Udhao Commendably refreshing
Since the trailer of “Udhao” (Runaway) -- the debut feature film of Amit Ashraf -- was released, anticipation was high; especially because it had been to a number of film festivals abroad, and bagged quite a few awards. The film premiered at the Star Cineplex on Saturday, ahead of its release on October 4.
The drama-thriller depicts the story of a man, who hides in the dark shades of crime world escaping from his past; on the other side of the coin, it is a surprising story of bounty hunter Babu, who dedicates his lifetime to achieve an unidentified goal -- unveiling a mystery, the revelation of which brings him an unexpected payback.
The film sets off with suspense and takes the audience into the plot, albeit indirectly -- a typical drama feature. It cleverly touches the scenario of crime world, and the dark side of the city. Although, the script of “Udhao” is not spellbinding, the audience is kept waiting on a hook to see its ending. It has twists, although parts of it could be predictable to the hardcore film buff.
Cinematography on the film is quite good, especially in the second half, though there are a couple of excellent shots in the first part, mostly of nightclubs and violence.
What remains unacceptable from a film that has participated in several international film festivals is its very poor subtitles. The plot is not the strongest, but the solid storytelling compensates for that. Add powerful acting, beautiful cinematography and touchy background scores, and you have a very worthy film of checking out, which is quite a rarity in the industry.
The strongest suit of “Udhao” is acting, which made it overcome other shortcomings: Shakil Monir Ahmed's versatility as an actor, and Shahed Ali's thoroughly consistent acting added life to story. Both of them came from theatre background, while Animesh Aich, as an actor, was magnetising. Reetu Satter wasn't given enough space to shine or she failed to make her short appearance substantive, but Nawshaba Ahmed did justice to her role.
The scores -- a fusion of Bangla with western theme -- were brilliantly done. Designed by Jacob Yoffee, the blend of traditional Bengali instruments with stringed western instruments are exemplary to aspiring film composers. It also features two rap songs by hip-hop singer Lal Mia. Kyle Heslop's camerawork brought out striking shots, especially in the later part. The juxtaposition of contrasting sides -- the dark city and the lively countryside -- was both visually and thematically nice.
Another weakness of the film is the weak dialogues; most of them fail to strike the chords they could, save one or two good ones.
Overall, considering that it is the director's debut on a full-length feature, there are certainly promises from him, and on a bigger picture, for the new wave of young directors looking to break the boundaries of films.