This year is already proving to be a good year for Bangla cinema, with a number of promising films lined up. April was a particularly hot month, with the release of “Shonkhochil”, “Musafir” and “Icecream”, belonging to three different genres. Of them, Ashiqur Rahman's “Musafir” is in the action thriller category, and provides both of them in abundance. The film has been doing well in theatres since its April 22 release.
Without giving away too many spoilers, “Musafir” is the tale of a man -- falsely sentenced to prison – who gets in the middle of a mastermind criminal and a secret service. Sunny (Arifin Shuvo) is hired by a secret service boss (played by Misha Sawdagar) to retrieve a missing female agent of the service, (newcomer Marzaan Jennifa).
With the help of his sidekick Bunty (Harun Rashid), Sunny must face the wrath of crime gang leader Tabrez (Robiul Islam 'Tiger' Roby) and his henchmen, who are also after the agent, to return the girl to the secret service.
First, the positives: The film tries to tell an original story, and there are a few genuinely good twists. Shuvo dives right into character and is fantastic across the board – from acting, fight sequences to song-and-dance, and shows definite sign of growth as an actor from his earlier days.
One of Bangladeshi action flicks' most characteristic features used to be its dialogues, and “Musafir” brings it back with a bang. Some of the lines are pure Dhallywood gold. Harun Rashid's impeccable comic timing is one of the highlights of the film, Misha is as menacing as ever, and most other actors are very passable in their roles too. The cameos – by Afzal Sharif, Prosun Azad and Debashish Biswas, are also well done. The cinematography and action choreography are excellent, as are the songs, both musically and visually.
The negatives: Marzaan Jennifa, who the film is supposed to revolve around, is insufferable throughout the movie. Her acting, body language, dialogue delivery and character development are so weak it kills the potential of how good “Musafir” could be.
Because it's an attempt at an original story, there are plot holes, and some sequences feel unnecessary, especially considering the lengthy run time. The VFX quality is not great, and while the one green-screen action sequence atop a moving train is a commendable effort, it doesn't come off perfect.
With the drawback of not having a major production house to back it, “Musafir” was made on a constrained budget (and was not very well-promoted either), and that makes it a valiant attempt at making a film trying to be commercially viable and telling a story.
Ashiqur Rahman has shown promise, and one can only hope he gets better. In a nutshell, “Musafir” may not be a milestone in Bangla cinema, but it is an important chapter in the new wave that has hit Dhallywood, breaking out of a bad name and aiming to move forward.