The best thing about any brazenly forthright commercial film where the star is the protagonist, the script, the dialogue, the music, the dance, the romance and the action, it does not matter at what point of the narrative you step into the theatre because you can pick on what is happening at any random point because there IS no story. The beginning is the beginning, the middle and the end and vice versa. Power, directed by Rajib is an entertainer that has a very low opinion about the intellectual capacities of the audience. So long as Jeet is around, either as Veer Pratap Singh, the apparently corrupt police officer out to target and clean the corruption from the police system, or as the simple Jeetu whose only dream in life is to become a policeman, or, as both, who cares if there is a story?
The next best thing about Power is the sheer guts of the people associated with the film timing its release to coincide with the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan. Can two Jeets compete with two Shah Rukh Khans? Yes, if the reasonably crowded Basusree theatre in Kolkata along with the loud ‘ceetees’ in the gallery is any indication, Bengal’s Jeet can give some competition among the regional audience to Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan. The story idea of Shahrukh Khan’s Fan is said to have shades of the Hollywood flick Fan (1996) directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert De Niro as the crazy fan and Wesley Snipes as the baseball star respectively. The film was scripted from Peter Abraham’s noted novel of the same name. Power, on the other hand, is a copyrighted Bengali remake of the Telugu film Power (2014) starring Ravi Teja. Both films are made on high budgets and mounted lavishly in relative terms considering the narrower market and audience base of the Bengali film compared to SRK’s international audience. But there is where the similarities end.
This much-touted action film is so overfilled with action, stunts, fights, anti-gravity jumps and leaps and what-not that we are first left gasping for breath and then wonder who is beating up or shooting or hanging or chaining or killing who, why and how. But thinking is not what you, as the audience is expected to do. “Sochna tumhaha kaam nahin” as Danny Denzongpa told his screen wife in a hit Hindi film decades ago. You are just supposed to sit back, or lean a bit in front in excitement when the fight begins which is almost always barring the times when the hero gets into fantasy song-dance sequences with his two lady loves, Nusrat Jahan, who is killed in counter-shooting, and Sayantika, who is a con woman. Her character whatever little we see of her on screen is an ingenuous creation. She sells gemstones that is supposed to turn the luck of all those who by these from her at an astronomical price. But her entry is like that of a top movie star and one fails to fathom why she is made to put on metallic make-up. Both leading ladies have marginal roles and are inserted to add the glamour potion and the sex potion to the otherwise action-filled film sans story or a comprehensible script. If you are quick to catch some of the dialogue, it is punched with double entrendres that cleverly escaped the censors because they certainly could not have dozed through this very loud film.
The editing, the cinematography, the 100 decibel sound track have been given the liberty to play around any which way with their craft and they do precisely that. Jeet has acquired the ability to deliver a highly stylised performance a la Salman Khan and adds his own individualistic touches to it. Power is a character-driven film and he takes advantage of the scope his doubly whammy character gives him. As Veer Pratap Singh he is suave and sophisticated in sheer white. As Jeetu, he is a bit of a bumbling simpleton who has the muscle power needed to bash up a dozen goondas single-handedly and also, some brains to match. The song-dance sequences are as cliché as they always are so there is nothing one can add by way of comment. How Jeetu, the amnesiac nephew fits into his obese brother-in-law’s police uniform so beautifully is magic by the costume designer..
Kharaj gives a good performance within the limited scope his character has while Manasi Sinha as his wife is as loud as she can possibly be. Veteran acting talents like Sudeep Mukherjee, Kanchan Mullick and Sabyasachi are wasted in marginal roles and one has to pay really close attention to what their function is within this anti-corruption story. Poor Rajatabha Dutta as the kingpin of the entire evil-doing and corruption as home minister glares right through his role and is given an awful wig to wear.
The producers have really proved their guts by sandwiching the release between the National Award-winning Shankhachil on the one hand and SRK’s Fan on the other. It is a risk which appears to have been well taken.
Bengali, Action, Drama, Color