MITIN MASHI : Too Preachy, Too Inert, Too Simplistic

Arindam Sil knows the fascination of the cinema going Bengali with the thriller and mystery genre. He knows that even when he delivers rather mediocre to poor Byomkesh and Shabor films, they still sell like hot cake. So why not introduce another franchise of the ‘meye chhele turned mohila detective’ – he thought, add multiple bouts of self protective action sequences, dollops of preachy gyan to make Mitin the all out feminist crusader, and present her as the all powerful Dashabhuja during Pujo to ring merrily at the cash registers? After all, what else will the woke Bangali buy in to, more so because this may be the only clean entertainer available for full family community viewing during the festival! Chances are, his intuition will be proved right and the film will do brisk business, but Suchitra Bhattacharya‘s popular young adult series investigator Mitin Mashi demanded a much better film!

In fact, Suchitra’s Mitin is a strong, intelligent and endearing investigator by herself and doesn’t need the fake garnishing of preachiness or unnecessary action. Neither does she need a put on sentimental void for motherly cravings while she searches for another kidnapped kid, because Suchitra’s Mitin is a happy mother in herself. Somehow all of these do a disservice to the creator’s character, and one can only question the filmmaker and his writing team for this, as our known Mitin Mashi gets buried under their unnecessary decorative garnishing. The problem is also with the story picked to make this first film of the franchise – Haathe matro tinte din is way too simplistic to be cinematically engaging.

One cannot hence blame Koel Mallick for the performance she delivers, because surprisingly she is earnest in her effort, clean off her typical histrionics, and even doesn’t look clumsy doing action, but the material doesn’t take her anywhere much. In fact, the actors around her are far more problematic – June Malia is almost unbearable in her hysterical avatar, and we have seen a much better Vinay Pathak in other films. The rest of the cast is also all forgettable, other than Subhrajit Dutta who plays Mitin’s husband Partha and is reasonably okay. A small kid who plays the kidnapped child’s friend may infact have been the most natural performer on screen and his two minutes is what made me genuinely smile.

The problem is not just with the performances though. The clunky and poor writing is also exposed through rather poor detailing. So a Mitin always comes ready in jeans and trousers for an upcoming action sequence (as if predicting it beforehand), while the rest of the times, she happily flaunts her sarees and kurtis (I eyed many of them!). Her sneakers from her opening action sequence suddenly morph to slippers as she reaches home. A forced product placement for Uber meant that Mitin and her satellite were shown starting a ride on Uber that magically turns back into their client’s BMW midway. An Indigo Airlines flight is generally shown taking off without context, or there’s too much food on the table all the time from multiple known cafes / restaurants which don’t fit in! Oh yes, and did I mention how Sil rather force fits himself into the script in a very irritating and unfunny manner, contrary to what he thinks he brings to the table.

Amidst everything so ordinary and forgettable, Bickram Ghosh‘s music and background score is possibly the only strong highlight of the film (other than Mitin’s wardrobe of course!). Both Barsat Saawan (Ustad Rashid Khan) and Baat Chalat (Madhubanti Bagchi) may be the only two things you may want to go back to in this film. Lend them your time and ears, you won’t be disappointed, unlike everything else surrounding them.

Suchitra Bhattacharya will be mighty sad far somewhere today! Her Mitin too!

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Copyright ©2019 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

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