Directed by: Kaushik Sankar Das
Cast: Afran Nisho, Nadia Khanom, Ashraful Ashis, Rimi Korim
Browsing through channels expecting a worthwhile short serial to watch can be quite disappointing at times. TV shows based on the Liberation War of Bangladesh aren't made to entertain, but rather serve as a reminder of the grim times and act as a form of tribute to the brave souls who sacrificed themselves for our independence. However, amidst the array of new serials aired in the occasion of the Victory Day, Shomorpon was one 'natok' that caught my particular attention. It seemed to have the right balance of effective storytelling and steady characterization wrapped up in 42 minutes of enjoyable drama; something one wouldn't usually expect from one-shot Bangla serials.
So, why did I like Shomorpon? First and foremost, it told a typical story from a rather unique perspective. While there are countless films and serials based on the Liberation War of Bangladesh, most if not all of them are told from the point of view of a freedom fighter, or an innocent victim of the War. Shomorpon aimed to be different by having a 'rajakar' as the main character, with his wife being a vocal supporter of the Liberation Army who eventually martyrs herself to free her village. Set during the turbulent times of 1971, Forkan (Afran Nisho) is the self-appointed leader of a small village of a smaller population. Assuring the gullible folks with false hopes of safety, he steals from them as most of the village population flees to India in fear of the Pakistani military. However, Forkan's most foul deed lies in siding with the Pakistanis with the promise of providing the ruthless plunderers with young women for their sickening pleasure. His plan eventually goes awry when the Pakistani base in his village is infiltrated and eliminated, thanks to a group of incognito freedom fighters.
Shomorpon did a good job in utilizing Forkan as an example of the rajakar-mindset that was prevalent in many traitorous souls during those times. You would not only see an already corrupt man going further into the dark side, you would also witness how he withdraws the last bit of morality in him to ensure safety for himself. Shomorpon also showcased the importance of women in the Liberation Army, with the main freedom fighter in this drama being a woman. Forkan's wife also exemplified the strength of patriotism, being the one who deals the final blow against the opposing invaders.
Of course, Shomorpon was far from being the perfect Liberation War-based serial. While its use of characterization was commendable, it didn't have sufficient screen-time to build on the motives of Forkan and show why he was pro-Pakistani from the get-go. Forkan's wife also lacked certain depth in her character. There wasn't enough explanation for her motives either, making her final decision to sacrifice herself seem quite random. Nonetheless, putting the flaws aside, Shomorpon provided a much-appreciated unique twist to the typical storytelling of Liberation War tales, and was an enjoyable watch all throughout.
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