prosenjit is without a doubt, an excellent choice for the role of a ‘modern’ Kakababu, who in his copper-red curls and leather jackets, looks more stylish than his college going nephew Shontu. Although he walks with the help of a crutch, it is his mental willpower that comes to his rescue every time. The beautiful transition from the silver screen to the pages of the Kakababu comic, highlighting the words in print “Kakababur Chowal Shokto Hoye Gelo”, “Dhoram”, “Dhorash” literally transported me to my childhood days making me clap and smile in the dark room.
Indraneil Sengupta as the Egyptian rebel leader Hani Alkadi, is a treat to the eyes. Sengupta has come a long way as an actor and has been constantly proving his mettle in the industry. In fact, Indraneil resembled a Ritu da, with kohl-drenched eyes, cropped hair and a white robe. He looked extremely adorable in the guise of a Pharaoh toward the end of the movie. The relationship between the Kidnapped and the Kidnapper, their growing friendship and their sharing of knowledge, leave an indelible mark on the spectators. All the other actors performed extremely well and did justice to their respective roles.
The reference to Tagore’s Gitanjali and the sporadic recital of His lines, by both Alkadi and Kakababu, infuse a breath of fresh air to the dry sand dunes of Egypt. The maestros Rupam Islam, Arijit Singh, Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal help to delve deep inside the ‘Balir Shohor’ , ‘Dilli’ etc.
Probably, the only flaw with MR is that the end comes too quick. At the end of the long two hours and twenty minutes, I only wished if the movie were a little longer...