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|Volume 11 |Issue 34| August 31, 2012 ||
Sushmita S Preetha
We barely made it through Eid. The anticipation was too much to bear, really; and it was only our respective parents' threats of disownment should we ditch our families to go hobnob with the latest heartthrob in town that stopped us from making our way to the Cineplex on the auspicious day itself. So we woke up, bright and early the next day, and proceeded towards the Cineplex, nervously chewing our nails in fear that the tickets would all be sold out.
“I've never woken up at 8 am for any hero, ever. I don't think I'd do this even for Dr Yunus,” said a sleepy but all giggly colleague of mine. I wondered how long it would take for the Queen of the Country to grow weary of Ananta's fame and popularity and declare a self-righteous war on him. Then again, the clever omniscient hero had spent enough time in buttering her government's 'revolutionary' efforts at alleviating poverty through digitisation in his last blockbuster mega-hit, The Speed: Do or Die, to not attract her Royal Wrath. But I digress.
Once in the Cineplex, our worst fears were realised as we encountered long queues as ominous as the ones seen in Komolapur Station just prior to Eid. So after waiting in line for almost an hour, we managed to get our hands on the last five tickets for the 10:50 show.
And boy was it worth the wait!
The film was everything I had expected – and more. For here, Ananta gives himself not one, but two self-righteous characters to play! He is simultaneously a dedicated officer of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), always decked out in silver or sequinned suits, and a super-hero type being, a Robin Hood of sorts, dressed in black leather tank-top and pants, and a mask that looks like it was stolen (or bought, knowing Ananta) from the sets of the Bollywood film, Krish. Our hero is also the mysterious benefactor of Mushkil Ahsan Baba's majar (shrine), a magical place of wish-fulfilment, where one has to simply write down one's wishes and desires on a piece of paper and submit it at the dropbox for it to come true. Nayok Raj Razzak, sporting a long black jute beard, straightened to perfection, resided over this holy site. The film begins with a woman asking the baba for ransom money for her kidnapped husband; a few seconds later, we see our Krish-like-hero flying through the air in his motorcycle engaging in acrobatics that would put any Russian gymnast to shame. He rescues the 40 lakh taka and leaves it at the woman's doorstep. Not satisfied with simply assisting the hapless woman in rescuing her husband, he proceeds to “teach” the goons a lesson, but not before he “Most Welcomes” them to choose the path of righteousness. One wonders if our self-proclaimed Super Action Hero could have been spared the pains of procuring the funds prior to rescuing the abducted man if the wife had the foresight of wishing for her husband's safe return instead. When asked, “Are you a ghost?” our effusive superman utters his first words in the film “Ami shishtir shera jib” (I am God's best creation) in response and the hall erupts in a deafening applause.
Meanwhile, his alter ego, the ACC officer, named Aryan Chowdhury, is given the task of eradicating Bangladesh of corrupt businessmen who are involved in money laundering and other unethical shenanigans. His first target is ABC (played by Ahmed Sharif), from whose house Aryan, thanks to his Holmes-like deductive skills and Bond-like sex appeal, recovers hidden stacks of cash and property deeds as well as attracts the attention of the only daughter of the tycoon, Adhara Chowdhury, played by our very own bhabi, Borsha. She vows to teach Aryan a lesson for causing her father grief (who drifts in and out of a feigned paralysis to gain sympathy from the world and his daughter) and makes all sorts of attempts to seduce him. Ananta clearly enjoys the process and makes quite a lot of crude and flirtatious remarks along the way. While this drama of Shakespearean proportion unfolds, another complication arises when Police Commissioner Sohel Rana decides to investigate the dealings of the majar. He assigns his trusted officer Jibon (Bappa Raj) the task of catching the thief who has been stealing from the rich to give to the poor, and upholding law and order behind the police's back.
As if having Borsha, Bappa Raj and Sohel Rana on his back isn't enough, Misha Shoudagar, ABC's nephew, and a victim of our Ananta's sanctimonious ways, also plots with his uncle to reveal the identity of the Krish-like-hero. It is Adhara who deduces that Aryan and our masked champion is one and the same, recalling the speech given by Aryan during one of their first encounters, when he “Most Welcomes” her in the same way the superhero does. Caught and threatened with the prospect of watching Borsha be violated by her own father and cousin, Aryan agrees to reveal his true identity on tape. Misha and ABC then proceed to threaten to expose him if he doesn't help catch Misha's foreign partner who had escaped with a “hard dicks” (disk) containing 200 million dollars. Aryan, realising that he had been betrayed by his love, Adhara, gives a heart-rending speech on virtue (obviously), which makes Adhara instantly fall in love with him.
The rest of the story is shot in Thailand and is filled with scintillating chase scenes, item numbers by old acquaintances, song and dance sequences, and action and thrills of all kinds. The storyline itself is intricate and absorbing. Through the nuanced uses of graphics, action scenes and totally unrelated song sequences, Ananta tackles issues of crucial importance to Bangladeshi society such as corruption, social justice, law and order, poverty and religion. In this film, he has, according to him, transcended from an action hero to a super action hero. That bit was apparent from his excellent multi-tasking skills – his gravity-defying falls now incorporate elaborate fight sequences in mid-air as he walks, flies and glides his way up and down. In one of the best scenes of the film, he chases a helicopter with a motor-cycle, jumps in mid-air and defying gravity, flies as high as 300 metres to get on board the chopper. He also introduces the brand new iPhone app, iBomb, which allows you to detonate any gas cylinder within reach by whispering the word “bomb” into your phone. In another particularly memorable scene, he produces water, electricity and fire with the mere touch of his fingers. (“If we could mass produce this, he could, in fact, become the mushkil ahsan baba for all Bangladeshis,” whispered my friend, during the movie.) After they catch fire from touching each other (talk about sparks flying/burning desires!), they jump into the ocean and engage in awkward aquatic aerobics inside an animated aquarium.
While this is by far the most ridiculous, and hence the most appealing, song in the film, the other songs don't fail to engage and entertain. One must mention, for instance, the totally unfathomable scene where Bappa Raj comes home to find his girlfriend/mistress/wife in the bath-tub, seemingly nude, playing with foam. Shortly, they find themselves in Thailand, dancing. Meanwhile, for the item song, which conveys a powerful social message to all the goons who frequent the club, [barely] Bollywood actress, Sneha, is brought all the way from her hibernation. She has no relevance to the storyline at all save for being one of Aryan's many admirers, and one fails to grasp why she is there. I at least thought she would die, like Kishteeena did in Speed, but the audience is, sadly, denied that delight.
A scene that needs special mention is the scene on board Thai Air, where Borsha and Ananta go into the same toilet to hanky the panky, and the camera captures two couples – one foreign and another Bangladeshi – nudging and suggestively whispering to each other something to the effect, “Do you know what they are doing in there?” *wink wink* Also worth mentioning is the thoughtful use of scarves, kotis and corsets by our beloved hero to veil his busty upper body, as well as his finely tailored suits, kameez-like kurtas and vests. Both his Bengali and English pronunciations – eestupid, esshtop, bulu bird, aso (asho), hard dicks, Asip (achieve)– are as flawed and as entertaining as ever, especially when the film is infused with imaginative use of English such as “I wanna asip money,” or “You wanna this?”
Most Welcome is a must-watch for all those who have loved his previous masterpieces. It is almost better than Speed: Do or Die (even if one is disappointed with the fact that the domestic help in Most Welcome dress regularly and do not wear identical mini-skirts, white shirts, knee-length socks and two pigtails), if not quite as visionary as Khoj: The Search. I Most Welcome everyone to go to the nearest theatre at full Speed in Khoj of some blissful joy!
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