“Final Destination?” – Its an often used term in a film that is actually a beautifully crafted journey of love, life, tenderness, thrill and hope, and never really about a defined destination! That in a nutshell is Ahare Mon – beautiful, pure, real and so full of heart!
It is extremely difficult to write something about this exquisite film keeping the emotions aside. One can only thank Pratim D. Gupta for bringing so much beauty together through his seven central characters, each on their unique quest of life – life that is transient and hence chases an elusive dream through Titli, life that has experienced it all and hence has the maturity, patience and elegance of Barun or Charulata, life that is lived through chance encounters of Purnendu and respected in absolute grace, life that chooses to breathe on its own terms and yet spreads happiness through Ramona, and life that wants to be everyday thrill and happiness through Michael and Suzie! And hence life as it happens in Ahare Mon becomes a vibrant kaleidoscope of all of this, enriched with emotions, staying back with you as a smile in your face, or a lump in your throat, leaving you stunned and fully satiated at the same time!
The beauty of the film comes from its terrific script and screenplay, which is so real and grounded, and yet so flavorful with so many different spices and sensations, that it is near impossible for a film to slip over such a strong foundation. The characters here talk like you and me, they feel like you and me, and they live like you and me. Their stories are our stories, never losing control even if all of them are highly aspirational in their unique ways! And all of it gets bound so nicely thanks to some terrific editing, that even when there are multiple parallel stories running side by side, each of a completely different mood, you are still involved in each of them never feeling distracted or lost. And when life moulds itself to interconnect some of them so beautifully and unexpectedly, one can’t just help being wowed about how it all plays out.
And it plays out so well courtesy the terrific ensemble that comes together to make this happen. An ensemble film like this usually always has a situation where some of the cast will be very good and will cover up for the relatively lesser performances of some others. Thankfully the stellar cast of Ahare Mon even doesn’t let that happen and comes together as a neatly integrated and consistently good super seven!
In possibly the most lovable track of the film, Anjan Dutta and Mamata Shankar create such brilliance on screen that you really want to go and hug them for all that they have been through, or for how they find such graceful companionship at such a juncture of their life! Blissful is all you can say – especially when this journey is garnished by a very appropriate use of ‘Ogo bideshini‘ (nicely wrapped tribute to Ray and his Charu), right dollops of humor, age appropriate restrained charm, and pure, selfless friendship. Dutt has to do lot more work in front of camera than behind it, he is constantly proving what we have been missing on screen for so long in two back to back brilliant performances in two very different films..
Equally terrific is Adil Hussain in possibly the most beautifully written role of the film! His smile, his grace, his poise and his mannerisms (including that ‘madam‘ addressal) makes him a full on charmer, and Hussain delivers it with elan. Its hard not to fall in love with such a man, and its heartbreaking what life has to offer to him! He is beautifully supported by Paoli Dam in a relatively shorter role, but she doesn’t miss a note in her emotions too. Credit again to the storyteller in Gupta who so elegantly slips in a very critical aspect of her life and blends it so well to the overall story.. A shout-out to the supporting cast of this track, they engage very well and further strengthen the relationship arc of Hussain and Dam, making this my most favorite track of film amidst such brilliance all over..
On the other end of the spectrum of two such beautiful stories is the real fun and spicy track of the film played out like a piece of cake by the dynamic duo of Ritwick Chakraborty and Parno Mittra. Truth be told, I was most skeptical about this story after the trailer, because this one didn’t seem to fit in! And I am so glad that I was proved wrong this time. Quirky, humorous and so totally enjoyable, Ritwick and Parno ensure that they remain pure fun but not become tacky, solely by the terrific control they have on their craft! Humor doesn’t need to be cheesy and this story tells that beautifully, hence it is okay to ignore some of the screenplay loopholes on this one like super-easy final heist in this case… Fun stuff…
And then there is the lovely Chitrangada Chakraborty who came in to the film knowing fully well the amount of talent and experience she would be surrounded with that could easily drown her, but boy she holds her ground and how! This one was possibly one of the more complex roles of the film and Chitrangada is completely at ease, both with her physical as well as fanatic struggles, and never goes over or more than what was needed to capture the beauty of this story! You buy her zest for life and passion for a star so much so that I didn’t even mind the special appearance of her God in the end! Again, lovely supporting cast performance in this story as well, especially the friendships that she develops in the hospital and sweetness of those moments, including how it all leaves behind a smile amidst all the gloom, and eventually turns it to a story of hope where dreams come true…
It feels very satisfying when a film like Ahare Mon happens! This is one film which had successfully created very positive vibes right through a very smart promotion strategy, and had added more and more inquisitiveness and interest for itself through a wonderful trailer, followed by the release of its brilliant musical score by Neel Dutt. I am so happy to say that the final product that Ahare Mon becomes is even so much better than what all these teasers suggested! It is deliciously sweet, spicy, tangy at the same time, and leaves a very satisfying aftertaste long after it is over. It makes you savor those flavors, it makes you crave for them all over again, and you temporarily make do with listening to ‘Mon kharap er montage mon-ta ahare‘ in loop till such time…
Easily the best bengali film of the year, miles ahead of everything else I have seen including some of the much bigger releases, and also the film where Pratim D Gupta surpasses all his previous work till now, Ahare Mon will only grow from here and will have a terrific repeat viewing value! I just hope that such a cinematic beauty does find all the love and success with a larger audience, because films like this need to be truly celebrated – Ahare!!