'Ei Muhurte' is an anthology of short films themed around the ills of our society, and current social issues that we witness every so often but keep silent about. Released on Chorki, the anthology is composed of three short films: Kothay Palabe Bolo Rupban; One Piece Made, Karigar Is Dead; and Kolpona.
"Kothay Palabe Bolo Rupban" is the first film in the series. It was directed by Mejbaur Rahman Sumon and written by Nusrat Islam Maati. The story revolves around a new mother who is on the run to save her baby.
The story is loosely based on the privileged and powerful predators who are living among us and use their wealth as an all-wielding power to prey on the disadvantaged. Priyontee Urbee plays the role of the protagonist. Priyontee has done a phenomenal job in conveying the mortal fear her character was in, and does a great job of sustaining the tension throughout the film just through her acting alone. She was a pleasure to watch on screen.
The drawbacks of Sumon's Kothay Palabe Bolo Rupban were its expositional scenes. The phone conversations are barely above a murmur. Even if you jam your headphones into your ear canal chances are you will catch faint, inaudible snippets of the other end of the phone conversation. Whether this was a conscious directing choice or not, it has the effect of pulling you back from staying immersed in the character journey.
Even though the film was just thirty minutes long, honestly it felt 30-minutes too long. The metaphors and the story was unclear till the narrator in the voice-over tells you exactly what the movie was trying to portray. The script was not strong enough to uphold the social commentary Mejbaur tried to go for. It was a hit and miss experience for me, but once again props to Priyontee Urbee for her stellar acting chops and for carrying the film. She is one to watch for.
The second short in the anthology was 'One Piece Made, Karigar Is Dead' which was written and directed by Abrar Athar starring Shahiduzzaman Selim, Rozi Siddique, Sunehra Binte Kamal and Rokeya Prachi. Through this film, Sunehra makes her debut on the OTT platform.
It is a comedy-satire film about yellow journalism and also takes a slight dig at the police for finding priority in laughable and dismissible issues in our society. The story is centred around an upper-class family and how they navigate a crazy night.
The breakout star of the film was Nodi who stole every scene she came in. From her expressions to her dialogue delivery, Nodi will have you in stitches. The movie narration was a new take in the Bangladeshi movie scene which was a breath of fresh air.
The set design, the colour palate and the costumes were well executed. The dialogues were mostly funny and witty. But, in many scenes, especially when the detectives were having their conversations, it felt like the dialogues were too dumbed down and spoon fed to viewers to ensure that the audience knows what word is used as what metaphor.
In its effort to be clever, the short's need to break the fourth wall and explain the metaphors will make viewers feel their intelligence is less than average.
The camera work in many places was so shaky, even in scenes demanding a steady hand, that it would take you out of the experience for a split second. But overall, I loved, laughed and laughed some more while watching the film, and was proud seeing new ways of storytelling being executed so well in Bangladesh. It has broken many firsts in the way the movie is made which is applaudable.
The third film in the anthology was 'Kolpona'. It was written and directed by Piplu R Khan. Even though he has been in the advertisement industry for a generation, this was his first time working with fiction.
Piplu is a great storyteller, and his skills are on display in this short. It was perfectly balanced, not too much, not too less. Zahid Hasan and Sara Zakir can create magic on screen and they have done it again. The film was about the repercussions of going viral on social media in Bangladesh, and finding the line between creativity, subjectivity, objectivity and societal misogyny.
While watching the film, it did not feel like a thirty-minute short. Rather, it felt like a full journey. The film has many subtle scenes. My favourite was right at the end when the son and the mother hug each other knowing the uncertainty of what's to come. That moment captured the vulnerability of the son, and the helplessness of the mother in that few seconds. The short was crisp, moving and has some of the most flawless acting in the entire anthology.
The ending track of the film was a beautiful addition and a perfect note to conclude on. This song by Arnob, Shibu and Kolpona had a somberness to it which threads all three movies together, making the anthology a cohesive watch.