BOTTOM LINE: A Gripping Story Let Down by Poor Filmmaking
|Platform: Hoichoi||Genre: Drama/Action|
What Is the Story About?
Set in Dhaka amid the backdrop of several historical events leading to the formation of Bangladesh, Ekattor promises to be a semi-fictional ode to the heroics and sacrifices made by many for the cause of independence. In this humanised take on the internal violence in the country, the story revolves around a gamut of interesting characters – including gangster Salim, his romantic interest, university student Joyita, West Pakistan Major Wasim, his journalist-wife Ruhi and East Pakistan Captain Shiraj.
Many characters have contradictory views on the politics that surround the demand for a new country and don’t mince words in conveying their stance. Suddenly, a critical file bearing information about a covert operation, ‘Operation Blitz’, goes missing and becomes a cause of concern among the Army superior. To what extent would Wasim go to retrieve the file and what’s the price that the protestors have to pay for the formation of a new State?
The confident cast of Ekattor puts up a decent show while staying true to the spirit of their characters. Mostafa Manwar, playing Salim, is effective in the role of a gangster with several layers to him and his on-screen romance with Nusrat Imrose Tisha (Joyita) is charming despite the minimal duration. Nusrat’s character may have established better, but the actor gives enough purpose and direction to the role of a student cum activist. Iresh Zaker becomes an embodiment of stiffness in his portrayal of Wasim. Rafiath Rashid Mithila as the sincere journalist is a picture of confidence in a brief yet a well-conceived role. Mostafizur Noor Imran may have needed more meat to the one-note role of the army person Shiraj.
Tales surrounding the independence of a nation can be a lot more than a barrage of facts imposed upon a viewer. Ekattor is a rare attempt in the web space to have fictionalised the series of incidents during the Bangladesh Liberation War in Dhaka. The lead characters, belonging to different strata of the society, are intelligently placed under the same roof and help you view the narrative from different perspectives. The story places a strong emphasis on the bonds they share, their internal conflicts and doesn’t make them mere cardboard characters singularly motivated to fight for their cause and the beliefs they hold.
The stance of the show is clear though – it portrays West Pakistan as a firm critic of East Pakistan’s demand for separation. The Dhaka locals, despite their flaws, are portrayed as a noble group who constantly feel victimised. Although 1971 war-time references to true incidents may not win your attention, Ekattor works on an emotional level. There’s a genuine effort from the writers to build a world around every character.
Salim, the gangster doesn’t only retaliate to a series of murder attempts by a small-time goon but is also a protector to his community in the need of the hour. His subdued romance with Joyita is tenderly weaved into the proceedings. The conflict between the West Pakistan Major and his journalist wife about the war makes space for a pulpy drama. The quest for a missing file about a covert operation lends a good amount of tension to the proceedings. The distinct characters have their vulnerabilities and strike a human chord.
However, Ekattor needed more craft in its storytelling. The absence of an emotional context to the 1971 War, the events that compelled the locals to support for the cause of an independent Bangladesh and the lack of a proper cinematic ambience while mounting a tale of such historic significance, don’t let the show become the magnum-opus it desperately wanted to be. The production limitations are quite obvious with the shady CG/VFX work and distract the viewer from the conversations in the sequences. The visual element of the show is found wanting many a time and it’s evident that the show makers didn’t put as much effort into the filmmaking as they did for its writing.
Music and Other Departments?
It’s hard to understand why the importance of songs is ignored in a story about a revolution and Ekattor’s emotional impact could have far been more striking had the makers given enough importance to the music. The series is shot under a tight budget and the visuals make that fact look very obvious. At a time when the filmmaking standards of web shows are better than feature films, the banality of the execution is surprising.
Unique set of characters
Poor filmmaking standards
Lack of emphasis on historical detailing and context
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Probably to history-enthusiasts
Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur