I was yet to embark on the journey of my eventful university life when Aynabaji, starring Chanchal Chowdhury in the lead role, came out. That was my first encounter with the aura of the said star projected on big screens. I distinctly remember how his entry and transformation of his character left me mesmerised. Fast forward six years, I left another show with a similar impression. This time, Chanchal recreated the magic and dare I say even exceeded the competition in Mejbaur Rahman Sumon's "Hawa".
Released on Friday, "Hawa" is the debut film of veteran TV director Mejbaur Rahman Sumon. However, watching the film never for once gave the impression that this was the director's first work on the silver screen. This review begins with a salute to Chanchal Chowdhury because it's totally his show but credit to the maker for using him in the best possible way for the phenomenal "Chan Majhi."
Hawa starts simply with a group of eight fishermen leaving for sea and their way of life on a boat. The dedication to authenticity is commendable throughout the film. It portrayed the raw and bitter aspects of the business. However, Hawa is not a documentary on the lives of fishermen, so things start to get weird when Nazifa Tushi as "Gulti" enters the story. Not spoiling too much, her surreal introduction gave the signal that this feature will not go the average route. While her chemistry with a certain Shariful Razz as "Ibrahim" alias Ibra may seem off at times throughout the film, Tushi's presence on screen was graceful and cleverly managed. Shariful Razz had slightly shorter screen time than I expected but his acting in the role of a hotheaded sailor was praiseworthy. This film, while keeping the atmosphere serious, portrayed the celebrating mood of the fishermen and built up to the famed "Sada Sada Kala Kala" song. The jolly sequence and unsettling turn of events depicted parallel will prepare the viewers for the change in titular "Hawa" or wind. The performance of Chanchal was complemented by Nasir Uddin Khan as "Nagu". His interaction with Ibra in the first half and Chan Majhi in the second was a treat to watch. Other casts including Shohel Mondol, Sumon Anwar and Rizvi Rizu made the story more believable with their performances.
The film's shift in moods and the tense and gut-wrenching climax gave the second half of the movie a faster pace. Hawa, all in all, is nothing without the story and it is fairly simple. So much so, that the admirable and modern retelling of mythological themes may get overlooked by some. It is, again, not to spoil the fun, is a fairytale with a touch of horror and an interspecies-love story…to some extent. The grim yet amusing narrative comes alive with Chanchal who steals all the limelight for his never before seen role. The dialogues, the ploys, the gritty change and his range of versatility will haunt me for some more time.
The whole story is based on a trawler in the sea. One might think the same scenes and backdrop repeated over and over can bring boredom to the mind of the viewer but the cinematographer Kamrul Hasan Khosru deserves special recognition for not letting that happen. The vivid, at times unearthly shots of the sea and use of the camera in innovative comedy sequences charmed me and other audiences. Similarly, the background music used by Rashed Sharif Shoaib set the tone for the uncommon viewing experience. To me, aside from one or two slightly melodramatic conversations, the dialogues and narration style felt truly unique. However, sound mixing in some scenes could have been better. The character of Nazifa Tushi and her motivation may seem too simple to some in the context of its scale.
Hawa is reportedly houseful across the country on the first day and I would say it is truly worth the hype. The debut of Mejbaur Rahman Sumon in tinsel town is perhaps no less than spectacular in my opinion.