Saat Pake Bandha: A bit too long


Producers: Shri Venkatesh Films & Surindr Films
Director: Sujit Mondol
Stars: Jeet, Koel Mullick, Ranjit Mullick, ubhashish Mukherjee, Laboni Sirkar, Locket Chatterjee

Granting that the original Bollywood film was neither very good nor a hot number at the box-office, Saat Paake Bandha is a classic example of the copy turning out to be a better product than the original. Kajol is replaced here by Koel Mullick as Pallavi, who works in a plush office as P.A. to industrialist (Ranjit Mullick in place of Anupam Kher) who fancies her as the ideal daughter-in-law for his NRI son Rahul (Jeet) who returns from the US. Rahul agrees to marry Pallavi on a one-year contractual term following which they will mutually part if the arrangement does not work out. Pallavi falls in love with her husband but has to move out because the husband does not oblige. She then finds herself pregnant and decides to organise an elaborate godh bharai, only to take her anger out on the father and son duo. A repentant Rahul, now madly in love with his estranged wife, responds to her public insult with dignity and restraint insisting that her behaviour can do nothing to diminish his love. This is followed by an exaggerated climax where the villain plans to bump off Rahul but Pallavi thinks he is putting up an act to gain her sympathy and with labour pains having begun, rushes through the streets to vent out another angry lecture. But he is bleeding all over by then and both land up in the same nursing home, one to deliver the baby and the other to come back from coma to find his wife lying on the bed beside him. End of story.

hnical Expertise
Sujit Mandal is a wonderful copy master who weaves in his Bengali interpretations into the story to invest it with the regional flavour in terms of language, a bit of characterisation, typically Bengali melodrama and very good performances from his two main actors Jeet and Koel. The pairing, returning after a four-year, self-imposed hiatus on mutual agreement, have created a magic that is better because it is now generously peppered with the mellow maturity of experience and age for both. Koel is no less than Kajol despite the gap in experience and talent. Her restraint, matched with Jeet's control over emotions in voice and facial mobility, are a wonder to watch. Thankfully, Saat Pake Bandha has not been shot in the loud, jarring and crude ambience of Ramoji Studios in Hyderabad and has some very good locations done in Malaysia in general and Kuala Lumpur in particular, though some shots have been repeated ad infinitum to underscore Rahul's pain and loneliness. Mandal has given the two actors a makeover in terms of make-up, costume and even character, embellished with dialogue that fits into the quality of restraint. Subhashish Mukherjee as Jeet's friend, peps up a grave situation with his punch lines delivered to fit into the scene.

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