Assamese, Film, India, Review


Rajesh Bhuyan’s Swargarath is a comic, caper story exploring how the lure of quick money can corrupt most people. The situational  plot twists and funny moments keep the film moving along, making for reasonably engaging fare.

In the film, Boikuntha (Siddhartha Sharma) is an honest mortuary van driver who is totally dedicated to his profession. A caring husband and doting father, he dreams of sending his daughter to an expensive private college. Abhijit (Kamal Lochan Deka), Rishabh (Udvawan Saikia), and Robinson (Bonny Deori) are three college friends, living together in a rented place in Guwahati. Abhijit is unemployed and spends his time ogling at girls and rating them. Rishabh wants to become an actor and Robinson a singer. But none of them possess the talent to achieve their life’s ambitions. During one of their drunken sprees, Abhijit laments about living a life of penury. The inebriated Rishab casually suggests that if he were to be kidnapped, Abhijit could demand a fat ransom from his rich businessman father. The very next day, Abhijit comes up with a plan to put into play, a fake kidnapping of Rishabh and subsequently asking his family for the money. After some initial hesitation, Rishabh and Robinson reluctantly go along with his scheme. Every step they take is meanwhile secretly monitored by two corrupt policemen, Bhaskar (Kenny Basumatary) and Rakesh (Rintu Bora). As the plan of extortion is set into motion, the lives of all these varied individuals crisscross each other with interesting consequences.

Though Bhuyan raises moral and ethical questions in the film, his shorthand in choosing convenience over logic to push the story forward all but derails his sincere intentions. For instance, the emotional connection between Boikuntha and his daughter is established more through dialogues rather than through any other forms of interaction that could make us root for their relationship. And while Abhijit’s demand of money from Rishabh’s family is played out in a manner to tickle our funny bone, unfortunately, the humor does not evolve organically from the situation.

On the positive side, Bhuyan and his co-writer Santanu Rowmuria build on the narrative with some captivating, situational scenarios that help to smartly propel the film’s important plot points. Every principal character in the film has a function and has not been used as a filler. Though it has to be said that except for Boikuntha, who is also the moral compass of the film, we don’t get to know any of the other characters in a deep or personal way, thereby reducing our engagement quotient with them. In one of the most poignant moments of the film, Boikuntha helps a Muslim man take his wife, who is in labor, to the hospital in his van even though there is a dead body inside it. This sequence resonates strongly today even if the film is set in 2016, illustrating how humanitarianism is prioritized over religion. The film’s climax is easily the film’s high point, driving home the message that karma has strange ways of getting back at us when we least expect it.

The performances are led by Siddhartha Sharma, who makes a strong impression in the role of Boikuntha. Kamal Lochan Deka as Abhijit once again proves his versatility as an actor. Both Kenny Basumatary and Rintu Bora bring ample charm to their characters while the rest of the cast too perform their roles competently.

On the technical side, Pradip Daimary’s vibrant cinematography flows well with the story. The editing by Protim Khaound has firm control on the pacing and the overall rhythmic flow of the film. The taut tension he creates in the bit involving the ransom money is commendable. The sound design of the film is dominated by the background score composed by Anurag Saikia, which, unfortunately, is not as impressive as one would expect from an artist of his calibre.

Swargarath ticks all the right boxes to deliver a satisfying enough  film through its little moments of unexpected humor, crackling dialogues, and most importantly, a great and unpredictable climax. If only the film had made some room for additional complexity in its story and focussed more on sharper characterizations, it would well have been further lifted a notch or two.


Assamese, Comedy, Thriller, Color

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