February 22, 2020
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Bikram Singha: The Lion Is Back

Tries to bridge the gap between ‘art’ and ‘commercial’ but fails and falls flat between the two

Bikram Singha: The Lion Is Back
Bikram Singha: The Lion Is Back

Starring: Prasenjit Chatterjee, Richa Gangopadhyay
Directed by Rajib Biswas

The trend in Bengali cinema today is to bridge the gap between ‘art’ and ‘commercial’, and in Bikram Singha: The Lion is Back, this is what director Rajib Biswas tries to do by showcasing the versatility of veteran Bengali actor Prasenjit Chatterjee, who has the rare ability to traverse the entire spectrum with aplomb. Unfortunately, while Prasenjit walks the tightrope with characteristic ease—portraying the double roles of a petty comic thief and a righteous, angry police officer—the film itself falls flat, neither achieving balance nor establishing itself even remotely in one of the two categories. For all its “social message”, the director falls back on the plot of an action entertainer—a sort of remake of the Telegu film, Vikramarkudu—where an incorruptible cop takes on powerful politicians on behalf of the oppressed masses. The first part is strung together loosely with a series of inane “comic” sequences in which Gupi (Prasenjit) and his sidekick go capering about Calcutta on a stealing spree. Injected into this is some meaningless romance and mystery to foreshadow the violence (a woman and her child are set aflame by goons) awaiting us. But you are not dying to find out why the little girl is calling Gupi her father. After the intermission, the pace picks up, and the action sequences with Bikram, as he bashes up villains, are graphic, even gripping. Prasenjit here proves himself in a new function: that of “saving grace”.

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