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Title: Assam Tribune online

Suman Haripriya had arrived in the field of Assamese film-making with a bang. Her first directorial venture Koina Mor (R to L) Gitawali, Ravi, Nipon Goswami and Bitupan Kashyap in  Kokadeutar Gharjonwai.Dhunia turned out to be a dream debut. Released on September 7, 2001, the film went on to become one of the most commercially successful Assamese films of all time. The young director had almost entered the hall of fame. Treading along the most difficult portrayal of comedy, Koina Mor Dhunia  won the hearts of the Assamese film-lovers.
 Expectations were sky high for Suman’s second directorial project Kokadeutar Gharjonwai,  which has been released last week in Guwahati. Last time, it seemed that comedy was her forte. However, it has been a different ball game altogether in Kokadeutar Gharjonwai. Suman has shifted her focus from making people laugh their hearts out to the usual youngsters-running-around-trees kind of a story, interspersed with flaccid projection of comedy. And during this cross-over, Suman Haripriya the director has faltered. That too, noticeably.
 To begin with, Kokadeutar Gharjonwai has progressed with a loose storyline, devoid of a firm base. It has failed to establish an emotional conduit between the plot and the audience. One gets confused during the course of the film, especially in the first half. For one, one fails to understand whether the story is based against a rural ambience or an urban milieu. On one hand, few scenes would take one to an urban environment, on the other one may find himself enjoying the beauty of the rural landscape. And no one knows where is the link.
 The name of the film Kokadeutar Gharjonwai was itself enough to make people curious, and it was thought that it would be full of hilarious situations. However, that was not to be. As the director has shifted her focus, she has introduced comedy only to support an otherwise commonplace story. Gone are the situations wherein stress is given on crisp one-liners and whacky dialogues. Instead, comedy here is some glorified allusions, slipping-over-the-banana-peel kind of fatuity. That is, I think very tragic because the director’s first attempt at the silverscreen was successful only because of her apt handling of comedy. And they say comedy is one of the most difficult arts to deal with.
The case is made worse by bad editing and irritating background music. Shots seem to be haphazardly woven into each Gitawali Rajkumariother, ignoring the flow of the storyline. The background music often smacks of an amateurish approach. Music, experts agree, should always unfailingly support the progress of a film, the portrayal of a character. Here in some cases, it has been the opposite — you are forcibly drawn to dull background scores, leaving aside what the characters on the screen are doing.
Music, i.e., songs are hummable, but devoid of any particular character. This might have resulted from the fact that here we have four music directors — Prabhat Sarma, Monti Baishya, Bijuprabha and Manas Rabin — each one having his or her own style of making tunes. Even the cinematography by Suman Duara has looked mediocre with some flashes of brilliance here and there.
 But it was the acting part which should find mention. As usual, veteran Nipon Goswami has delivered another fine performance as the grandfather. But that is not extraordinary because playing the role of a grandfather comes easy for this giant of the  Assamese silverscreen. Years ago, Nipon had delivered one of his most memorable performances in Kokadeuta, Nati Aru Hati  in the late seventies. The character of an epicene has been truthfully portrayed by Jayanta Bhagawati. A fine actor no doubt, but the role was a challenging one, almost like walking on tight rope. The way he has been able to balance his performance is quite praiseworthy. Ravi Sarma has matured and his performance in the lead role should find takers. Gitawali Rajkumari, the heroine of Sarma’s debut venture, has really looked like a ‘Rajkumari’ in some of the shots. One can notice that Gitawali, a novice while dancing, has learnt a lot as far as acting is concerned. But in some scenes, she has overdone it. One also finds that Aparna Dutta Choudhury is a fine actress, and given proper scope, she would do better. For all these alone, the director must be credited.
 One fails to understand why an actress of Chetana Das’ calibre should go for the kind of role she has played in Kokadeutar Gharjonwai. Chetana Das is famous not only for being a fine actress, but is also respected because of her capabilities in comedy roles. Perhaps, she is the most known female face as far as comedy is concerned in the fields of Assamese films as well as drama. But, it is a pity that she accepts these kind of roles, which do not have any locus standi in the storyline. Along with her, talents like Atul Pachoni and Kshirode  Sarma go to waste, trying to create an ambience of laughter which is far from reality.
 For Suman Haripriya, it was a different style in Koina Mor Dhunia. She had treaded along the path of comedy films with such daredevilry which very few filmmakers dared to earlier. The film was a huge success because it was a welcome break from the boring and the banal. It was considered as a new trend in the Assamese film industry. Here, she tried to do the same (that of being successful) but with a common, run-of-the-mill storyline. But one must agree that the theme had the potential of becoming another hilarious silverscreen venture. The director has tried to create the same temperament but without much success. The progress was slow in the first half, making the audience lose interest in the second part.
Before the release of Suman’s debut venture, she talked about the reason behind her decision to select a story which was entirely based on comedy. Here I quote her, “Do you not feel bored with the same family drama, typical love story-based films? I do not find logic behind a film-lover coming out of the theatre hall with moist eyes.”
 Well, Suman, now we fail to find the logic of your shifting focus and making a film which has turned out to be ‘just another film’. For the director, in Koina Mor Dhunia, it was the 17th reel where some amount of emotions have crept in. Here in Kokadeutar Gharjonwai, it happens to be the first reel. There lies the difference.

Partha Pratim Hazarika


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