Young filmmaker Raihan Rafi did an excellent job portraying the inner conflicts during the time of a political chaos-ridden nation and beautifully dealt with the criminalities behind the situation
After the wave of controversies and issues Raihan Rafi’s latest film “Dohon” was finally released on November 30, 2018. The film, produced by Jaaz Multimedia, was successfully acclaimed by the Bangladeshi audience. According to an online Bangladeshi box-office collection community, Cine Page, the socio-political thriller ran in theatres for more than five weeks and collected an estimated Tk2 crore nationwide. I was eager to watch what all the hype was about so I went to capital’s Blockbuster Cinema on Wednesday to watch the afternoon show.
The whole theatre had only a few people during the show as it was almost the fifth week of its run. It started with a beautiful aerial shot compilation of Dhaka city which is rarely done correctly in Bangladeshi films. The opening sequence alone is enough to grab your interest in the film.
The film features Siam Ahmed, Puja Cherry, Zakia Bari Momo and Fazlur Rahman Babu in the lead roles.
Siam plays the lead role of Tula, a young drug addict and local political goon, alongside the film’s heroine Asha, played by Puja Chery Roy, who is a garment factory worker.
Zakia Bari Mamo plays an investigative reporter and Fazlur Rahman Babu plays the role of an evil political leader who hires Tula to burn civilian transportation to create chaos in different parts of the city.
The film seemed to be based on the sensitive issue of the 2013-2014 political chaos in Bangladesh when the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) declared war on the Bangladeshi people and embarked on a shameful campaign of street violence including setting busses on fire around the country that left hundreds dead and thousands permanently injured.
The whole film takes us back to the untold damage that was done to the country and the political violence which shocked the whole nation.
Young filmmaker Raihan Rafi did an excellent job portraying the inner conflicts during the time of a political chaos-ridden nation, beautifully dealt with the criminalities behind the situation. It showed us how this carnage affected the normal lives of the film’s protagonist Tula and Asha who were dreaming of getting married soon and start their new lives leaving these dreadful experiences behind.
The non-linear film was very well shot and edited to give the audience a complete cinematic experience.
Fazlur Rahman Babu’s character as the opposition political leader was the most attractive role in the film. Puja and Mamo did an excellent job in portraying their roles. After “Poramon 2” Puja Chery has developed her acting quite a lot and it is visible on the big screen.
The major issue of the film was its casting choice in the lead role Tula. Siam Ahmed did well in some particular sequences but he was not at all in sync with the gravity of the role he was playing. In most of the scenes throughout the film, from his drunk and drugged sequences to his romantic scenes and conversations with Asha, he seemed to overact a bit too much which was difficult to endure in a theatre during the two hour runtime of the film.
Puja and Siam have proved as the blockbuster newcomer duo in Raihan Rafi’s last Jaaz Multimedia produced romantic drama “Poramon 2” where both of them did splendid job. In “Dohon,” Puja played her role exceptionally well and even better than her previous role in “Poramon 2” but Siam was just way too much for this complicated lead role.
“Dohon” created major controversies since its production phase including the film’s opening song “Hajir Biriyani,” penned by Priyo Chattopadhyay and sung by Indian musician Akassh Sen, which caused major social media backlash before the film’s release. Netizens claimed the song encouraged drug abuse and alcoholism while another group praised the bold lyrics in Bangladeshi film music. Eventually the song’s lyrics were changed.
There was another major casting crisis, during the production phase, in Mamo’s role of the investigative journalist. At first, model and actor Azmeri Haque Badhon signed for the same role but left the project saying the sudden change of production dates for the film clashed with other projects she had already signed up for. Then actor Dilara Hanif Purnima signed up for the role and later on she also left the project complaining about bad press. Purnima said the news of her return to the big screen and replacing Badhon for the role was portrayed in the media negatively.
Apart from all these controversies, “Dohon” is overall an excellent educational film about Bangladesh’s violent political scenario and the team behind the project have successfully given a complete cinematic experience to the audience which is a great lesson for the commercial filmmakers of our industry as they hardly do so.
Siam Raihan is a film editor and a sub-editor at the Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime Desk