Today, I had the opportunity to watch Chander Pahar, here in Kolkata at the Inox theater in Forum Mall, along with a good friend. Though the lead actor in the movie easily isn’t one of my most favourite actors in Bengali cinema, but I was still pretty much eager to watch the movie primary because of two reasons:
- I had read the original novel of the same name by Bibhutibhusan Bandopadhyay when I was literally a child. I loved it!
- Bengali film industry hadn’t seen such a movie before.
I’d say I wasn’t entirely disappointed by this flick, and it in fact deserves a lot of praise for a few things.
Well, first of all, watch the trailer of Chander Pahar.
Like I said already, this was a first time experience for me, watching a Bengali movie of this class in a theater. The experience overall was really good.
Dev, who portrayed the main character ‘Shankar’ in this movie, was much better than in his usually brainless roles in Bengali commercial flicks. Although, the lack of depth in his acting was more prominent in some scenes than the others. He was preferred for the role by the director primary for his athletic, tall, muscular build, which was ideal for the role of ‘Shankar’.
Gerard Rudolf was great as ‘Diego Alvarez’. The lions, the snake, and the elephants were great as well. Unfortunately, the special effects weren’t. The scene of the volcano and in other minor situations, the cheapness was quite obvious in the graphics.
Director Kamaleshwar Mukhopadhyay changed a few minor things of the story, but they aren’t too big to worry too much about. I didn’t really get why he made Diego Alvarez and a Masai lady (probably) speak Bengali though. Diego spoke, like pure English 50% of times, and almost pure Bengali the rest of the time. It’s really unusual for a Portuguese and it wasn’t like this in the original story.
Maybe, the production team decided to make this (small?) sacrifice to increase the reach of the film to a wider audience, especially from rural villages of West Bengal. I didn’t get why they just didn’t use Bengali subtitles though, instead of making half the conversations between an Indian and a Portuguese in Bengali.
There were quite a few noticeable goofs as well in the movie. I won’t bother talking about them.
For a movie shot in Africa, using real animals, impressive stunts and great performances from all leading actors, I’m glad that they managed to pull it off with a $2.5 million budget. Maybe this was one of the reasons why the computer graphics kind of sucked in a few situations. But, it’s not a big deal. The movie is enjoyable, and will seem even more exciting to those who haven’t read the original book.
For your information, when Bibhutibhusan wrote the adventure story titled ‘Chander Pahar’ (literal translation: Mountain of the Moon, referring to Mt. Kilimanjaro) he didn’t actually go to Africa. He explained the details about places well deep into Africa so well in his book, that the director of this film was fascinated about it. Seriously, how can a man who’s never been to Africa can write an entire adventure story happening in various places in Africa with that level of details?
Overall, definitely not a bad movie. I’d rate it around 7.8/10 (keeping everything in mind), and 8.7/10 (keeping just Bengali movies in mind). This is being released nationally (and probably in a few places abroad), so, just go and watch it! 🙂
Here are a few stills from the movie: